When I’m talking with friends and family, I’m met with questions about iD Tech, what we do, the proficiency of students, and then some.
The most common questions used to revolve around the fact that we’ve traditionally been known as a summer camp—”So, what do you all do outside of summer?” (If they only knew!)
The other questions come about when the conversation turns to the age of our students—”You mean a 7-year-old can learn to code?” (Yes!)
Now, lately, since we’ve made the shift to online offerings, the questions are a bit more general, with people genuinely interested in how their own kids can get involved. ”Is summer camp canceled?” "What can kids do now?” “Tutoring?” “Does tutoring really help students?”
And to the point of this blog post…
Does tutoring help students?
Tutoring helps students focus on a specific task or subject, allowing them to experience a different kind of learning and potentially reach new skill and confidence levels.
Of course, it all depends on the student and their unique circumstances, but yes, tutoring can be extremely beneficial.
How does tutoring help students?
1. Gives kids an outlet
School can be downright frustrating. Subject matter can be difficult to understand, teachers may not be accessible in class, and then might not be very welcoming even after class or during office hours.
So, tutoring gives kids an outlet. It can lift a big weight off of their shoulders as they now realize they have someone completely dedicated to helping their learning and answering their questions.
2. Offers deeper learning
Perhaps the most traditional, widely-known benefit of tutoring?
There could be so much that needs to be learned in a given school year, and with traditional topics that carry so much complexity and depth, it may be difficult for teachers to spend extended periods of time diving deeper and deeper.
With tutoring, though, students can hit the "pause" button; settling in with one specific topic and going as deep as they need in order to develop an understanding, or as deep as they want in order to satisfy their interests.
3. Offers wider learning
While the above benefit is focused on going deeper into a particular subject, this benefit has to do with extending learning to different subjects altogether. Meaning, while we all have had to learn all the different types of math, and have probably struggled at times, there are different types of tutors out there.
For instance, a student wanting to learn to code can find an online programming tutor, while another can find help with something like building an adventure map in Minecraft.
And this isn't only a benefit of tutoring. From summer camps to different types online learning, there are a variety of learning experiences available for those interested in getting involved in something not traditionally taught in school.
4. Offers personalized learning
Regardless of whether or not your child needs to go deep or wide with their learning, the point is, it’s going to be a personalized experience at the end of the day.
School is great, and many students flourish in the traditional classroom, but students can also get a lot out of lessons tailored to their specific learning needs. Capturing both of the points above, this personalized learning approach can help a student focus on a particularly troublesome area, or, can allow them to explore something new and different altogether.
Not to mention that the learning can be customized and built around those things students already enjoy, like sports, music, or video games, for example.
5. Encourages questions
As alluded to above, asking questions in class isn’t always the easiest thing to do for some students. Especially with classes held online with 30 students on a screen and more or less muted, asking questions draws attention, which isn’t easy for some young minds to deal with.
Plus, while there are many great teachers, there are some who, frankly, can make a student feel really badly about asking a question.
With tutoring, both of those challenges are accounted for. There aren’t 29 other students ready to stare daggers and potentially call names, and, most tutors would want and expect questions in order to help guide their sessions.
6. Improves confidence
Going back to the first point on giving students a new and potentially much needed learning outlet, that in itself can be an uplifting experience that can clear the mind and allow for greater successes.
Then, beyond that, as success is experienced, confidence grows and grows. Not only can students begin to feel more comfortable with what they’re learning in front of them, but also might be motivated and encouraged to tackle more, and different opportunities. Not to mention the boost it can provide in terms of their confidence when they find themselves back in their classrooms, as well.
7. Introduces accountability
Yes, school offers accountability too, but this is different.
For instance, the measures of accountability a teacher has with their students comes through homework, participation, and exams, mainly. If a student misses a homework assignment, it might not even be mentioned until it becomes a pattern. And with participation, it might not require a student to do much to grab their points. Exams do help with accountability, but they only come around so often.
With tutoring, though, you usually have a student who is one-on-one with the person instructing them and challenging them. The person putting in their time and effort to help the student improve themselves. In such a situation, students may feel more compelled to perform. It’s not just “for fear of,” but also because they feel empowered, and are holding themselves accountable, too.
The goal is to help
I state this because, when it comes to students and learning, and the many different opportunities to do so, each of those experiences was created with the goal of helping students.
So, the question isn’t so much, does tutoring help students, or does online learning help students; does homework help, etc. But rather, which learning activity helps my student the most. All of it should help, and most of it is probably better than doing nothing at all, but kids have different needs and personalities, and thus might respond more favorably to one experience over another.