Tutor hunt: Some guidelines

PREVIOUSLY, we looked at what we should try as a parent before looking to go the tuition route. However, should that fail to put your child on track in his academic performance, then consider engaging a tutor.

rightutorBefore we proceed on the tutor hunt, a word of advice - do note that most children generally do not really need a tutor especially when they are in the lower primary levels and have demonstrated consistency in their work. Consider tuition only if there is absolutely no opportunity for parents or a guardian to help out and the child is indeed struggling with his schoolwork.

Check out the following pointers:

Discuss with your child

Tell him about your concerns and observation of his academic performance. Explain the purpose of engaging a tutor and the goals to be achieved via this arrangement. Assure him that such a decision does not imply he is incapable or less intelligent, and that once he is able to study without such aid, the option to do without a tutor remains open.

Ask for referrals of good tutors

Get these from teachers and friends who have had the experience with tutoring services. Word-of-mouth recommendation surpasses the trial-and-error approach normally undertaken through advertisements.

Request the tutor's credentials

Look at his track record to make sure he indeed has the experience to offer the service professionally - be it by subject, level and the technique involved to address your child's needs. Part-time tutors may not be fully aware of the changing requirements of schools/Ministry of Education, and may not possess the know-how to tutor as effectively.

Understand the tutor's coaching style

This is to ensure it is suitable for your child. Spend some time speaking to the tutor and ask about his students, their personalities and learning abilities. Get him to share some of his challenges and approaches to meet the needs of difficult learners. Do not underestimate the importance of tutor-student chemistry for successful coaching.

Be familiar with the resources used

Get to know the materials that he uses for the lessons with your child. If he is heavily dependent on assessment books, ask for his rationale for the selection of books he uses. You need to understand what the tutor can offer beyond a mere reliance on assessment books.

Monitor and review your child's progress

Do this every term (or quarterly) with the tutor. Do not assume a passive role once you engage a tutor. Remain a participative parent, set clear goals with the tutor and ask about your child's progress frequently. Your active engagement will keep the tutor on the alert.

Get feedback from your child

Don't ask your child the direct question, "how is your tutor?" or "what did you learn?" Just chat with him casually and infer from the conversation his feelings about the tutor and his progress. Remember it is important that your child enjoys the learning process.


Tutor hunt: Explore what you can do first as a parent