Updated: Jul 7, 2021
There are many variables which must be considered before deciding to allow a tutor to support your child, and those can change depending on a student's (and their family's) needs.
It is a difficult task to find a perfect-fit tutor. One student's ideal tutor is not necessarily the ideal tutor for another student. In this post we will cover:
Special Educational Needs
Who is this for:
Parents and guardians looking to hire a tutor.
Students who are researching tutors to recommend to parents or guardians.
Tutors looking for personal development.
1. A tutor should be a reliable source of support for students.
Tutors must always be reliable. Why?
The student and family they work with come to rely on their expertise and support. If a schedule is agreed, you should expect them to be punctual.
It is best for class times to be at a set time every week. Why?
The classes with tutors become part of a student’s routine. A routine promotes responsibility as the student becomes familiar with preparing for their class every week.
The expectation to prepare and be ready for class increases the likelihood that homework will be attended to at a high standard and that they have brought the appropriate tools for their lesson.
Tutors who provide the best support cultivate a proactive attitude in their students.
Don't forget: tutors are supposed to be modelling an excellent attitude to education.
2. Tutors should have expertise in attaining the goals which students are aiming towards and help students to continually re-evaluate their aims and avenues for attaining and exceeding them.
Goal setting is the best way to ensure a consistent move towards progress.
Goals should be SMART:
Specific – straightforward and emphasise what you want to happen
Measurable – If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Attainable – In reach of being achieved.
Relevant – Linked with the desired outcomes and activities.
Time-bound – Set a timeframe to work in
A good tutor will not only understand how to set SMART goals with their students, but also inspire students to set SMART goals themselves.
Once a goal is achieved, new goals should be set and constantly re-evaluated.
Goals are not set in stone! Tutors should know which to prioritise and how to amend goals depending on changing circumstances.
3. A great tutor is a great communicator and can change their approach to a topic, depending on the requirements of the student and how they react to the teaching material.
Most students are looking to improve in a particular top/area of study, such as English, Maths, Science, etc., and tutors must be experts in communicating understanding of their topics.
It is not enough to know about a topic! A tutor must be able to teach it well.
What to look out for?
Asking if the student is understanding the content regularly.
Be able to change approach if the current one isn't working.
Using positive language and celebrate success.
Regularly summarising content.
Explain the application of the work for meeting the student's goals.
4. The most successful tutors are passionate about their subject areas.
Passion is contagious and students find it more fulfilling to be taught by someone with who enjoys learning and teaching about a topic than those who don't.
Children who have fun during their classes are more likely to remember what they have learnt.
Tutors who love to teach spend time and energy creating or discovering the best resources to use within their classes. There is a universe of incredible websites and media which challenge students to view a topic from another perspective.
Building positive associations between students and their learning helps to spur their curiosity and increases the likelihood of students completing further work after class.
The goal: students look forward to their classes and understand the value of their education.
5. Tailoring to each student
There are many factors which should necessitate a different approach.
The age of students, their ability, and grades, as well as learning difficulties, necessitate a unique approach to educational support.
Each student is an individual and must be treated as so.
Most tutors are not well-suited to teach all age and ability groups. The majority specialise in teaching students with specific characteristics and needs.
This is not a weakness, but a strength!
A tutor who is well-versed in catering for your specific needs will be well positioned to optimally support you.
Some tutors have strengths in challenging high-achieving students.
Others excel in building confidence and consolidating foundational knowledge in struggling students.
Likewise, teaching a five-year-old requires a divergent approach to a sixteen-year-old, and the experience of the tutor in teaching specific age ranges is key to success.
Confidence is often the key ingredient which is lacking in a student. A tailored approach to that student helps them to realise their strengths and typically translates into a new approach when they are in school.
Tutors who are experienced in teaching students who have similar needs to that of your own are better placed to apply their expertise to your situation.
6. For students who have special learning difficulties, a tutor's teaching style and ability to adapt to the student's specific needs, often becomes the priority.
The ability to utilise a range of resources and teaching styles provides tutors with the opportunity to create a successful learning environment for their studnts, who are confident that their needs are being considered.
These tutors are well versed in adapting to situations and recommending tactics which support the student’s learning style.
Tutors should work with parents and students to learn which approach is best for their circumstances.