Putting the right values at the heart of tutoring
by Adam Muckle
A good tutor has a passion for helping children to learn – the core skill that is needed long after school years are left behind. In a one-to-one environment, there is the time and the space to build rapport with the tutee and discover the approaches to learning that suit them as an individual.
A good tutor sees him or herself as complementary to classroom education and not as some kind of superior alternative. There are things that classroom teaching can achieve in terms of teamwork and social learning skills that tutoring cannot provide, and equally there are things that one-to-one tuition can provide that cannot be replicated in classroom teaching – no matter how small the class or how excellent the teaching.
A good tutor seeks to make themselves redundant as soon as possible. Children cannot achieve their full potential if they need a tutor as some sort of crutch on which to support themselves. Having both inculcated a love of learning and developed the child’s skills to learn for themselves, a tutor’s job is done. A child with these two skills will pass exams as a side-effect of having been taught to learn – and to love doing so – rather than as an end in its own right.
This approach goes a long way to avoiding the pressures and stress that come from a ‘cramming’ mentality and approach. Ensuring the mental wellbeing of a child is as important as helping them to learn and to achieve their full potential. Learning may require application, but it should also be enjoyable. Happy children learn faster than stressed ones.
A good tutor also encourages a child to read around the particular subject with which they may have been employed to help. Creating a context for learning and seeing just how transferable the skills are that they have learned in one area are to another, is all part of creating resilience when new and unfamiliar things come along. It is also a source of motivation.
The Tutors’ Association (TTA), our professional body, shares the values and approaches that I have outlined above. It gives tutors professional recognition for the good work they do, providing them with a professional network of like-minded individuals across the sector, discounts on professional services, events and academic resources, as well as a representative voice for the profession. Importantly in this respect, Membership gives reassurance to clients and students that tutors will have passed a DBS check, have signed up to an ethical code of conduct (including complying with our child protection policy) – and they will have provided evidence of successful assignments with at least two references from other clients.
It is our aim to be the standard-bearer for good practice, to ensure tutoring takes its rightful place in the educational landscape as a facilitator of helping every child, every student, reach their full potential. Please visit thetutorsassociation.org.uk if you would like to find out more and apply for membership.
Adam Muckle FTA
President of The Tutors’ Association