A Parent's Guide to Tutoring for Kids
This article explains why tutoring is a valuable experience for all students, from helping struggling students to keep up with the class to providing good study habits to successful students.
Most folks will assume that only students that are struggling require tutoring. Nothing could be farther from the truth! In an increasingly competitive world, our education system is falling farther and farther behind. Why? Simply because it was designed 100 years ago to produce effective factory workers, and has failed to evolve any farther than that.
While factory work is scarce, and our economy has shifted to one that is increasingly service-based, our education system does little to elevate students to the level of independent thinkers or ambitious academics. Rather, it seeks to stamp the same kind of uniform student, with the same skills.
Add our wonderful and interesting multi-cultural environment to it, and you can imagine that the variety of thinking on education in the homes of students is generally going to be at odds with the accepted school system.
What does this do to our students? For the most part children are very flexible, and can conform to these ‘standards’, but conforming alone does not mean that a child is reaching the full yield of their potential, or developing a love of learning that might open the doors of opportunity later in their lives.
Enter tutoring. Suddenly, your student has undivided attention. They have someone to themselves that they can ask questions of without being ridiculed by their friends. They have an environment where not knowing is applauded as a sign-post for inquiry and the broadening of horizons.
We all take for granted the idea that a student knows how or learns how to:
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. School teachers assume that the parents do this part of student education and the end result is that there are large gaps in a student’s choice of academic tools to complete work in the way that it is expected. With tutoring, a student isn’t able to hide these missing pieces of the puzzle in the crowd of other students. The necessary gaps are identified and then realistic solutions can be implemented to correct the area of weakness.
Consider what a boost in self-esteem comes to the student that learns to ask questions, that gets lots of attention, that works on their weak areas, that improves their grades at school!
I’d like to share with you my experience of tutoring, which I think is a textbook example of success.
I did not learn how to do academic work until I was in my final year of high school, and then I polished that skill over 5 years in university. My teachers always were quick to say how smart I was, and how bright, but never identified my need for remedial help. Often enough this resulted in struggle, embarrassment, and fights at home (screaming matches, really…). In my last year at a regular high school in Toronto, my interest in Music was blossoming, resulting in many skipped academic classes to focus on Music, and pretty much failing out of school. I ended up having to leave the regular high school, and found myself at a school that was designed for people like me - arts and sports students. Often I found myself in a class of one, with a personal tutor! Suddenly I had a personal rapport with my educators, and I could express my frustrations, limits, and desire for success. These teachers also revealed some things I didn’t even know about in my own ability to work, and gave me the tools I needed to succeed. Almost 15 years later I am grateful that I almost failed, because it provided me the sign-post to academic success. I have two degrees from excellent universities, and I am always working to broaden my knowledge. Tutoring saved me!
While this is a very specific example, everyone can benefit from extra help, and reach for greater achievement.
Your student will thank you!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barnaby Kerekes is the director of ABC Academy of Music (offering music lessons in Toronto, ON), and a freelance bass trombonist.
This article may be viewed in it's original format here: A Parent's Guide to Tutoring for Kids