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Benefits of a Tutor

A common misperception is that the singular role for tutors is to help less intelligent students pass their classes.  The reality, however, is quite different.  Tutors have a great deal to offer a wide range of students, from less intelligent students to gifted students.

*Students who are gifted may feel insufficiently challenged by their coursework.  Not all school systems offer advanced placement classes, so these gifted students may have no opportunities for additional academic challenges within their school system.  The resultant boredom in the classroom can cause these students to disengage from their academics.  Tutors can help.  In this situation, tutors can provide extra academic challenges to hold students’ interest and keep them engaged in academic achievement.

*Every student has a learning style that works best for him/her.  Every teacher has a teaching style that works best for him/her (the teacher); this teaching style is usually designed to teach to the majority of students in the classroom.  When a students’ learning style is incompatible with their teachers’ teaching style, tutors can help.  Because tutors teach one-on-one, they can tailor their teaching style to each individual student, a luxury that classroom teachers do not have.  In this situation, tutors can assess the learning style of the students.  Do the students learn visually (i.e., by seeing the material to be learned-as in reading text books), auditorily (i.e., by hearing the material to be learned-as in listening to lectures), or kinesthetically (i.e., by performing physical tasks related to the material to be learned-as in participating in lab experiments in science classes)?   Do the students learn best in a hierarchical or egalitarian environment?   Do the students respond best to rote memorization or academic exploration?  Once the students’ learning styles are ascertained, tutors can present the coursework accordingly.

*Students who desire (or whose parents desire) a greater depth of knowledge than is provided through their schools’ curriculums can be aided by tutors.  For example, if a student is taking an introductory French class, and the student’s family is planning a vacation to France, the family may hire a tutor to accelerate the student’s acquisition of French language skills so that the family will have one member capable of translating for them while they are on vacation.

*Last, but certainly not least, is the stereotypical use for tutors:  students who need a little extra help to master their coursework.  It bears noting that these struggling students are not necessarily of lesser intelligence.  Each student has strong subject areas and weak subject areas.  Students who struggle in one or more courses may not be of lesser intelligence, but instead may be taking courses in their weak subject areas.  For example, male students tend to perform better in math and science classes than female students do; conversely, female students tend to perform better in language classes than male students do.  Tutors can assess the students’ struggles and craft a tutoring strategy to respond accordingly.

Tutors offer benefits to a broad range of students.  Parents are well advised to consider the benefits of tutors in the above situations.

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