A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding High School Tutoring

JP Gulliver High School

There’s plenty of reasons you may want to give your child some help during high school. It could be about learning proper study and exam techniques or filling in some knowledge gaps. Your child may just have one specific subject they’re struggling with. Maybe they’re even excelling in one area and they’re hungry to learn more. Whatever the reason, high school tutoring is a terrific option as long as it’s done the right way.

Read on for a detailed guide on the things you need to know when considering high school tutoring for your child.

The Best Student to Tutor Ratio in High School Tutoring

There’s plenty of theories around about the best student to tutor ratio for high school tutoring. Here at Big Improvements Tutoring we have our own idea of what works best, but let’s have a look at some of the common ways tutoring could be set up.

One-on-One High School Tutoring

One-on-one tutoring can have its benefits. Particularly if children struggle in larger groups, this type of tutoring can be appealing to many parents. Your child receives all of the attention and that can be an attractive proposition. A one-on-one tutor can also offer some flexibility in terms of the curriculum, which is often difficult to get from group tutoring.

On the downside, kids can development a dependency on one tutor and their style. This can lead to disappointment when a tutor moves on or their level expertise no longer suits your child’s needs. Many tutors are skilled in certain subjects, or in teaching certain age groups. As your child progresses through school, they’re often not able to have the same tutor and dependency can make it hard to adjust to a new tutor.

Many children also feel uncomfortable with a one-on-one system. Learning is naturally a social thing, so when there’s only one other person in the room it can put pressure on children to perform. The focus of tutoring should be support, not pressure.

Group High School Tutoring

Group high school tutoring can be beneficial for children who are already very self motivated and performing well in the school environment. Unfortunately, if children have some gaps in their knowledge and really need individualised tutoring, the group environment won’t help at all.

Group high school tutoring will generally have larger groups of kids learning from generic worksheets or computer programs, with tutors unable to give the tailored support required.

In our experience, all children have different learning needs, and for all the fancy testing and reports generated through these services, the long-term benefits to a child’s learning are minimal.

What’s Best?

At Big Improvements Tutoring, we’ve found a way to combine the best components of group tutoring and one-on-one tutoring. Our tutors work with two students at a time, as children benefit greatly from working with a study buddy. Children are paired with another child who has similar gaps in knowledge and require the same kind of support. This gives kids plenty of one-on-one interaction with their tutor, but also gives them the space to work on problems independently when required.

Students also become motivated when working with a fellow student, and they can see they’re not alone in the work they’re struggling with. There’s a certain sense of achievement when a concept finally clicks and they can share this with their friend.

The 2:1 student/tutor ratio allows the perfect amount of personal attention, without losing the social aspect of learning.

Build Confidence, Results Will Follow

One of the most important parts of learning is confidence. We don’t mean a child needs to feel like they know every answer already – if they did, you wouldn’t be considering tutoring. The confidence we’re talking about is the kind that allows a child to make mistakes without fear of embarrassment.

We all learn from mistakes. They’re an essential part of getting better at anything in life, so it should be no different in high school tutoring. Creating the right type of learning environment is essential for tutoring to be productive. Particularly with high school students, if they’ve been struggling for a few years their confidence to give things a go may already be diminished. Consequently, learning becomes difficult because they’re afraid to try.

Good high school tutoring is about re-building that confidence. Filling gaps in a child’s knowledge can go a long way to regaining confidence, but the learning environment plays a big role too. Tutoring should teach children that mistakes are a learning opportunity, and build upwards from there. When children feel safe to give things a go, they learn more and results will flow from more practice.

Individualised High School Tutoring

Children are no different than adults in the sense that they all have different learning styles. Good high school tutoring should be able to cater for each child’s learning needs. Some are very hands-on, some like to have all the theory behind a problem before tackling it. Others simply learn by getting stuck into the work and learning from mistakes. It’s important to find a tutor who can work to identify your child’s desired learning style and harness it for best results.

In addition to learning styles, high school tutors need to tailor their sessions to the areas children are struggling. High school tutoring should work to fill in some of the fundamental knowledge gaps students may have. These small gaps in knowledge could be the root cause of a child’s struggles in school and they need to be identified and worked on.

Handing the same worksheets out to a group of kids with completely different needs isn’t going to achieve results. Working out what’s missing can help restore a child’s confidence, motivate them to apply themselves, and give them results to celebrate. When looking for a high school tutor, make sure they are willing to work directly with your child’s needs.

Building the Right Habits For Success

High school tutoring should never be about studying answers. Learning the right study habits and recapturing a passion for learning should always be the goal. When students reach high school, you may find they aren’t necessarily struggling with the particular concepts they’re learning. In this case, developing good learning habits is vital to achieving long term results.

Whether it be learning techniques for study, exam preparation, or ways to cope with the pressure of exam time, a tutor can help students feel confident about their high school experience. There should also be a strong emphasis on how to plan and prepare for essays or assignments. A student may be comfortable with the subject matter but not know how to put their knowledge into the correct format.

Quality high school tutoring should also teach fundamental skills that can benefit a student not just in school, but in further education and their careers. The routine of study, showing them that hard work pays off, and building a real passion for learning can be priceless as they move through their life.

Matching High School Tutoring with Current School Work

Where tutoring in primary school may focus more on broad skills, high school tutoring needs to be more specifically linked to a child’s current needs. With a wider range of subjects and concepts to understand in high school, there is more likelihood of knowledge gaps developing.

This is where high school tutoring can be of tremendous value to a student. By encouraging a child to bring their current school work to tutoring, they can be encouraged to think about their work and talk it through with someone other than their teacher or peers.

It’s important to understand that the areas your child may need to work on won’t necessarily align with the worksheets or generic curriculum found in group tutoring programs. By working closely with a tutor, students can take responsibility for their own learning, which is important for their overall development.

Better People Skills, Better Learning

Tutors with exceptional people skills should be high on your list when considering high school tutoring for your child. A key aspect of tutoring is being able to deliver information in a way that clicks with a student. Sometimes it isn’t the teacher with a lengthy list of qualifications and years of experience who will be the best match for your child. This is why it’s important to meet with tutors before making a decision.

Tutors who can relate to students on a personal level will generally have more success than those who aren’t able to build rapport. Remember, tutoring should create a safe and comfortable learning environment and so much of that comes down to the individual tutor. When a student feels relaxed and enjoys their tutoring sessions, their motivation improves, their confidence increases, and results will follow.

Tutors should also be able to develop that same level of rapport with you as parents. While it’s essential for your child to be engaged in the tutoring process, so too should the parents. When the student, tutor and parents are all on the same page, tutoring produces better results. So be sure to choose your child’s tutor on a personal as well as professional level.

Look for Structure in High School Tutoring

Structure in high school tutoring is incredibly important to maintain a continuity of learning. High school can be an extremely busy time for students as the extra-curricular activities become more time consuming. It may be sporting commitments or part-time work, or simply more responsibilities around the home.

Working with your child and their tutor to ensure sessions are booked at a regular time is the best way to achieve structure. Try to find a date and time that works for everyone. Days with no sporting commitments, no part-time work shifts and no extra responsibilities. If transport is an issue, try to arrange your child’s sessions on a day and time where you can help them get there.

Remember, you’ve made the decision to give your child a helping hand through school. That means it’s important to both you and the child, so make sure you can find a tutoring service with the flexibility to lock in a regular time that suits everyone. We all get busy, but children benefit from structure and routine. Locking high school tutoring into that routine will bring the best results.

High school tutoring, when done correctly, can provide huge benefits for your child as they head towards college and university. Now you know what to look for, and what to stay away from. The most important thing to remember is to find the right fit for your child.

At Big Improvements Tutoring we provide a truly individually tailored approach to tutoring, designed to give your child the skills to succeed. If you think your child would benefit from positive, individualised high school tutoring, click below to book a free session today!