Tutoring: Cure, or Band-Aid?

Is your child’s tutor helping your child to understand the subject better? Or is your child only gaining enough knowledge to pass the next test, only to have to learn it all over again before the next test?

Actually, this is largely up to you as a parent. Your brief to the tutor does a lot to determine how much your child learns. If you want exam preparation, you will get exam preparation. If you want your child to gain actual understanding, you need to ask for that directly.

 

What Tutors Can Do For You

In an ideal world, the schooling system would teach every child the concepts, and tutoring would only be used to hone skills and teach additional material. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, do we?
The vast majority of students aren’t able to gain all the knowledge they need in their school classrooms. If they could, the tutoring industry wouldn’t be as big as it is today. This means that tutors have the responsibility of teaching kids the fundamentals, as well as preparing them for tests and exams.

Building a foundation is a long process, and doesn’t show immediate results. It will take time for this to reflect in your child’s marks, which is why most tutors opt for option 2: teach the child to solve specific problems that they are most likely to encounter in the test.
What this means is that your child will never quite understand what it is he/she is doing. They will know how to do these problems, but never how to apply the concepts in any other way. They will continue to struggle, and will need to relearn these skills regularly.
If you want tutoring to only boost your child’s marks in the short-term (e.g. A week before a big test), this approach can be useful. But if you are trying to make sure your child has a successful school career, look for a tutor who will take the time to teach your child the basics, and will stick with this approach. Over time, your child will become dramatically better as he/she learns to apply the basics in complex ways.

 

What You Can Do As A Parent
It is vitally important to make sure that the tutor is able to do this for you. Some tutors do not have enough knowledge of the basics to be able to teach this way, while others think it is tedious, and prefer to skim over the basics in favour of more challenging concepts. Make sure you tell the tutor exactly what you require from the first lesson. Check up with your child what the tutor is covering during the lessons, and if it is not to your satisfaction, make sure you have a talk with the tutor.
I am a tutor, too. I’ve used both methods, depending on the situation. I had a student last year who I only had a week with before his university entrance examination.

In that week, I did my best to prepare him for everything he could face in that test. The funny thing was, I spent most of that week teaching him the basics, and showing him how they applied to the problems we were working on. At the end of the week, he was seeing solutions that he would not have dreamed of when we started, and was using methods that I hadn’t taught him! Using his understanding, he found ways that worked for him. I was ecstatic to see his improvement, and he was feeling much more confident, since he understood what he was doing.
If you want your child to feel more confident, understand how to apply concepts, and be able to relate new knowledge to old concepts, invest in a tutor who takes the time to build your child’s foundational knowledge, and adds new knowledge to that which your child already has. It takes longer, but it is worth it. The trouble is that the majority of tutors will not be patient enough to keep this method up.

 

How Can I Help You?
If you want a tutor who is willing to work with your child in exactly this way, I offer Fundamental Math coaching for students. I have a programme to systematically teach

your child the basic concepts they need to be able to understand mathematics. The first lesson is free, to make sure you and I are both happy that this programme will be beneficial for your child. If you don’t feel it is the right fit, there are no obligations attached.
Any child can be good at math, that’s my firm belief. But you can’t build a castle on quicksand. Invest in your child’s education, and you’ll see the consistent rewards.
To sign up for the free consultation lesson, click here!

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