1-2-1 Online English Tutoring
Everything you need to know about online tuition.
Since COVID, the market for online tuition has exploded here’s a quick run down of how it works, and what to watch out for.
Since March, I have been teaching my students exclusively online. Week by week, I was ‘meeting’ students in individualised ‘rooms’ on Zoom and talking with them about their experiences of lockdown, and coaching them into working independently and effectively from their homes. Together, we created individualised learning plans based on their next steps in their academic lives. Whether this meant looking forward to studying GCSE texts, or covering English skills more broadly.
While there are some students who will work better in a face to face environment, online can equally educational and provide other opportunities to develop skills.
About Online Tutoring
Online learning isn’t a new thing. I taught my first online student back in 2016 when one of my tutees wasn’t able to make it to a face to face session one day. It started out as something that was great for an emergency: worst case scenario, there was always Skype as a back up plan. In recent years, there’s been a big increase in the number of students who have asked me for regular 1-2-1 tuition online. More and more, it was becoming the way that students were choosing to have their tuition lessons.
What happens during online tutoring?
‘How does online tutoring work?’ is one of the most common questions I get at the moment. It will be different for every student because, like face to face tuition, every student will have access to different equipment. As a basic lesson, students and their parents are given an individual Zoom ID for the lesson. This is emailed out to them when they book the appointment, but also in the reminder emails 24/48 hours before the appointment. To access Zoom, they need a device (phone, tablet, or computer) that has a microphone and a camera.
They will also need a pen and some paper to hand, ready to make notes and do lots of creative writing! Older students who are studying specific texts ready for exams should have these to hand too.
During the lesson I, and many other tutors, use visualisers or tablets in order to demonstrate or make notes in the same way a teacher would do on a board during a lesson. Copies of these notes are then emailed through to students and their parents as points of reference for later, along with any independent learning activities.
In many respects, online tutoring follows the same rules and principles as face to face tutoring and teaching.
What are the benefits of online tuition?
While there doesn’t seem to be much difference in the way the lessons themselves are conducted, there are still many benefits of online tuition. At a time where the risk of infections from COVID-19 is still a major concern, online lessons facilitate learning that wouldn’t be able to take place otherwise. But there are other reasons why some students are starting to prefer it.
One of the key things for many students is that they’re able to complete the tuition sessions at home and in a place where they feel really relaxed. For a subject like English, this is particularly important because so many students struggle because of anxiety over reading/writing.
It also means that there is no barrier to finding the right tutor. When you’re hunting for a good face to face tutor, you’re limited to those who can travel to you or vice versa. Now, with video conferencing software like Zoom, you’re able to get the expert knowledge and most experienced teachers wherever you/they are in the world. This is particularly useful if you’re applying to selective schools in a different area or country.
Things to look out for in an online tutor
Just because tuition is online, doesn’t mean the basic questions and background checks should go out of the window. The same rules as face to face tuition should apply when you’re choosing someone to educated your children. Feel free to ask the tutor about their experience with particular exams and exam boards, or their qualifications to teach particular topics and subjects.
Most common questions I get about online tutoring
The fees are £45 for a session, with discounts being applied to those who book blocks of lessons in advance.
A device capable of video calling. There are other things that are nice to have – like a full sized keyboard to type answers or an additional tablet to share your screen with – but the tutor should ensure you get the best learning regardless of what technology you have to hand.
It is important to make sure that you are connected for the duration of the lesson. You will still be charged for your time, so make sure you’re logged on in advance of the lesson.
Absolutely. Students progress faster when they have 1-2-1 help and guidance from expert teachers. Tutoring online helps to achieve this.
Tutors don’t need any qualifications at all because it is up to the parents to decide whether or not to hire a tutor.
However, as a qualified English teacher I would suggest that parents are cautious about hiring people who haven’t taught before. For a child to succeed, they need the right interventions and qualified and experienced teachers and tutors can offer this.