How to make the most of your tutor
Definition and selection of good, effective tutors
Tutoring is probably one of the oldest teaching methods, because already in ancient Greece, in the times of Plato and Socrates, the children of the rich were taught individually or in small groups by masters or tutors.
In the Middle Ages, the children of nobles and the rich continued to be taught by them. As more formalized educational institutions became available, teachers began to teach, but tutors continued to play an important role in the learning process.
As has been pointed out, unfortunately, in the past only the wealthy students had tutors. Today, tutoring programs are widely available and affordable for students through their schools, church and community agencies, and private tutoring services. At Good Tutors Finder, students of all grades receive tutoring to help them master English, Mathematics, Science, Physics, German, French and other subjects. The best part is that the service is available either online or at the student’s homes, both in Germany and Austria, in cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and many more.
Beyond the definition in the dictionary
The dictionary defines a tutor as a person who provides tutoring individually or in a small group. We at Good Tutors Finder are not entirely satisfied with this definition and would like to add that the purpose of the tutorial is to help students to help themselves and to support or accompany them to the point where they become independent learners and therefore no longer need a tutor.
Tutoring has advantages for both the tutor and the tutee (and yes, “tutee” is a real word), because if tutoring is done “properly”, the student will benefit enormously from the tutoring. Tutoring provides a systematic, structured learning experience in a personalized way. It also improves the student’s self-esteem, attitude towards the subject matter, academic performance and personal development. Furthermore, tutoring is a self-determined and self-directed learning process.
Choosing a tutor
The choice of a tutor for your child must be made very carefully. We assume that the tutor is intelligent and knowledgeable. However, intelligence and knowledge alone are no indication of the tutor’s success with your child.
What is also important are the personality traits of the tutor, that there is a sympathy between the tutor and the tutor and professional training in tutoring practice so that he or she knows how to tutor effectively.
The tutor should have the desire to help and share his or her knowledge with others. When you observe how the tutor helps your child, observe if he or she is able to judge what needs to be done and if he or she acts accordingly later on. Pay attention to empathy, the ability to feel what your child feels. Is your child’s tutor gentle and patient? In addition, the tutor should believe that things can be changed through action and that he can help your child. Book a call here with one of our Educational Advisor.
Tutors are not "homework machines"
We have learned from students with tutoring experience that the tutors’ job was mainly to help them with homework and to teach material that the tutor himself did not understand. So the tutor would solve a problem the students faced and instead of applying critical thinking for themselves, they just started to imitate the tutor. The tutor is not a teacher, because the teacher gives lectures for a class of up to 30 children and teenagers and the tutor works with small groups or individuals to enhance the teachers work.
In short, we have learned from students that many, indeed too many parents and students equate a tutor with “a homework machine”. If the tutor does the students’ homework, then the grades given for that work are actually for the tutor, which is not the point. However, parents only see how the student’s grades improve with this homework and think that the tutor is doing a good job. In the exams where the tutor cannot do the work, there is often a rude awakening. That does not have to be.
What is a good, effective tutor?
At Good Tutors Finder the main goal is to help the tutee become a lifelong independent learner. Mere imitation and memorization of the steps shown by a tutor will not help a student become an independent learner or learn critical thinking skills.
For example, the core of a good math tutorial is to ask Socratic questions. In short, it works by answering the student’s question with the tutor’s question, the student answers the tutor’s question and the tutor asks another question. Then this process continues until the student finds the solution to the problem himself or herself. So the tutor does not give the solution but directs the student to focus his attention on other things than before and thus helps him to find the solution by himself.
If a tutor asks a question, for example, “What is the lowest common denominator”, and the student does not remember the definition, most tutors will give the definition to the student, they will even ask the student to write it down. What does the student learn from this?
The student learns that it’s okay not to know the basics and that someone will teach them to him just like that, without any effort on his part. Unfortunately, this only works at school, because later on at work or at university, no one will take into account that they don’t know the basics.
A good tutor will ask the student to find the definition in the textbook, read it a few times, and then the tutor will check the understanding by asking the student to repeat the definition in his own words or use the new concept in a math problem.
"process-oriented" not "response-oriented"
During the Socratic questioning, the student learns the reasons for this step-by-step process, which ensures that the procedure is not forgotten. The tutor must be “procedure-oriented” not “answer-oriented”. The protégé learns by observing that the tutor is patient and accepts the protégé’s pace of learning. The student also learns that dividing the problem into small, feasible, simple tasks is the way to “tackle” a problem. The tutor must understand that he or she must start from the student’s level of understanding. Very often the tutee needs to understand the basic concepts before moving on, so the tutor will focus on that. This often frustrates the student, as many students would prefer the tutor to work with them on homework problems so that they can finish faster and “be done with it”.
During the Socratic method, a tutor will make his tutee aware that challenges in learning and understanding often arise from not being able to relate the immediate subject matter to prior knowledge. In the Socratic method, the student learns that information must be organized into meaningful patterns and each tutorial must show that learning is a process of remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, summarizing and evaluating.
A good tutor will not ask "yes" or "no" questions, only open-ended ones.
The reality is that many students want a tutor because it is “cool” to have someone to tell you how to solve a problem when you don’t know how to solve it yourself. But if a tutor works as a “homework machine” for your child, it would probably be better if your child did not have a tutor at all, because bad tutoring can leave your child with lifelong problems.
It can lead to a dependency situation in which the student loses all trust in their own abilities and thinks they can only do homework and study for exams with a tutor. This is extremely critical because such a situation can easily jump over to other areas of life and drastically change the student’s everyday life. This is a terrible practice, which unfortunately many students have already fallen victim to, who have to struggle with their self-esteem and self-confidence even long after graduation. Book an amazing tutor now!
Effective tutoring can be learned
Tutoring can be equated with the Socratic way of questioning, so effective tutoring must be taught and learned. There are various certification systems, for example, tutors from Good Tutors Finder all have the IB Diploma and other qualifications such as IGCSE, AP and the German “Gymnasium” curriculum, which they master in order to provide the best possible support to students at all levels.
Many students are looking for math tutoring. If they are only looking for help with their homework, they are not looking for real tutoring. Homework should only be treated as a tool used to teach deductive thinking, learning, and analytical and critical thinking.
Many people think that simply having knowledge of the subject matter makes someone a tutor. This is far from the truth. Tutoring is not easy. It requires formal training on how to do it in a way that does not simply give the student the answers, but teaches him how to learn on his own. Visit our Good Tutors Finder website and find a qualified tutor in your city or online today.