When looking for a professional to deliver tutoring services to your child, what are some of the important questions to ask and issues to keep in mind?
- Explain to your child why you think a tutor is needed and how a tutor will help them with their school work.
- Interview one or more tutors with your child. (If your child is part of the process, he/she will be more open to accepting help.)
- Check the tutor's credentials. Ask about qualifications, experience, and references. It is important that the tutor has expertise in the subject being taught. Find out whether the person has experience working with students at your child's grade level. If the tutor is working with a child with a learning disability, it is essential that he/she has been trained to use appropriate techniques that can address the student's special needs.
- Set clear goals for the tutoring and request a description of the tutoring plan. Whenever possible, ask your child's teacher to participate in the design of this plan so that it links to school work. Try to create a partnership between you, your child's teacher, and the tutor.
- If possible, schedule tutoring for the times of the day when your child is ready to learn. After-school hours are the most common time for tutoring but this is also when students are tired or distracted by other activities. Allow for much-needed breaks from the school routine.
- For students with a learning disability, consider scheduling more than one lesson a week. Students with learning disabilities often need practice and repetition to master skills. Also, remember that it takes time to see improvement, so do not expect a quick fix.
- Observe your child working with the tutor. The session should include hands-on learning and be very interactive. The tutor should be guiding your child through direct teaching and guided practice.
- Request periodic reports from both the tutor and your child's teacher. There should be noticeable academic improvement within a few months.
- There must be a good rapport between the tutor and student. Give the relationship a chance to develop (about eight lessons) but if it doesn't, look for another tutor.
- For your childs safety, always ensure the tutor has the appropriate Working With Children clearance. As requirements vary across Australia, refer to this website for details - Working With Children
How parents can help
The primary motivation of the child to learn comes from the parent. The following is a list of things that a parent should do to reinforce what the tutor is doing:
- Check homework everyday (assigned by the school and the tutor).
- Structure time to do homework.
- Provide a quiet place to study.
- Be available to help, but don't do the work.
- Show that reading and education are important.
When does a child need a tutor?
There are many different reasons why children receive tutoring. Thousands of children having difficulty with a subject in school are currently being tutored in Australia. The following are among the reasons:
- Many students didn't master basic skills which need to be re-taught to them.
- Some have a learning disability which poses challenges to the mastery of information and slows down progress in school.
- Others have weak organisational skills which result in difficulty with keeping on schedule with studying and completing assignments.
- Some students have medical, social, emotional, behavioral, and/or family problems.
- Many students need help in maths, english and science, particularly in high school.
- Advanced students like to accelerate their learning and seek a tutor to challenge their thinking.
Whatever the reason, tutors can both reinforce subjects that are taught in school and teach students how to work independently. Students often become more self-confident after working with a tutor.
The cost to hire a private tutor in Australia ranges from $20 to $80 an hour, depending on the location, the tutor's experience, and the area of learning.