The convenience of enlisting the help of an online tutor has become the driving force behind the innovative concept of online learning. Parents are now beginning to consider alternate routes of after school learning, for their children, and it seems the traditional face-to-face method is slowly losing its favor. The question is, can online tutoring be beneficial and how does one go about selecting the right online tutor for your child?
The advantages linked to online learning increases frequently, as new equipment, programs and methods are introduced. Computer-based learning has become more prevalent, since children are more alert and comfortable behind a computer screen, compared to sitting in yet another classroom. Online sessions are often recorded, which helps the child to revisit lessons in order to refresh their memories. Furthermore, online videos offer a unique insight and visual demonstrations that may help the child to understand the school work better than before.
Online tutoring offers the added bonus of flexible location, since the child is not limited to one location in order to log in to a session. This allows the student to learn in the comfort of their own space and at their own time. It also opens up a window to a great choice of tutors that may not be available in your geographical location. If you are particularly selective about who is teaching your child, you are able to choose from a larger pool of tutors, simply by going online.
The effectiveness of online tutoring is largely based on the fact that the student is given what he needs, when he needs it. Most online teachers offer easy access (instant messaging, Skype etc) for cases where questions arise – whether it be 07:30pm or 07:30am, the student is able to reach out for support if needed. Online tutors are able to personalize their approach with each child, which means students learn a lot more in a shorter period of time.
Selecting an online tutor
Your child’s personality and level of commitment should play a big role in the type of online tutor you select. Things like your child’s interest in the specific subject, confidence level and academic strengths and weakness play a big role in the success of the relationship. Here are a few things to consider:
Always make use of a reputable online tutoring service or a personal recommendation, when choosing who your child interacts with on the internet. Online tutors usually go through a vetting process, with the service provider, so you are guaranteed a level of security and professionalism when dealing with them. Insist that tutoring sessions are recorded and are made available to both you and the student. Remind your child that contact details and locations are meant to be kept private and should not be made visible to the tutor.
Avoid the time crunch
Sign up as soon as possible, giving your child enough time before the next big exam to gain confidence with the new tutor. If you’re unsure how long the student may need with an online tutor, you could show recent school work to the tutor, who could then set specific goals with you.
Introduce your child to the online tutor, and allow them a brief time to chat, in order to see if the relationship will be beneficial. Some tutors offer pilot lessons, which would help you to gauge the dynamic between the child and the teacher. You are then able to determine if the tutor is approachable and if they are able to renew and maintain the child’s interest in the subject at hand. Once the preliminary session is over, ask your child to share their honest opinion about the session and their feelings towards that particular tutor. Remember that lessons may not seem interesting or fun if the child feels frightened or pressured to perform.
Is the tutor a teacher
You should ask your tutor to explain their method of teaching to you. In fact, insist on seeing the teacher’s academic credentials, referrals and eventually their syllabus outline for the tutoring program. Are they genuinely interested in the subject at hand? And more importantly, do they have a passion for teaching? Not all who are experts are meant to be teachers. Some experts may find it challenging to have to explain tough concepts to a young child without seeming unapproachable or threatening. The preliminary lesson will help to determine if the teacher is capable of breaking down complicated theory and concepts in a way that is easy for your child to understand.
Setting long term and short term goals together, with the tutor and your child, at the start of the program would be a clever way to help monitor your child’s progress. As tutoring continues, ask for regular updates on your child’s learning. Most tutors would agree to having quick chats at the end of each lesson to fill parents in on which areas of the school work the child can practice by themselves. If this is not possible, you could suggest a debriefing email, every few weeks, to help keep you in the loop and keep you up to date on your child’s development. Keep an eye on how your child is coping with the extra workload. Remember that even though it is online, tutor classes demand just as much concentration and focus as classroom learning does. Make sure to schedule ample time for your child to relax and unwind.
Your role, as a parent, in your child’s school career is to help make learning fun and enjoyable. Start productive and interesting conversations around their school work. Instead of simply leaving the school component of their lives up to their classroom and online teachers to take care of, show your interest by engaging in conversations and by asking questions that would stimulate learning. Empower your child by increasing their confidence at home. Proper planning, a step by step approach and an atmosphere that is conducive to calm learning and strategic thinking will help with that.