Private tuition: Learning how to learn

British Tutors' co-founder, Eleanor Ford, discusses the wide-reaching benefits of private tuition.

1.What are the benefits of private tuition?

One-on-one tuition, especially that which takes place in a student’s home, changes the dynamic of learning. It takes learning away from being top-down classroom instruction and instead creates a collaborative environment between student and teacher that is entirely focused on the individual. Tutors are able to deep-dive into what makes their student tick, their ways of learning, interests and any gaps in their understanding. They can then use this to create a bespoke curriculum of lessons that fills in any holes, creates enthusiasm for the subject, inspires their tutee to see the endless possibilities in learning and encourages discursive, broad-thinking that steps beyond the confines of a strict syllabus.

2. How do your tutors tailor lessons?

With one-on-one tuition, assessment is an ongoing practice that takes place in every lesson. The first lesson will be planned in order to enable an initial assessment. This will involve looking at a broad range of activities and skills to see where the student is stronger and which areas might need further development. From this point, an overall curriculum plan will be made, but this is in no way prescriptive. During every session and every conversation, the tutor will be assessing the student to see what needs further focus and development. These assessments not only take into consideration academic performance but will be looking at the tutee’s mindset, mood and general wellbeing to create lessons that are flexible and ensure that they get the best out of every student at every lesson.

3. What are some of the key elements of bespoke tuition that fast tracks a student’s growth?

Filling gaps: Sometimes school lessons will move at a pace that is faster than the student. Foundation learning skills can be missed or not fully understood and this can create a rocky platform to build ongoing study. A huge benefit of bespoke tuition is that it can isolate these problems, which may have even occurred years before, and correct them.

Fostering enthusiasm: We often work with students who feel lackluster about a subject and don’t perform well in these classes. One-on-one tuition tailors a subject to a student’s interests and re-frames it. It is this change of attitude that makes the biggest difference to the tutee’s success.

Broadness of approach: Too often we see students who are encouraged to treat a subject as made up of divided parts e.g., English not as a whole but as reading, comprehension, creative writing, grammar. Seeing connections between disciplines and even between subjects is key to a broad understanding of learning and to students recognising that they can transfer skills from a stronger subject area to help them with a weaker one.

4. Tell us more about the mentorship aspect of British Tutors’ services.

British Tutors is fundamentally about the individual academic relationships between tutor and tutee. One of our roles as tutors is establishing a consistent and non-judgmental rapport with our students so we can help guide them through their wider academic development. We ensure that they have enough variety in their learning and activities with opportunity for active as well as passive learning. Students thrive from having someone to talk to and bounce ideas off. Another key role of ours is identifying learning styles and giving our students the tools and awareness so they can play an active role in their own outcomes.

5. Holistically, what do your students gain from tutoring?

- Deeper understanding of topics of work, filling in any ‘blanks’ and tailored support.

- Developed study skills including attitude, enthusiasm, approach to work, pace, structure, responsibility and playing to strengths.

- Improved communication skills including presenting, persuading and debating.

- Inspired minds as we encourage curiosity, creativity, analysis and reasoning. We motivate students to think critically and express their ideas.

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Eleanor Ford

Eleanor Ford co-founded British Tutors in 2008 with the mission of creating independent critical thinkers who are able to see the connections between subjects, disciplines, cultures and ways of thinking rather than the divisions.

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