Why do students need tutoring?

According to the research, one in seven school children will be supported by a tutor at some stage in their education. This means it’s likely you probably know several parents whose children use or have used a tutor.

But why do students need tutoring in the first place? How can you identify students who need help? And when is the best time to get tutoring for your child?

Why do students need tutoring?

There are many reasons why parents decide to get their children a tutor. Surprisingly, it's not always because their children are struggling at school – although this is one of the main reasons.

In the early years of school

From the moment they’re born, children are naturally inquisitive. They want to explore the world, discover new things and gain new skills.

But while they have a natural thirst for learning, not all children have the same aptitude for it. In addition, this thirst can dwindle once they start school as they’re placed into a structured classroom setting.

For some children, picking up the basics can take time. Yes, some catch on to reading, writing and the basics of maths without much help. But for many, getting their head around many of the unfamiliar concepts takes time.

At different stages in the school journey

Others may be fine in their early years at school but start to struggle as the work gets harder, or they start having to take tests. Others may only need some extra support when they reach high school or even their final exams.

While schools work hard to keep children at a similar stage in their learning, it can be a tricky task with up to 30 children in a class to teach, all with different abilities and styles of learning. This is where tutoring can help.

A quality tutor should be able to assess your child’s current ability level, decide if they need some extra help and create a program that’s tailored to their individual learning needs to help them catch up, keep up or pass exams.

When they’re excelling at school

Students who are intellectually advanced and excelling at school may also benefit from a tutor who can extend their current school learning. They may need the challenge of extra work to stay engaged.

Due to disruptive events

Students may also need tutoring for other reasons, including unforeseen disruptive events such as illness, family bereavement, or COVID-19.

According to National Survey by Pivot, reported by the Grattan Institute, most teachers believed that students were only learning at about 50-75 per cent of their normal pace during home learning. Teachers in more disadvantaged schools said it was more like 25-30 per cent.

How to identify students who need help

One of the biggest indicators to identify if your child needs the support of a tutor is if their teacher suggests it or their grades take a downward flip. However, there are also a few other key warning signs to look out for, especially in behaviour.

Difficulty getting down to work

Does your child seem unexcited or unmotivated when it comes to anything to do with school? For example, do they put off doing their homework for as long as possible, or are they constantly getting up and down instead of staying on task?

This lack of interest in completing their schoolwork and becoming distracted can be a sign that they’re struggling with what they have to do but don’t want to admit it.

A drop in confidence levels

If your child was previously doing well and was happy in a certain subject, then they suddenly start doubting their abilities or start to show less interest in it, this is another red flag that they might need tutoring support.

Subjects like English and maths can really pick up the pace when a child hits Years 3 and 4. This can make students who were previously good at a subject start to struggle.

The transition into high school can also be a time when confidence levels drop as students are thrown into a new situation, and the work gets more challenging.

They suddenly ‘hate’ school

Is your child suddenly apathetic about going to school? Were they previously interested in learning, but this enthusiasm has now taken a nosedive? This is another possible warning sign that they may be struggling.

It’s understandable when you think about how they must be feeling. It can be very disheartening if they’re trying hard but are still falling behind in their work and grades. A tutor can help them catch up, grow their confidence and reignite their love of learning.

A change in personality

As school is such a big part of a child’s life, if they’re finding it tough but are afraid to talk to anyone about it, this can impact how they act, both in school and at home.

If your once calm, easy-going child suddenly becomes angry or seems unhappy, this can be another indicator that they need tutor help. Of course, it may also be due to bullying or other reasons, so make sure you talk to them about it.

They think school is too easy

Sometimes students need help not because they’re struggling at school but because they’re actually finding it too easy. In these instances, they can become bored and frustrated. Plus, they aren’t able to achieve their potential.

So, if your child is complaining that the work in class is too easy or they’re just not as engaged as they used to be, speak to your child’s teacher, who might be able to provide additional resources. In addition, engage a tutor for deeper extension.

The best time to get tutoring for students struggling with school

Ultimately, the best time to get tutoring for your child is when you think they need it.

The sooner you notice the signs above and enlist the help of a tutor, the quicker they will get back to where they need to be.  Plus, the longer you wait, the longer your child has to struggle, affecting their confidence both at school and in life.

Some of the critical times they may need more tutoring support include:

·       During the first couple of years at school
·       When they transition to junior school
·       If they move schools
·       When they go to high school
·       Before important exams

We understand it can be difficult for parents to decide whether to get a tutor or not. You may be worried that it’s too late, or you may not be 100 per cent sure that they really need it.

Instead of second-guessing yourself and spending time worrying, the best way forward is to take action and get your child to complete a learning assessment.

A learning assessment can tell you where your child currently sits against where they should be for their age and year level. It can also highlight their strengths and weaknesses so a tutoring program can be tailored to their specific needs.

Take action to help your child succeed

Students need tutoring for a wide range of reasons. And if you think your child needs support, there are many indicators that may confirm your concerns, from grades to a change in behaviour.

If you notice a problem, take action. Talk to your child, talk to their teacher and book your child in for an assessment. The sooner you do, the sooner you can help your child catch up, keep up and reach their potential.

Explore related articles or book your free learning assessment today to see if tutoring is right for your child.


Published in NZ