The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all think differently about schools, learning and our children’s future. Traditionally the ‘Private Tutor’ had been used to supplement mainstream learning, fill gaps and help with specific difficulties. Now we are seeing a need for high quality and experienced tutors to work with families and provide a more comprehensive and bespoke service.
Tutors need to be able to relate directly to students, either at a one to one level or in small groups. This means developing the essential skills of empathy, patience and being a careful listener. A sound and confident subject knowledge must be complemented by a good sense of humour and the ability to express information in a variety of ways. One on one tutoring sessions can develop at pace, with the needs of the individual often changing and developing the direction of the session.
With safety and the need to work from home now being more important than ever, tutors are finding themselves switching to the online approach, rather than face to face lessons. This can be a rewarding and effective learning medium. Tutors need to adapt their style so that quality written material can be exchanged in real time, questions can be posed and answered, and the needs of the leaner are constantly being assessed. This all needs to be achieved whilst maintaining good rapport, obvious passion for the subject and ensuring relevant contexts and examples are being used.
Tutors will have an increasingly important role in working with whole families. Many students have suffered from the lack of continuity of regular classes and miss working with their friends. Many subjects cry out for collaborative approaches and discussion. The idea of ‘Tutoring Pods’ may allow small groups of students to come together and share their learning environment. With the development of online sharing resources, these pods can easily develop online, where face to face sessions are not possible.
Tutors need to use their experience, trust and expertise to develop new ways of delivering the curriculum. In the coming year, I see the need for whole courses to be taught in shorter periods of time. Online learning may have to not only plug gaps, but address whole sections of courses in different orders, for different students. The world of tutoring will rely on adapting traditional approaches and developing new courses and ways of working.
So .. a good tutor in the second half of 2020 will need to diversify. No longer just focussing on selected topics but developing whole new programmes that suit a much wider audience. Their traditional skills will still be sought, but their experience and flexibility will be needed now more than ever before.
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