We have an excellent education system in Australia, but it’s a system that relies on schools – more than 9000 of them – and one which cannot cater entirely to every individual child. Teachers are excellent, but their role is to teach a class, not tutor an individual. It’s a very different relationship.
It can be hard to know where to start if you think your child could benefit from outside tutoring. It can feel like a big investment of your time and money, and can be disruptive to your family’s routine. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a tutoring option that is aligned with your lifestyle, but first you need to be clear on your objectives.
Nearly one quarter of families use tutoring services
While tutoring has always been a part of education, people have recently become more open about it. This is mostly due to increased online exposure. As a result, tutoring has become a normal part of education.
According to Mohan Dhall, CEO of the Australian Tutoring Association, the number of students who are currently using some form of academic support is 25 percent. “I would suggest that there’s about 80,000 students who engage in some form of tutoring in Australia. As an industry, it is conservatively valued at around $1.3 billion and growing.”
Our internal research has revealed that an additional 17 percent of families are actively considering tutoring for one or more of their children. These figures include paid online resources, tutoring centres, online groups, and one-on-one tutoring.
Tutoring is becoming more popular
Australians are more educated than ever before. The number of people earning undergraduate degrees exploded in the early 1990s. Those people, now parents of school-aged children themselves, are increasingly seeing the value in education.
In addition, there’s increased pressure to show strong academic performance in primary school to gain entry to selective public or private high schools. All of this is happening in an environment where many primary schools – particularly in cities – are oversubscribed and under resourced.
The evolution of tutoring
In the past, tutoring was a cottage industry — a way for teachers and university students to earn a bit of extra money on the side.
One-on-one tutoring is often supplied by a person with a good academic track record. But being good at something doesn’t guarantee that you can teach it.
The tutoring centres that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s typically rely on a classroom model in which a small group of students work in a room with a supervisor. This format is highly structured and, in most cases, driven by a franchisor, which prevents tutors from adapting lessons to each individual learner.
Personalising your child’s education
A personalised approach reduces the embarrassment of asking a ‘silly’ question, or being the student who never quite ‘gets it’. Children don’t generally like being visible in the classroom – attracting negative attention by asking questions all the time.
One-on-one tutoring is all about the student’s questions, so there’s no embarrassment when it comes to going over something repeatedly until they understand. What’s more, the one-on-one relationship between student and tutor ensures that the tutor can quickly gauge whether the student understands something without them having to ask again.
The advent of online learning
Online learning platforms utilise internet-enabled tools to bring a quality tutor to every student, anywhere, anytime and on any device. Features such as live, face-to-face video calls, virtual whiteboards, and advanced analytics track the individual learning journey of each student, wherever they are in the world.