All You Need to Know about Kids Tutoring
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Published by TOP4 Team
When do your children need a tutor?
Private tutoring has become a big business in Australia. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of educational attainment. According to Australian Tutoring Association’s survey, parents spend an average of $50 per week to help their children excel in the classroom. Tutoring is used mostly for children who are struggling at school and need remediation, to prevent academic problems, to supplement instruction at school or to prepare them for selective public school/college entrance exams.
There are numerous reasons of why a child doesn’t perform well at school. First, many students need to be re-taught some basic skills because they didn’t master it the first time. Not understanding a lesson now may lead to an even larger problem down the road, so tutoring can help to reinforce subjects that are taught in school.
Some students struggle with a learning disability. They need a tutor who has time and patience and can adapt the lesson to the child’s special needs. Some children have weak organisational skills. They struggle with planning academic material by themselves and keeping on schedule with studying and completing assignments. Tutors can teach them how to work independently and take positive study habits that will remain with the child throughout his or her life.
Tutoring can also help advanced students to accelerate their learning to be eligible for honors or advanced placement courses, which allow them to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. Other children are just too anxious during tests. Tutors can provide tips and exercises for dealing with this test anxiety and help students become more self-confident.
How to Select a Suitable Tutor for Your Children
You must be very selective when choosing a tutor to make sure that it will really help your children to get better grades at school. These are some guidelines for parents to help in the tutor selection process.
1. Involve your child
Explain to your children why and how you think a tutor can help them with their lessons. They have to understand that the tutor’s role is for helping them in their study. Involve your children in the whole selection process so that they don’t feel forced upon one tutor. Ask them whether they prefer a male teacher than a female teacher or vice versa.
2. Interview several tutors
Do not just rely on email or telephone. It’s better to meet the tutor face-to-face to discuss your requirements. The discussion must cover several topics:
- Qualifications. The tutor is supposed to have the expertise in the subject being taught. For primary school, choose someone with a teaching degree or a university degree that has a great report with children. Don’t use websites such as Gumtree because listed tutors often have no teaching qualifications and no idea how to plan lessons or conduct appropriate assessments.
- Experience. Experienced tutors know how to keep the focus and disciplining your child. If your child has a learning disability, it is essential that the tutor must have been trained to use appropriate techniques that can suit the child’s special needs. You should ask for references.
- Association membership. Tutors registered with the Australian Tutoring Association are required to follow a code of conduct. It may be signified a good quality guarantee.
- Location. Will the tuition take place in your house? Then it may be more convenient to choose a tutor that lives fairly close to you so that he will not be affected by traffic delays and arrive on time for each session.
- Schedule. Make an agreement for the tutor to come on time (and the consequence if they don’t). Discuss the frequency and length of each session that are convenient for both of you. You should pick a time that leaves enough breathing room for your child after school, but not too late at night to avoid tiredness and distraction. It should also be easily coordinated with the family’s schedule.
How to make sure you will obtain the best results?
If you are spending a lot of money for private tutoring, you should make sure that you are getting a quality service with noticeable results. Here are some tips to make sure that the tutoring will work:
First, you have to involve your children’s teachers. They know what are your children’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and may have much clearer idea of what skill areas that your children may need help in and which learning style works the best with him. The tutor must also know what curriculum will be covered over the whole year and what approach the teacher uses in the classroom to plan lessons accordingly. Supplementing and complementing what is being taught in class will be more effective than following an alternative curriculum.
Parents are advised to sit in on the lesson as often as possible. It will allow you to observe your children’s development while studying with the tutor. Make sure that the lessons are of good quality. However, don’t break your children’s attention by correcting their mistakes or commenting. Keep it for yourself until the end of the session.
Showing interest in what your child is learning will result in your children taking more interest in the subject himself. Don’t rely on the tutor only. Check their homework every day and be available to help. It’s very important that the child evolve in a supporting atmosphere.
It is also critical to set clear goals and deadlines for the tutoring. Make sure that the tutoring remains in a short-term and that the goals are realistic and challenging in the same time. Request periodic reports of your children’s progress to make sure that there is noticeable academic improvement. Remember that the progress may take a few months. Celebrate significant advances and feel free to revisit the goals if necessary.
If you don’t feel comfortable with your tutor for any reason or that you are not satisfied with the results, the first step is to tell him/her to improve the situation together. Be clear, firm and polite. If your goal is not achieved, consider switching tutors. To cancel the contract, you must have included guarantee and cancellation clauses. You can also have included a refund policy. The Australian Consumer Law allows you to claim compensation when a service doesn’t meet a consumer guarantee.
Pricing and how to cut costs
A private tutor in Australia will cost you from $20 to $60 an hour, depending on the location, the tutor’s experience and the area of learning (you will pay more for a tutor who is qualified in areas such as advanced math and science). The Australian Tuition Association’s survey found that the cost can even reach $120 per hour.
The contract must include the cost for tutoring and clarify whether you will be required to pay for any additional support materials or book, what is the preferred method of payment and whether you will be provided with a receipt.
Tutoring your children yourself is an obvious way to cut costs if you are on a budget. You may have to work on your own tutoring skills and make sure that you have the knowledge in the area that your child is struggling with. Schedule a time for study and remain persistent even if your child doesn’t take you seriously at first. Question your teaching rather than their learning when you don’t see improvement. Always praise and encourage your child.
Another solution to cut costs is to use computer-based tutoring, which is much cheaper than private face-to-face tutoring. Make sure that the training package is applicable to Australian schools and not made overseas. Methods used in this software have often been proved to work because they rely on individual programs specific to each student’s preferences, interests and learning styles. Most programs offer detailed, scheduled parent conferences that allow them to see their children’s progress.