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  • Writer's pictureLilly Barkes

Tutoring - Should we sacrifice quality?

As Congress allocated over $190 billion for public and private schools in 2020 and 2021, tutoring emerged as a rapidly growing industry during and after the pandemic. To address the learning loss caused by COVID-19, many schools turned to online tutoring services as an investment. However, a recent article published by Chalkbeat sheds light on the limitations of one online tutoring provider, Paper. The article states, "Paper can be used in a high-dosage way, though its model is missing key components of that research-backed strategy, such as providing students with a consistent tutor." As the popularity of online tutoring continues to soar, it is crucial to recognize and reflect on the distinctive benefits offered by in-person tutoring.

  1. Personalized Attention and Interaction: In-person tutoring provides an unparalleled level of personalized attention and interaction. Tutors can observe and adapt to students' individual learning styles, addressing their specific needs in real-time. This direct interaction fosters a deeper connection, allowing tutors to tailor their approach and provide immediate feedback, enhancing the overall learning experience.

  2. Face-to-Face Engagement and Communication: In-person tutoring facilitates face-to-face engagement, enabling non-verbal communication cues such as body language and facial expressions. These cues are vital for tutors to gauge students' understanding and tailor explanations accordingly. Additionally, direct communication promotes active dialogue, encouraging students to ask questions and participate actively in the learning process.

  3. Building Trust and Rapport: Establishing trust and rapport between tutors and students is crucial for effective learning. In-person tutoring allows for the development of strong, personal relationships. Tutors can provide encouragement, motivation, and emotional support, which plays a significant role in boosting students' confidence and willingness to take academic risks.

  4. Hands-on Demonstrations and Manipulatives: Certain subjects, such as science and mathematics, often require hands-on demonstrations and the use of manipulatives to enhance understanding. In-person tutoring enables tutors to physically demonstrate concepts, manipulate objects, and guide students through practical applications. This tangible experience promotes a deeper comprehension of complex ideas and fosters critical thinking skills.

  5. Immediate Error Correction and Guidance: In-person tutoring allows tutors to promptly identify and correct errors, misconceptions, or gaps in understanding. They can guide students through problem-solving strategies, offering real-time guidance and clarifications. This immediate feedback loop is invaluable in reinforcing learning and ensuring that students grasp concepts accurately.

  6. Accountability and Discipline: In-person tutoring provides a structured learning environment that promotes accountability and discipline. Students benefit from a dedicated, distraction-free space where they can focus solely on their academic growth. Tutors can monitor progress, track milestones, and hold students accountable, fostering a sense of responsibility and dedication to their studies.

While online tutoring offers convenience and accessibility, in-person tutoring will always be the better option. The tangible nature of in-person sessions, along with immediate error correction and hands-on demonstrations, contribute to a more effective learning experience. Moreover, the structured environment and accountability fostered by in-person tutoring further enhance students' commitment and growth. As we embrace technological advancements, let us not overlook the enduring value of in-person tutoring in empowering students and maximizing their educational potential.

A note from our founder:

I oftentimes get asked if we will do online tutoring. As a former classroom teacher that taught virtually during the pandemic, I think absolutely not! I did not enjoy it and it was really hard for me to interact with my students from behind a computer every day.

Earlier this year I met one of my former students I taught virtually, we never actually met in person but she was online every day. Two years later I visited her school and she remembered who I was and even asked for a hug.

In the beginning, we started tutoring in person because we understood the power relationships had on learning. Online learning has its unique obstacles but it can work. I am not opposed to offering online tutoring in the future. We understand the benefits, but we cannot sacrifice quality.

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