Tutoring Not Working For Some Students

in Education6 months ago

Hi there. In this education post, I would like to highlight how tutoring may not work for some students. It does sound controversial as you may wonder how does tutoring not lead to better results? I cover some factors that are involved when it comes to tutoring, students and student success.

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  • A Past Classmate Did Bad In Chemistry Even Though He Had A Tutor
  • Timeframe Considerations
  • It Is Not All Just On The Tutor(s)
  • Sometimes The Student Is The Problem Unfortunately
  • Hard Course / Curriculums


A Past Classmate Did Bad In Chemistry Even Though He Had A Tutor

The motivation behind this post was based on this story I heard from a friend at the time. This classmate had been in a few of my classes. He was a hockey player type guy back in high school. A friend had told me that he apparently failed a chemistry test even though he had a tutor. At the time, I was scratching my head and wondered how you could do bad with a tutor. Tutors do magical work in helping students?? Now that I am older and have worked with a variety of students at university and in the private sector, I can see how students can still do bad even with a tutor. There are many factors in play.

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Timeframe Considerations

From the classmate story, there was missing information. There was no information on when this classmate had this chemistry tutor and for how long. If the tutor was hired just for one hour before the day of a test, then that puts pressure on the tutor. There is also the case where the student could be very behind and the tutor is hired for reviewing concepts before a test. One hour is not a lot of time to review material for a student that is behind. In this kind of case, the tutor would most likely not be able to help the student do well.

A tutor could be hired on a more long term basis. The tutor could help review and clarify concepts for the student. Regular sessions with a tutor helps with long-term learning and building memory. In many cases in my view, regular sessions with a tutor is much more effective versus having a tutor just for emergency test review sessions.

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It Is Not All Just On The Tutor(s)

Tutors do have a great deal of influence in the service sector, education sector and even in communities. Those who hire tutors and/or go with after school education providers do expect some sort of return on investment. Return on investment in this case as in paid money to help with higher grades. There are times when expectations of tutors can be a too high or even unrealistic.

As mentioned in an earlier part of this post, there are students who are really behind who request last minute tutoring sessions. As an example, a student who usually gets 65% on tests (C grade) is not likely to score 80% or above if the student is behind and expects the tutor to do all the work in an emergency tutoring session.

Even if a tutoring session(s) went well, it is still the student to write the test. A test score is not entirely dependent on the tutor. (Unless the tutor was not very helpful)

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Sometimes The Student Is The Problem Unfortunately

There are times when the student is the problem. The student could be distracted, lazy, defiant, tired or put in little effort in a tutoring session or at the after school learning program. My theory is that even the best teachers/tutor/educators are not really able to help those who are not willing to learn.

Some students may have a learning disability or are experiencing some sort of anxiety when it comes to learning or a specific subject. The learning rate would not be as fast compared to the average student. Tutors and educators dealing with these type of students must exercise more patience and care than normal. I would say to let these students go at their own pace even if they are behind compared to most of their classmates.

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Hard Courses / Curriculums

Regardless of the student's level, course material could be really difficult and maybe even unfair. Some teachers throw in certain topics that are way beyond the level of the students. As an example, an out of touch teacher could include a math topic such as solving linear equations from algebra for a grade 5 class when the whole class does not even know algebra basics. A teacher in this example could be going against a recommended math teaching plan. The students suffer unfortunately regardless of their skill level unless they happen to know algebra.

Some courses are really demanding and technical in nature. It may not be possible for a tutor(s) to help a student to get to a good level for a course. If a student is a difficult student then it is even tougher for a tutor to help a student with a demanding course. When a student fails a difficult course, the tutor could be blamed for the result. Shift blaming is a possibility and a real risk a tutor faces when taking on students who could be difficult or who are taking difficult subjects.

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Thank you for reading.