The fourth chapter taken from the Academic Success Formula is written by former franchisee, Margot Bartsch. Throughout the chapter, Margot explores the importance of one-to-one tutoring and how having a mentor can drastically change a student’s outlook towards learning by providing a tailored experience, unique to anything taught in schools. She looks at why one-to-one tutoring is so powerful, providing insightful case studies to illustrate her key points.
Why One-to-One Tutoring?
All students are unique with their own goals, challenges, needs, personalities and learnings styles, which makes it tricky for them to ‘fit into the box’ of the school system. Even though the curriculum has very specific educational requirements, it’s almost impossible for schools to provide the personalised learning experience needed. One-to-one tutoring provides a unique opportunity to help students through these difficulties and reach their goals, even when they seem out of reach. Whether a student is trying to catch up or get straight A’s, one-to-one tutoring is the key that gets them there. It not only allows them to experience learning with a personalised tutor, it means specific support materials can be used and a teaching approach can be taken that fulfils the student’s needs.
Mentoring is Key
One of the most overlooked aspects of one-to-one tutoring and often why it’s so successful is the aspect of mentoring. The difference being that mentoring isn’t always about school work and focuses on developing a relationship with a student to help them gain confidence to succeed. It’s important to recognise just being a ‘tutor’ isn’t enough and many students will benefit from having a good role model and someone investing in their lives. Every student deserves a tutor who inspires, motivates and encourages them as well as makes learning engaging and fun. Even parents who find it hard to reach their kids find that the encouragement and guidance from a tutor who believes in their child provides the breakthrough they’ve been waiting for.
"She went from giving up on school and wanting out, to taking on more difficult classes and being engaged, motivated and even driven to get things done." - Meagan, Tutor
How Mentoring Can Make a Difference
A grade 9 student with weak reading and organisation skills illustrates just how effective mentoring can be. He was barely passing his courses and felt discouraged, ‘stupid’ and that school wasn’t for him. After a consultation with his parents, he was matched up with a mentor-type tutor, who was a good role model, patient, kind and warm. Within two months he went from almost failing to getting C's and B's. Instead of ‘learning’ in a traditional way, the tutor taught him HOW to be a student by helping him learn how to manage his studies, prepare for tests, complete assignments properly and increase his confidence levels. The student wanted to impress his tutor because he knew they believed in him.
Compensates for Learning Differences
Another benefit of one-to-one tutoring is how it’s able to compensate for challenges and learning differences. It’s a known fact that students learn better if the material is presented in a way that aligns with their dominant learning style. For example, learning will be much more effective for a visual learning student, if the information is delivered visually as verbally would be for an auditory learner. In a one-to-one setting the tutor can easily check if the student is understanding the information, and try a different approach if they’re not absorbing a lesson. Having this personalised attention also means a tutor can take the time to stop, go back, break it down, explain differently or even go back to a previously missed building block.
"My tutor was an amazing person who showed me many different ways to tackle each math problem." - Kristi, Student
Other Benefits of One-to-One Tutoring
Tutor Matching. Having a tutor that matches a student’s academic needs, personality, learning style and schedule is a fantastic benefit of one-to-one tutoring. If a student is able to look up to their tutor, respects and likes them it can create a natural connection that makes communication easier and is motivation in itself for the student to the best they can.
"Tutor Doctor (on the first go) found my daughter the perfect tutor to match her learning style!" - Debra, Parent
Efficient. Being able to focus on exactly what a student needs, makes one-to-one tutoring an extremely efficient use of time. For example, when a child already understands a concept, the tutor can swiftly move on, whereas in a classroom a student would normally have to sit and wait for the lesson to be over, which can be extremely frustrating.
"My son learns more in the one hour of one-to-one than he does in a week of the same subject in class at school." - Carolynn, Parent
Goal Alignment. There are many students who have specific goals in mind that can’t be met or worked towards in a classroom setting. A one-to-one tutor will set clear goals with every student and communicate with parents and teachers to ensure everyone is on the same page. Goals can range from ‘fill in gaps in foundational knowledge, to achieve a C+’ or ‘increase confidence levels, work on phonic skills and start to enjoy learning’. Using a tutors expertise, they can help students achieve their academic goals and beyond.
Materials. In a one-to-one teaching situation, a tutor can work with whatever materials need to be covered or will work best for the student. For some students they’ll work more efficiently on a computer than a pen and paper, whereas for another they may need to recap a concept they learnt a few years ago. A tutor can adapt the materials used and also choose to present material that works in favour of a students strongest learning style.
Targeted Instruction. In most classroom settings, teachers have to teach to the middle of the class, which can result in many students either getting left behind or feeling bored. One-to-one tutoring allows students to be taught at their level of proficiency, giving them the learning time and expertise they deserve. For students with aggressive goals such as getting into a particular university, an expert in their chosen field can be provided to help take their knowledge to the next level. Often unachievable on their own or through school, a tutor who is successful in a subject can inspire, stretch and help high-achieving students achieve more than they could have with just hard work.
Gaps in Learning. It’s not unusual for students to be behind in their studies- sometimes by a few years. A private tutor gives students the opportunity to focus on these issues and takes the time to help fill in the gaps in learning by using material and giving instructions appropriate to their current level.
"My tutor was very helpful in keeping me focused on my weak points and strengthening them." - Jack, Student
Personalisation- The New Trend in Education
With Forbes magazine listing ‘Personalisation’ as one of the top four trends in education, it’s clear that individualised learning is an area that is going to continue to grow. Not only does one-to-one tutoring allow for personalisation of support materials, adapted teaching methods and high levels of focus, but has the power to change a student's motivation, improve their skill set and increase potential success. From the outcomes we have already seen in students, with one-to-one tutoring anything is possible.
“The tutor matching, teaching methods, and adaptation of materials has really worked. There is no comparison between the mass manufactured approach to education that churns kids through a system vs the customised, individualised and undivided attention he receives with this approach.” - Angela, Parent