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School is an inevitable part of every child’s life. For some the opportunity to learn is a positive experience that challenges them to become independent learners. For others it is a series of unapproachable experiences that leaves them confused and disappointed with their ability to engage and understand.

Not everyone suits the dynamic of school and the classroom environment. Some students struggle to perform to their best abilities in the classroom for a number of reasons such as:

  • Mixed sex classrooms
  • Varied abilities
  • Teacher-student rapport
  • Teacher-centred environment
  • Didactic learning approaches

Tutoring can be an important intervention for some students to reach their full potential. However, not all tutors are created equal and it is important that a student looks for a tutor that has the 4 essential skills every good tutor needs.

1. Patience is a virtue

Every teacher, but especially tutors need patience. All students learn at different rates and this is dependent on their background knowledge as well as their individual approach to learning. Tutors must be patient with their students to ensure that every aspect of each topic is communicated, engaged with and understood fully before moving on to the next stage. Patience is an aspect of personality but it is also an essential skill of a successful tutor.

2. Assess, Analyse, Appraise

Because not every student learns the same way or comes from the same background of experience and understanding it is vital that a tutor establishes their student’s position before commencing with any tutoring. Whether they administer examination, discussion or assessment a tutor should gather adequate information to verify their student’s needs to create an individual approach for their learning.

3. Differentiation as standard

Edward De Bono and his six thinking hats gave teachers some of the most valuable and tangible evidence to support the notion that all students learn differently. A teacher isn’t always able to support and nurture the varied ways students learn when there are 25 children to contend with in the average classroom. A good tutor is able to use their initial assessments to create individual learning programs for their students that incorporate their optimal learning habits and skills. By nurturing their natural strengths good tutors can elicit more learning and development than a classroom teacher.

4. A Fresh Perspective

The issue for some students is that the average curriculum isn’t that exciting. It is usually embedded in traditional perspectives and incorporates older text books and resources that leaves little inspiration for the modern and driving interests of young generations. Tutors have more flexibility with their teaching resources and good tutors will use everything and anything at their disposal to translate concepts into tangible and fresh translations to engage and enthuse their students.

A student is more likely to learn with someone they respect and admire. Luckily for tutors, compared with classroom teachers, they have more freedom to entice and excite their students. Those who use that liberty will more than likely experience the greatest improvements in their students.