There’s an educational revolution happening all over the world, and it’s happening right now because of the demands and pressures created by the reformed GCSE and A-level courses. Tuition, in any form, has probably never been so popular, and experienced tutors often have waiting lists and are snapped up quickly, leaving many students in a state of panic, and I hate this. I absolutely hate having to turn students away when they need help. That's one of the reasons why I, and many private tutors, have moved online.
When I first heard about online tuition a few years ago, I was highly sceptical - one of the real doubters. After all, how on earth could a tutor provide the same quality of service from a distance? I started teaching when there was minimal technology in the classroom, and we all used paper registers and had those wonderful spinning blackboards. We functioned perfectly well, so I thought. But then technology started to be drip fed to us, and before we knew it, it had well and truly shaken up the education system in this country. We were all speaking in jargon, talking about VLEs, flipped classrooms, and the likes. After some initial resistance, we learnt to embrace it, and that's what we need to do with online tuition, too. Technology is central to most professions, and I don't want to see a time when teachers are redundant in the classroom because they're in a central office location beaming their knowledge worldwide to hundreds or thousands of students at a time, but it may happen. That's not teaching, though. Teaching has a human touch, a personal quality to it, and a teacher-student relationship is like no other. I don't want technology to ever take this away from the profession. However, we must not allow our innate fear of technology, and an expectation of a Terminator-style takeover where machines rule the world, to prevent us from exploring options and how we can maximise available resources for the benefit of learning.
I live in the North East of England but saw what was happening in other countries with online tuition and, eventually, curiosity got the better of me, so I explored it as an option. Now America and Asia, in my opinion, are by far ahead of us in the online tuition stakes, but there are pockets of people in England - largely in the southern counties - also embracing it now, and it’s slowly creeping its way up the country to the northern quarters, so we won't get left behind. And if you consider the benefits of online tuition when compared to traditional face-to-face, it's no wonder so many people have realised how fantastic it can be.
The following points are just some of the advantages I could quickly think of:
There will be a world of resources and media at our fingertips.
We can use countless interactive tools to stimulate learning and also have the option to screen share.
- Sessions can still take place if a student doesn't feel 100% or if the weather or traffic could cause a potential problem for a face-to-face session.
- Reducing traffic and congestion on our roads is never a bad thing.
- A student can continue with tuition when they're on holiday if they want to. For instance, they can be sunning themselves in a tropical resort and still having their regular session.
- Students naturally verbalise more and explain what they’re doing when talking online to a tutor, which encourages a deeper level of understanding.
Studies have shown that feeling comfortable and at ease in your working environment is crucial for learning and productivity, so for anxious students, a tutor is not invading their personal space.
Video conferencing is becoming commonplace in many professions, and online tuition enables students to practise these skills.
- The tutor is still there, right next to the student, giving them one-to-one guidance, and sessions will be no less challenging and stimulating.
- You can choose from the best tutors out there because you're not restricted to picking someone just because they live in your area.
- If you're someone who likes to tidy up because there's a visitor coming to your home, you don't have to. Instead, you can relax with a cuppa in your comfy clothes.
And I could go on.
However, I would say that if you do opt for online tuition, it's crucial that you have a decent web cam and access to a tablet/laptop/PC with good internet speed and a reliable connection. You will also need to make sure you can access the video conferencing program your chosen tutor uses.
Now, if you have all of these things, what are you waiting for?