Should you invest in a private tutor for your kids?
An increasing number of parents are relying more on private tutoring services but at a steep cost, with the average family spending $5,690 per year. The extra spend on tutoring is inversely proportional to school fee spend, with parents at lower-fee schools allocating a higher budget towards tutoring.
While being the most expensive education-related cost outside of tuition and boarding fees, a lot of parents wonder whether this expense is really worth it.
Reasons to get a private tutor
Increasing student numbers in the classroomThe rise of student populations and the shortage of teachers today create the inability for existing teachers to adequately address the needs of each student in class. This can often lead to unresolved issues about class content and an overall lack of confidence in the subject for the child.
Every child has a unique way of learningThe one-on-one nature of private tutoring means that the tutor has greater scope to shape their teaching methods on how the child best learns. This is especially advantageous for students with learning disabilities who may not thrive in the classroom under conventional teaching methods.
To gain an academic edgeEspecially in high school years where students face rigorous rank-based tests such as the HSC, students want a private tutor outside of school hours to get ahead of other students. Students can learn content that is not yet being taught in class or do practice exam questions that can be marked by the tutor.
Keeping up with the cohortEspecially in selective schools, private tutoring has become the norm among kids to stay on top of school work that can usually get pretty demanding. Parents may look into a private tutor as they don’t want their own children to miss out or fall behind the pack .
What are the different forms of private tutoring?
With the demand for private tutoring rising significantly over the years, different options have arisen to facilitate this individualised learning approach.
Tutoring centres or colleges
Tutors have now become more easily accessible via tutoring centres or coaching colleges where one centre can have a plethora of tutors for a wide range of subjects that a student can choose from.
As a side job, university students often become private tutors for younger kids on the subjects they took when they were in high school. Parents can ask their friends with older kids to tutor their children and pass on tips from their first-hand experience.
This is targeted more towards younger children where students are tutored mainly in maths and English outside of school. Students are required to go into a Kumon centre at least twice a week and are given worksheets to do at home themselves to foster independent learning at a young age.
In order to overcome location and time restrictions, tutoring via videoconferencing has become more popular. Essentially, students can now outsource a private tutor.
The benefits of a private tutor
Evidently, the tutor provides undivided attention to the student during the tutoring session. This is something the classroom in an independent or public school cannot offer.
Your child has the opportunity to learn at their own pace. If they are finding the content at school too easy, they can advance in their studies and learn more challenging content. Or if they are falling behind, a tutor can be used to catch up with the other kids in class.
A tutor is an additional resource for children that they can turn to outside of the classroom when a teacher is not readily available or when parents don’t have the time or simply don’t know how to help with a certain subject.
The cons of a private tutor
Private tutoring does not necessarily equate to a higher quality learning experience, despite the one-on-one advantage. This is mainly because there is less accountability in the tutoring industry as virtually anyone can be a tutor. Unlike a teacher, a university student may not have any professional training in teaching, properly engaging a child or reinforcing content. A poor teaching approach can further deteriorate a child’s confidence in their learning.
Private tutors are also not the most accessible resource from an affordability perspective. It can cost between $50 to $65, or even more, for only an hour-long session. This can create a larger divide between wealthy and less privileged students at schools on a performance basis if the latter are unable to access high quality tutors.
So, when deciding whether to put in those extra dollars towards private tutoring, it’s important to weigh the pros against some of the potential disadvantages. Even if a private tutor does seem like a great idea, parents need to consider whether it is a necessary expense in the first place if the child is already thriving in a classroom environment.