The last decade has witnessed a boom in the tuition industry, with nearly half of all students in London receiving private or home tuition in 2015.
The air of secrecy and stigma which used to surround tuition is finally being eroded as people move towards more personalised education models and away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach. Private tuition, as its name suggests, is completely bespoke to each individual student’s learning needs and whilst the inevitable tuition is needed for exam preparation, tutors today are coaching their students far beyond the parameters of passing exams. Whether tutors are supplementing a child’s general interest in a subject, teaching English as an Additional Language, providing support for Special Educational Needs (SEN), working with families who travel frequently or delivering a home-schooling programme there are many different ways in which children are benefitting from this flexible way of learning. Despite often inflammatory headlines, the last few years have also witnessed greater collaboration between schools and tuition companies as both parties look to work together to support early intervention especially in the instances of English language difficulties and SEN.
One size does not fit all
We all learn in different ways and the key is to discover which methods work best for you as an individual. Self-knowledge is always a good thing. One example of this is seen when analysing the mixed emotions of joy and relief when you receive the DIY present that you really wanted only to find that you have no clue how to build this present! The excitement that ensues as you open the package and carefully examine its various components and the sinking realisation that you will have to read the instruction manual. Do you just go by the pictures or follow the step-by-step instructions to the letter? Maybe you take one look at the final image and choose to investigate your own way of getting there. Or perhaps the user guide has already found its way to the recycling bin amongst a mound of wrapping paper as your online video tutorial reassuringly talks you through the process. Even though each member of your family might have taken a different approach, no one can argue with you if your chosen method allows you to succeed, and enjoy the process!
However, meeting different learning styles is hard for any classroom teacher, even in the typically smaller class sizes in independent schools. Therefore, tuition offers a rare opportunity to supplement excellent classroom teaching. Given that every learner is unique, one-to-one lessons enable a tutor to personalise the teaching and provide the optimum conditions for their student to progress and excel.
In addition to experiencing an approach which is tailored to your learning style, tutoring fosters a holistic attitude to education by extending learning opportunities to the home. Working in a comfortable and more relaxed environment can often help to instigate those lightbulb moments of understanding.
This hints at the fundamental elements which underpin the success of private tuition, the impact of the mentoring partnership on a student’s confidence, self-esteem and personal growth. A far more positive message than the “hot-housing” and “over-coached students” that seem to sell the papers is building emphasis on fostering a ‘can do’ attitude. Given the increasing pressures which children and teenagers face today, any supportive guidance which facilitates a student’s ability to cope with challenge will most certainly be welcomed. As educationalists, we are all committed to supporting students in the ways which are most relevant for them to develop into happy and confident lifelong learners. Bespoke one-to-one tuition has the power to transform a student’s outlook and engagement in education and that is a message worth sharing. The secret is out.
The pupil polling forms part of the Ipsos MORI Young People Omnibus Surveys. The 2015 survey for the Sutton Trust included 2,488 respondents in schools in England and Wales.