Before you hire a private tutor, ask yourself these three important questions:
1. Is the tutor approachable?
One of the most common problems for a student who’s having difficulty with a certain subject is the “fear” of the subject and the subject teacher herself. Rossana Llenado. founder of online tutorial firm Ahead Interactive, notes that one of the main reasons why students can’t keep up with schoolwork is because they’re afraid of their very strict teacher. Fear rattles the child and keeps him from focusing on the subject.
Indeed, a study issued by Unicef about corporal punishment has established a correlation between child learning and fear. The study notes:
“A common effect of corporal punishment is a growing fear of teachers among school children and therefore a dislike of school. When driven by fear of punishment, children learn simply to please the teacher and not to acquire skills and knowledge for their own development. Physical punishment thus distorts a student’s motivation and learning is influenced by fear. Children who are physically and emotionally abused develop anxiety that causes loss of concentration and poor learning.”
You need to look for a private tutor who can ease these fears and renew the student’s interest. Someone who’s approachable enough so that your child won’t equate learning with being punished or ridiculed. The tutor must have a thorough understanding of the child psychology in order to develop a fearless, healthy and communicative relationship with her student.
2. Does the tutor have the ability to teach the subject matter?
There are tutors who are excellent at a certain subject matter but may not have the ability to teach it. Some have the knack for teaching; they have the gift to explain tough concepts without intimidating their students.
But for most people, the ability to teach is something that needs to be honed and developed for several years. And this can only be possible if the teacher has the inclination and years of experience teaching school aged children.
Llenado, an educational manager who has trained several tutors for her chain of tutorial centers in Manila, has discovered that her best tutors are the ones who are not only knowledgeable (she only hires the best from top universities) but also those who can make learning quick and fun!
Hence, hiring a math genius is not a surefire way of boosting your child’s grades in algebra. He may understand the theory but is that math genius capable of breaking down a complicated theory so that even a 12-year old child can understand it and even excel on the subject?
Check the tutor’s academic credentials and teaching experience by asking for referrals and transcript of records. Also interview other parents who hired the tutor for their children – you want to know if the tutor indeed helped in boosting a child’s academic performance.
If you already have a prospective tutor in mind, then ask her for her teaching method and syllabus.
Keep in mind that a tutor who hasn’t planned out her methodology of covering a subject or isn’t sure of the syllabus or the topics that require extra attention might not be able to help your child.
3. Should I consider using an online tutor?
This is one option that you might want to consider if you want a more flexible learning schedule for your child.
You can select an online tutor from reputable companies that employ top-notch tutors who can help your child anytime. This will also fit your busy schedule as you can always check on your child’s progress by simply checking it online via your smartphone or computer.
A good learning center will generally have orientation programs for parents and the tutors to present an overview of its teaching methods. The learning center must be able to ‘diagnose’ your child’s problem areas and devise a study plan that will address these problems.
But more than your prospective tutor’s credentials and qualifications, the most important thing for you to do is to discuss your child’s concerns with the tutor. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Educating your child involves a community of learners and educators in which you and the tutor belong.
(Photo credit: A Plus Student via Shutterstock)