5 Things to Reflect on Before Hiring a Private Tutor

Since the pandemic began, online learning has become the new norm for many people. As a result, the online learning market has been growing at a rapid pace. In 2019, over a quarter of 11-16 year olds said that they had received private tuition. This figure increases to 41% in London and 1 in 4 secondary school teachers say they have tutored privately outside of school. 


As a tutoring business that receives hundreds of applications, it is our knowledge of the industry that informs these recommendations. We receive applications from tutors in all disciplines. This varies from musicians, scientists, mathematicians, humanities all focusing on areas from Key Stage 1 up to GCSE revision and A-level revision. Furthermore, we also provide Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO) to support students and adults with their learning. 



Identify your goal


Is there a specific exam, test or module that you are trying to pass? Or a certain theory you need to grasp but you cannot. From these questions, we must outline some differences when it comes to goals. If all you want to do is pass a test or some other short-term result, that is a performance goal. On the other hand, if you want to understand an idea and be able to transfer it to different situations or essays generally, then this is a learning goal


Performance goals are a necessary factor in seeing progress in a subject, however, learning goals should be an absolute priority. With learning, goals help develop a better understanding of core topics. This is a more usable knowledge base in the real world and in time a better performance in exams will occur. 


Importantly to consider, online tuition should not be relied on to achieve a performance goal. In the short term, this may be a great option as it can make you productive and help you build your confidence for topic tests. Though, a student will be set up for failure if they do not have the core understanding and skills to transfer knowledge within the topic. 


To avoid regurgitation of facts, setting learning goals with a tutor is a must. These are achieved over a longer period of time with regular lessons instead of old fashioned chalk-board memorisation. To ensure learning goals are set in stone, ensure your tutor has access to your goals and make sure your goals are always visible in your “study zone” to make you more motivated to achieve them. 


Look carefully at the tutor’s actions


Good tutoring is not just about the tutor teaching the student. In order for tutoring to be effective, students must also ensure they are actively involved in the process


When you are in an online lesson writing down revision notes, ensure you listen to what the tutor is constantly saying. For instance, if the student completes something to high detail, does the tutor always say “Good!” and move on? Or does the tutor sometimes ask follow-up questions to check your thinking and critical analysis? 


It is important to understand that follow-up questions are a great way to help with learning because they make you think outside the box. Moreover, follow-up questions enable you to think beyond the subject and know the content to high detail rather than just basic level information. 



In addition, if the student makes a mistake, does the tutor say, “No, do it this way”? Or does the tutor say, “Tell me why you made that choice”? Getting the student to explain their choice enables the tutor to gain more insight into how the student goes about solving problems and to catch any errors in the student’s thinking.


Moreover, how does the tutor react when the student makes a mistake? Students learn the most when they make a mistake and recognise that they made one. A good tutor will not see mistakes as a bad thing but more of the natural course of learning. From this learning curve, our professional tutors at Sherpa will guide you and perfect your knowledge on the subject you are learning. 


Don’t forget online options


It is worth exploring all the options available to one when looking for tuition. In the early days of online tuition, it was very much a basic form of teaching because it only contained video chats through a webcam using software such as Skype. Since then there has been vast development whereby online learning has become interactive and far more engaging. From such development, over 75% of students have said that it is just as or more effective than face-to-face tutoring. 


More substantial online tutoring bodies such as Sherpa have use of their own online whiteboard. Click on this link here for the tutorial on how to work the whiteboard. This online classroom shows a video feed from each webcam in the corner of the screen so both parties can see each other and converse like a normal video-chat. 


Taking over the majority of the screen, however, is a virtual interactive whiteboard. The best way to compare this is to a whiteboard in real life. The tutor and pupil can write, draw, paint, shape and long divide their way to achieving success. As well as share their screen and upload all necessary documents. The interactive whiteboard is technologically ahead of the game and is a perfect way for students and tutors to interact. 


Consider that you are doing enough for your child first (Primary years particularly)


If your child struggles with reading, visit our Primary level tutors page to find support, support them by reading aloud to them and make them read in front of you to build their confidence. To help them even more, ensure your child develops a passion for reading from an early age to help them learn important information and to develop strong literacy skills from a young age.


If your child struggles with math, find ways to do math with your child in enjoyable ways like games or apps. Interestingly, working on math with your child benefits them even more if you are anxious about math yourself. Children learn when asked to reflect on their own work, even when a tutor (or parent) doesn’t give a lot of feedback or explanations. Keep prompting your child until they have fully justified their work in their own mind. 


Keep expectations reasonable


On the whole, online tutoring has proven to be effective. Though, tutoring should not be a fall back plan at all times. It is important for parents to guide their children with reading to help boost their literacy skills from a young age. However, for those wanting to achieve their performance goals and boost their revision resources, book a session here with one of our online tutors now.

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Sebastian Owen

22nd October

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