Holiday with Kids
Learning lift off
Looking for a tutor for your kids? Experienced teacher and tutor, jocelyn pride offers her advice on choosing the right one for your child.
Has remote learning made you wonder if your kids need a tutor? Are you worried they’ve fallen behind? Most kids benefit from 1:1 learning, but it is worth it? And how do you choose the right tutor?
What’s the goal?
Tutoring is already a billion-dollar industry in Australia and by all estimates, in light of lockdown and online learning, there’s a likely spike ahead. However, before you reach for the phone or keyboard, think about what you really want to achieve from a tutor. Is there a particular concept that needs reinforcement? Maybe you’re looking for someone to help with organisation and time management, to provide extension activities for an area of strength or simply to help build selfconfidence. Whatever the goal, make sure your child is on board. Involving your daughter or son in decision making makes the world of difference to how they’ll respond. A conversation starter along the lines of “You know how sometimes numbers just don’t seem to make sense? Well, we’re going to find someone to help you,” will most likely bring relief to a child who knows they are sometimes struggling in class.
How does your child learn?
During lockdown, you’ve probably had more time than ever to tap into the specifics of what rocks your kid’s boat when it comes to learning. Many styles are debated the world over, but loosely speaking, the three main categories are through listening (auditory), seeing (visual) or touching (kinesthetic). In addition to choosing a tutor that adapts to the learning style of your child, it’s also important to work out whether online or face-to-face tutoring is best. It’s no good opting for online tutoring if your child loves manipulating materials to help solve a maths problem.
Timing is everything
Kids are busy. Parents are busy. You know your own kids better than anyone, so finding the time in the day when your child will be most open to learning is key. Some kids need downtime after school; for others, once they’ve wound down, good luck getting them motivated again. If the thought of driving your child to the other side of town for tutoring does your head in, find a tutor that will come to you or consider online tutoring. Online tutoring also means you could schedule a few shorter sessions (20 minutes works well) each week, rather than the more traditional 40 to 60 minutes for face-to-face tutoring.
What to look for in a tutor
Not all tutors are created equal. The old adage “you get what you pay for” isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to tutoring. It’s important to note that tutoring isn’t regulated in Australia, and a teaching degree isn’t a requirement for tutoring. However, every state and territory does have its own Working with Children Check (WWCC) and police check system. Give yourself peace of mind – check credentials beforehand and ensure the tutor knows their stuff. A word-of-mouth recommendation is always gold.
Whether it’s a small group session in an agency or a private meet in your home with a university student, at the first session, observe how they interact with your child. Do they encourage further thinking by asking “why did you do it that way” rather than simply saying “correct” and moving on?
Above all, a great tutor for your child is someone they are able to communicate with and who instils in them a confidence and enthusiasm for learning.