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How Tutoring Helps: Group Setting vs. Private Setting

Tutoring is a centuries old practice. Why has private and group tutoring remained part of schooling systems for so long? The benefits tutoring offers are plentiful, and there's value in tutoring for everybody—students thriving and struggling alike.

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Tutoring is an age-old practice, and for good reason. For centuries, avid scholars and challenged learners alike have sought out help in their math, language, and science studies. Who amongst us hasn’t needed a hand in class before? Or at least wanted the affirmation and support of a set of well-trained eyes to work alongside?

Tutoring is as prevalent today as ever, and some of the basic structures (e.g. group, one-on-one) and motivation for seeking a tutor whether it be struggling in class or maintaining already-strong skills remain the same. So, how exactly does tutoring work? One can assume it works, due to its long-standing practice, but what are the benefits of tutoring, and where do they come from? 

Let’s begin with what’s generally true about tutoring, independent of structure

1) Improving student work habits

By virtue of tutoring, students recognize the importance of schoolwork done outside the classroom. More broadly, these students also gain experience planning projects and allocating their homework time. 

2) Increased exposure to academic work

Tutoring offers students the opportunity to take another crack at problems that gave them grief on last week’s quiz, or last night’s homework. Although cliché, students truly learn from mistakes, so increased attention and time put towards troublesome schoolwork is paramount in deepening understanding.

3) Distractions eliminated

When attending tutoring services, students are far less likely to lose focus. Tutoring carves out a fixed set of time for students to focus exclusively on schoolwork. This commitment is bolstered by the designation of a location (e.g. Zoom, the library, etc.), a regular meeting time, and a tutor, who will drive conversation and brainpower towards scholastic work.

4) Learning management practice

As competency grows, confidence in academic performance increases. This is often seen in a positive shift in attitude toward the content area and school in general. 

Group Tutoring Specific Benefits

1) Students stay engaged

Amongst their peers, students are more likely to remain engaged in their studies. Small group tutoring provides students with somewhere between two and five comrades to learn alongside. Surrounded by other students, the experience of feeling confused with certain classwork is demystified. Students are also likely to learn from one another, whether it be from their peer’s questions or ideas. Notably, social aspects of learning greatly affect student’s motivation, and group tutoring leverages this fact to its advantage.

2) Students stick with it

Group tutoring is inherently social to some degree. No different than bringing a friend to the gym with you, a student having a buddy to sweat it out with increases their ability to persevere. Schoolwork can be mentally and emotionally demanding and sharing in the experience deepens students’ understanding of the learning process. Moreover, if students forge connections to other tutees, or enjoy the atmosphere of group tutoring, they’re likely to be more excited about attending.

Private Tutoring Specific Benefits

1) Private tutoring can boost self confidence 

Research studies on the efficacy of private tutoring showed profound developments in tutees. Students who regularly attended private tutoring had lower dropout rates and absentee rates, while also seeing an uptick in student’s self-concept scores. Even more surprisingly, students who had private tutors had fewer disciplinary incidents than those who didn’t. Upon completion of the tutorship program, students reported greater self-confidence and motivation to read.

2) Frequent private tutoring sessions result in better gains  

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the more frequent the private tutoring sessions, the better. One of the principal advantages of private tutoring to group tutoring is the increased attention and assistance individual students can receive. Consequently, the more frequently private tutoring occurs, the more individualized help a student can receive, and the benefits of tutoring are furthered.

Without a doubt, tutoring sees results. Of course, there are other facets of tutoring services that can greatly impact its efficacy, and ought to be considered when seeking out the program for you. For instance, programs that coordinate with a student’s school curriculum can give students a serious leg up in class. Student’s work is more likely to be taught and evaluated with curriculum and testing standards in mind. Moreover, tutors who continuously develop the structure and aims of their programs are likely to be of more assistance to students. These tutors can meet your student where they’re at, and more personally tailor a route to their academic goals.

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