Whether it’s geography, basic literacy, French or advanced mathematics, most of us will remember a time when a certain topic just wouldn’t stick. It might have seemed totally irrelevant, simply uninteresting or, as is the case for some subjects, down-right terrifying. Even with the pressure of looming exams, it seemed like the brain had shut down, refusing to grant any comprehension to the matter before it. This is where private tutoring can be useful.
Working one-to-one gives both the tutor and student time to focus on a particular area, and find tools so the child can develop in the subject to their full potential. This may be a matter of approaching the topic from a more personalised angle, by relating a topic to something they’ve experienced, or by simply providing a supportive environment for the student to ask questions.
The process of tuition can truly allow the child's understanding of a topic to grow. It can also be a time where specific academic skills are honed; mathematical problems, balancing chemical equations, evaluating historical sources. Time dedicated to some of these skills allows students to achieve their full potential in both class and exams. Secondly, tuition can provide a forum where a student is encouraged to understand how they learn best, to discover what revision techniques suit them, or are most enjoyable, and which ones are less effective. Finally, one-to-one tuition can build the student’s overall confidence for the classroom environment as well as for situations further afield.
Having worked as a tutor for over several years I have had the pleasure to watch many students have their 'I've got it' moment. For one, that was improving their reading comprehension to the point where they started reading independently, just for fun. For another, it was seeing them lose their fear of exam essays, confident in their ability to plan and structure a good argument. As the weeks went by, it was a joy to see their grades gradually increase as the essay structures became more robust and detailed. For a third, it was simply breaking down the entire GCSE history syllabus onto flash cards and playing memory recall games; the mountain of information was being conquered!
Used well, individual one-to-one tutoring can be a valuable addition to learning, help craft a personalised revision style, practice specific exam strategies, and improve confidence in students. With any luck, they can avoid that terrible sinking feeling of dread and instead look forward to answering any questions thrown at them in class.