With the recent announcement of Covid-19 easing in the UK and the approach of the end of another school year, now feels like a good moment to reflect on what the past 16 months have taught us about one-to-one tuition and its place in a child’s education. For both students and the tutors themselves, tutorials have offered a sanctuary from instability elsewhere and have proved resilient to the tumults of 2020 and 2021.
Consistency amidst uncertainty
Whilst many other aspects of a child’s education - exam schedules and school openings, to name but two - have proved very unstable over the past year, it has been comparatively easier to maintain regular one-to-one tuition over the same period (even if online). This consistency has been invaluable for students, giving them an anchor to chuck into the big, confusing sea of Covid-19 life. A weekly slot with a tutor, even if online, is something that gives structure and purpose to independent learning.
We speak from experience when we say that tutors have valued this consistency, too, and the rhythm of tutorials has been a real saving grace of the last few years.
Tutors can adapt flexibly to change
Tutors have been able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. As everything is geared to the needs of specific students, all the work and preparation can be adjusted to their needs and targets as things change. This, in turn, helps students themselves feel in control and on top of things, even as many aspects are in flux.
A level tutors and GCSE tutors, for example, were able to rapidly shift gears as the government cancelled exams and placed greater emphasis on coursework and teacher assessments. More broadly, one-to-one lessons were comparatively easy to switch online.
This (seemingly contradictory) balance of consistency and flexibility has been so beneficial for tutors and students alike.
One-to-one makes the most of online platforms
As everyone shifted online, canny tutors will have quickly noticed that the resources and platforms available for online learning are better than ever. Indeed, many tutors would have already done pockets of online work (in contrast to teachers) and were able to transition straight across with in-person students. One-to-one tutorials can be every bit as inspiring as in-person lessons and for many students there might not be any need to revert to in person, even as things open up.
Online resources and software have proved highly conducive to learning. File sharing sites such as Google Drive have enabled students and tutors to share resources and compile notes together; online whiteboards like Bitpaper have enabled tutors and students to work together on the same problems; and Zoom allows tutors to share their screen with students. All these tools (and more besides), when used in the right context, have made online teaching dynamic and engaging. A level online tuition and GCSE online tuition have proven especially effective; not only are older students technologically literate and comfortable on digital platforms, but using shared folders and being able to create new revision materials on the fly is hugely beneficial.
Online tuition - when done right - isn’t just about recreating a pale imitation of the in-person experience. It can offer a different and multi-faceted experience with intrinsic worth on its own terms.
Getting bespoke help
Every student has faced unique challenges in the last year and every student who has sought out tuition will have done so with their own unique goals. One-to-one tuition remains one of the best ways to get an educational experience which is targeted specifically at the individual requirements of each student. In a time when online school lessons placed students a step away from their teachers and made direct engagement more difficult in a virtual classroom, lessons with tutors were still responsive and specific.
Again, private A level and private GCSE tutors are a good example of this. Each school dealt with the challenges of cancelled exams in 2020 and 2021 differently, and each had a different approach to online lessons, meaning that each student’s academic situation was singular. Tutors could step into any situation and adjust quickly and confidently.
The emotional and psychological benefits
While the above holds true for the practical and educational side of things, the emotional and psychological benefits of one-to-one tuition should not go unacknowledged. With so much meaningful contact denied and so many interactions regulated, one-to-one lessons have often been a refuge where a student and tutor can interact and work together closely, building a lasting and productive relationship.
We have written previously about the importance of developing emotional intelligence in students alongside cultivating academic growth, and this last year has proven the role that tutoring can play as part of that process, with tutorials creating a reliable and inspiring space for students to communicate and feel valued.
Tutors have felt this positively too and the last year has proven how inspiring and resilient our students are. This reciprocal process is perhaps the core reason why one-to-one tuition has proven itself as one of the most enlivening, stimulating, and enduring ways of teaching.
If you would like to engage one of our tutors to work with you or your child on any subject, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.