Our world is changing fast. Recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic mean that everything is going digital, which is impacting all aspects of our lives, including the education system. It's worth considering then what the private tutoring of tomorrow will look like.
Between the emergence and availability of new technologies, a wider array of teacher specializations and, above all, a more systematic approach to home tuition, there are a lot of things to consider and wonder when talking about private tutoring and the overall education system.
Will online classes continue on the rise? How will tutors fare in this new context? Are they ready to face an ever evolving technological world? Below a small analysis of what might happen and some tips to make sure you are up to speed with the evolution of tutoring.
What is happening with students in the US?
The US has implemented numerous educational reforms to try to incentivize students and teachers in the school system to perform well in country-wide standardized tests.
According to TIME Magazine: "President Barack Obama doubled down on Bush’s punitive approach with his “Race to the Top.” In 2009, this $5 billion program offered states a chance to win hundreds of millions of dollars if they evaluated teachers by the test scores of their students, closed or shook up schools with low test scores, increased the number of privately managed charter schools, and adopted the Common Core State Standards. This combination was supposed to lift the test scores of all students. It didn’t."
And truth is, this stagnation is present not only at national level. On the latest international test, called PISA (Program in International Student Assessment), the scores of American students were unchanged over the past decade. Figures also show that "charter schools on average do not get higher test scores than public schools, and in some states—like Ohio and Nevada—charters dominate the state’s list of the lowest performing schools".
What conclusions can we draw from this? Is the school system in decline, or has students' performance suffered? Should we embrace or be wary of new technologies and teaching methods? How do current trends fit into the history of private tuition?
As overall government reforms have proven ineffective to boost students school performance, parents all around the country have started to consider other options like private tutoring. But is this really the answer?
Private Tutoring: A Real Alternative
At Superprof, we believe that, faced with this situation, students need complementary solutions that work in parallel with mainstream school education: We're talking about the use of private tutors for your benefit. Private lessons are going digital - Read more about the future of tutoring here on Superprof. It's important not to overburden students who already receive nearly 40 hours of instruction per week at school, but just a few hours a week in the company of a private tutor can provide a great learning environment leading to significant improvement. There are several reasons for this:
- Greater concentration by the student, who is not subject to the many disturbances of the classroom.
- One to one tuition allows the student to receive the full attention of his or her teacher.
- The opportunity to ask any question that comes to mind: Something which few children feel comfortable doing in the school classroom.
- An environment in which a student's knowledge gaps can be filled in one by one: Something that a teacher in charge of a class of thirty students simply does not have the opportunity to do.
For all these reasons, we believe that private tutoring is a solution that will be increasingly adopted in the future.
Apps and Games to Support Students
It's impossible to envision the future of tutoring without looking at the world of educational apps and games. Already used by many on a daily basis in a diverse range of topics, how can their popularity but increase?
Many working in education have been quick to latch on to the idea of combing education and new technologies. This explains why you can already find hundreds of educational apps, for Android, Windows and iPhone. As a quick example, visit the relevant app store for your device and search for 'maths'.
Some of the most popular education apps are:
- Reading Eggs: this is the app that helps children learn to read. They will learn how to read using interactive reading games, guided reading lessons, fun activities and over 2,000 digital story books.
- Speech Blubs: Speech Blubs is a Speech Therapy application that uses voice controlled and video technology to develop speech articulation for young children with or without speech difficulties.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy’s YouTube videos cover most subjects at a range of levels: math, science and engineering, arts and humanities (which includes history and social studies), economics, AP courses, and test prep.
- Duolingo: This language learning app has over 30 languages to choose from, and it offers fun lessons designed like mino-games.
- Google Classroom: Google Classroom is part of the G Suite for Education targeted to teachers and students in both K-12 and higher education markets.
- Quizlet: Quizlet is one of the most effective apps for review of material a student will be tested on. Teachers and students can create study sets/flashcards on many topics—from the periodic table to U.S. presidents to vocabulary words.
- Ready 4SAT: this app aims to teach you the material and test-taking tips for the SAT in mobile-friendly chunks, so that you can study whenever and wherever you have your smartphone.
You'll come across, at a glance, between 200 and 300 applications on various topics like:
- Mathematical formulas
- Multiplication tables
- Tips for learning
- Exercises based on themes
- Mathematics for children
- Maths games
- Mental calculations
From this quick look alone, you can see the multitude of options already on offer. This is also true of other subjects including English, foreign languages, history and geography. It leaves little doubt that home tutoring will also make use of the increasing range of practical, digital materials out there. While the face-to-face interaction of teacher and student will be hard to replace with digital means, we already see the presence of tablets and other devices in schools, and increasingly the use of quality applications to support learning. Elsewhere on our blog, you can read about tuition worldwide.
About Private Tutoring Online
Is it really essential that private tutor be in the same room as her student?
While it may be preferable in some cases, there's nothing to stop a student from chatting clearly and easily with an interlocutor based somewhere else in the US or anywhere else in the world. This, too, is the shape of private tuition of tomorrow: Making use of technology to learn. Parents, looking for a reputable teacher for their child, might be disappointed by the lack of availability of tutors in their area. Here, video chat software like Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and more can close the physical gap.
Foreign languages also occupy an increasingly prominent place in our lives. We use them to communicate on trips, or simply at work.
In order to progress in Spanish, Arabic of French, many parents look for private tutors for their children.
However, the best teachers, and often native speakers living in their native countries, are not to be found nearby. So, why not take to the web, and let students converse with private teachers located anywhere in the world, without having to leave home! Private lessons of tomorrow will doubtless include such a remote model of online tutoring.
Here are some benefits of tutoring done through online platforms:
- You can eliminate travel time both for teachers and students: this means that both parties save money on costs. It is also more environmentally friendly and sustainable, especially if you’re relying on cars.
- No geographical constraints: a great thing about online tutoring is that tutors and students can find each other from anywhere in the world. This means students can be matched with the best tutors suited to their needs without being limited by the area in which they live in.
- Students and teachers can work from anywhere: for tutors, this opens up a larger potential client base across all hours of the day.
- Resource sharing is way more efficient: you can use cloud storage shared folders such as Dropbox or Google Drive. These platforms are great to keep everything organized and in one place.
- You can use online resources more easily: you can send links to diagrams, articles, notes, case studies, etc. Or even tools like Google Maps or Google Earth, statistical websites or images and videos to help learning. Online tutoring is way more interactive.
- Technology will be your aid: you can use of online whiteboards or project management tools and screen sharing can to help explain concepts.
- It makes things less awkward: while having a private learning environment can be weird at first, doing it online certainly reduces the awkwardness of a face to face meeting.
- The entire lesson can be saved as a PDF. You can also record your lessons and repeat them.
As you can see, online tutoring has a lot of benefits and is ideal for certain student and tutor profiles. It is also possible to do a hybrid learning model where half of the lessons are done online and the other half in person. It is up to you!
Delegating: Pros of Private Tutoring
At Superprof, we are well-placed to provide such support. Parents no longer hesitate to entrust their child's education, even homework and revision, to an online tutor. This is undeniably a growth area. But why?
First, we can point to the above mentioned issue of a perceived decline in the quality of mainstream education and in students' performance, which drives parents to look for help from personal tutors. Secondly, we are in the midst of a sharp increase in the range of private tutoring services offered, enabling access to a larger number of home tutors. Thirdly, there are an increasing number of topics for students to explore.
Teachers also remark on another factor: That parents increasingly tend to work longer hours, in which case it's natural that they have less time available to help their own children.
The long tradition of getting a helping hand from mom or dad on the day's homework may be in decline. So too is that of revising for exams with parent's help, despite the fact that today's parents have more years of study under their collective belts than previous generations and so are, academically speaking, more capable of helping their offspring.
All this makes private tuition is a matter of exchange, and one which comprises parents, students and tutors.
If you are debating whether private tutoring is the right choice for you and/or your kids, check out our list of the pros of private tutoring.
These are the pros of private tutoring:
- Students get personal attention: in a regular classroom it's almost impossible for a teacher to halt a lesson in order to explain something to a particular student. With a tutor, children have their undivided attention and can ask as many questions as they need.
- Students can work at their own pace: linked to the one-on-one attention from teachers, with private tutoring children can learn at their own pace while their tutor makes sure that they learn subjects thoroughly and correctly.
- It is a great option for kids or students with learning disabilities: students with ADHD for example find private tutoring super helpful since the tutoring session is tailored to the student's specific needs.
- Private tutoring helps children create good study habits: tutors not only teach a subject, they also help with time management, give handy tips like what and how to focus on summarizing and titles while skimming, and strategies like paying attention to what the teacher emphasizes in class which can be super helpful for students when they go back to the regular classroom.
- Results are measurable: you know exactly what you will get from tutoring sessions. Whether you are looking for dramatic improvements in grades, entrance exam scores and test scores, you will be able to judge whether the tutor is doing a good job or not by seeing these goals achieved.
What is Happening to Private Tutoring?
Homework is part of every student's education. It's one in which some parents leave their children to their own devices, while others call on a home tutor, who visits several times a week to lend a welcome hand. This allows the child to receive learning support beyond that which the parents could provide.
So will be the private tutoring of tomorrow: A more widespread role for the personal teacher in the context of after-school tuition at home. Because of their increasing diversity, but also due to more demands on parents' time, private teachers will become, in the near future, the obvious go-to in helping children in their education.
Moreover, they will bring different methods, sometimes modelled on those of the formal education system, at other times more specific to their own particular teaching experience, and including the new possibilities that technology has to offer. If you're a teacher, you can read about the state of the private tuition industry here, on our blog.
Advantages of Private Tutoring: the Superprof Platform
If you are ready to embark in the adventure of private tutoring, Superprof is the ideal ally to make things happen for you. Our platform is full of private tutors that are ready to work with students across the US and help them achieve their academic goals.
All you have to do is search for the specific subject you are looking to work on, browse the tutors' profiles and pick the one that aligns best with your objectives. Once you find your tutor you can get to work!
But before you begin, here are some tips to help you pick the best possible tutor:
- Have your objectives very clear. Know exactly what subject you need help on, what you need to accomplish (pass a test for example) and how long you have to make it happen. This will help you understand what type of tutor you need to work with.
- Understand what learning method you need. Some students work best with structure, specific learning exercises and books. Others need a tutor who is more ludic and plays around with resources like movies, music, books. What works best for you?
- Be very clear about your budget. Every tutor has a specific hourly rate on our platform. This hourly rate is based on their experience, certificates and costs and may vary depending on their profile. This is why it is important to establish how much you are willing to spend on tutoring and work on finding someone around that same budget.
- Read their profile thoroughly. It's important to read their profile, pay attention to details like education, certificates and teaching method.
- Check out reviews. When reading the teachers' profiles you will also encounter reviews left by previous students. These reviews are a good way for you to judge and understand if this person is the right tutor for you.
- Have a first "interview" meeting before committing to your lessons. This first meeting is meant to be a small interview for you to get to know each other, align objectives and ask any questions that you have. Make sure to be super honest and open about your expectations and let them know what it is that you want to achieve through private tutoring. The tutor is there to help you out so, as long as they understand clearly what you need help with, they should be able to deliver.
Remember that tutoring is an excellent tool to reach your academic goals but you need to trust your tutor and make sure that they have space to help you out. Setting objectives and having an open communication channel is key to get clear results.
If it's you picking the tutor for your kid, don't forget to take your kid's point of view under account. In the end, it is them who will be taking lessons and you need to make sure they feel comfortable and are in a good learning environment. If you can have them meet the tutor in the interview session, let them ask questions as well. It is important to let them speak their mind and have them be at ease with this new academic journey.
Superprof is here to help you reach your objectives. Don't wait any longer: connect with a private tutor and start seeing an improvement in your academic results!