There are several reasons why a tutor can get through to a young student when the teacher cannot. This does not undermine the classroom teacher in any way.
The responsibilities of a classroom teacher are tremendous especially with a very large class size. I know; I've been there. It seems that the more students there are in one classroom, the more difficult it becomes to provide individual attention to students.
Here are five methods I can apply as a tutor that I can't always apply when I'm in a classroom environment.
With very small classroom sizes, a teacher will be able to give more individual, one-on-one instruction to his or her pupils, especially when the teacher has access to a teaching assistant. However, as the classroom size increases, less time can be spent with each individual student. In classroom environments when the teacher is alone with a very large classroom size, individual instruction may not be available at all. With one-on-one tutoring, however, the classroom no longer exists and the student is given all the attention. When this environment is present, learning becomes a lot easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable for the student.
Students need direction from their teachers, and the younger the student, the more direction they require. As I mentioned, the higher the number of pupils in a classroom, the more difficult it is for the teacher to meet each and every one of each student's needs. In a classroom setting, the students must follow instructions that the teacher feels most comfortable implementing. Unfortunately, this usually applies to the majority of the students, and not to those who may be struggling to grasp what is being taught. Tutoring helps provide instruction geared to the student, and not geared to the majority of the students in a classroom setting.
For decades, psychologists have been experimenting with the power of reinforcement both in humans and animals. In both cases, reinforcement is the key to behavior modification. Providing a reward to perform a certain behavior from an individual has been proven to yield positive results. As adults, we lead our lives in a reward system. We do work for others to get paid. The work is the behavior and getting paid is the reward. It's no different with children. We often take children for granted. We expect them to do well in school, to do their homework, to clean up their room, and to generally behave well. But what do they get out of it? Yes, they get fed, have a roof over their heads, and receive love and kisses, but they also need rewards like a toy he's always wanted, or the movie that all his friends are raving about, or maybe a laptop of his own. The reward is only as effective as the individual perceives it to be.
How many times have we heard from students, "school is boring"? That's usually because the teacher provides an activity that is not interesting to him. With a large classroom, appealing to the interests of each and every student is nearly impossible. With some subjects, such as writing, the teacher can assign topics related to the student's interest, but with other subjects the teacher must target lessons around generic interests that may or may not interest your child. With tutoring, however, the tutor can appeal directly to the individual student's interests. For example, if the student is interested in hockey then a math lesson could involve employing math problems related to hockey statistics.
The tutor's ability to administer a teaching style directly related to the student's learning style. When the classroom teacher gives a lesson to a classroom of students, she must decide what style of teaching to employ. In a tutoring environment, the tutor can specifically find the learning style that best fits the student and use that style for teaching the subject. As a classroom teacher, I have experienced the restrictions of getting through to the individual student. If all the students in your child's class required no additional help, helping your child on a one-on-one basis may be available, but in the real-classroom, this is not the case. Sometimes the only alternative is to have your child tutored individually.
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_This article was originally published on OttawaTutors.org._