Our tutors are dedicated school entrance specialists with track records of success getting children into top London schools.
Online tutoring vs at home tutoring
When preparing for the 11 plus, what would suit your child better: online tutoring or at home, face-to-face tutoring?
Following the most recent Government Guidelines, we believe 11 Plus face-to-face tuition in the home can now restart. But now face-to-face lessons are back on the menu, will parents switch back to them. Or are online lessons here to stay?
From conversations with our families and pupils, we have found that there has been a wholesale acceptance of online lessons due to the pandemic. This has been a positive step in terms of widening access to the best school entrance tutors and using tech to support more pupils’ learning. As an agency we always believe that it is the quality of our teachers and professional tutors that matters. The delivery channel is a secondary consideration.
Is online tutoring effective?
Education has changed hugely since conventional schooling practices began. The one-room school has evolved into multi-room premises; chalkboards have made way for whiteboards; textbooks are now complemented by iPads. Tutoring, too, has had to adapt. Some tech-savvy children are more comfortable with interactions through a device than face to face. Additionally, for some parents finding a convenient time and place to meet with a tutor – when juggling many other commitments – can prove difficult.
In praise of online tutoring
It can be difficult for both parents and students to find enough time to fit in an 11 Plus tutoring session, let alone to make trips to the tutor’s house. Even if the tutor is able to come to their student’s house, there’s still the question of finding a time that suits all involved. With no travel time involved, online tutoring is much more flexible. Instead, tutor and student can find a time that suits them – then all they have to do is log on.
There are limits as to how far a student or tutor can reasonably travel to meet (even when within the same city, particularly if it is a big place like London). So, options may be restricted due to geographical necessity. Online tutoring widens the pool considerably, giving you access to every highly-qualified tutor on our books at just the click of a mouse.
From the comfort of your own home
Although most tutors are skilled in setting children at ease, face-to-face tutoring can still prove daunting for some students. Being able to log on from the comfort of their own home, from behind the perceived safety net of a computer, can set some at ease. This makes it easier for them to engage with and enjoy their tutoring sessions.
The safety of your own home
As mentioned above, online tuition provides an extra layer of comfort for some children – and that’s true for parents, too. Tutors from established agencies like Mentor Education are experienced, exceptionally-skilled teachers who have been screened carefully before employment. For some parents it’s especially helpful to know that their child is safe at home and that every second of the session can be recorded (and reviewed) if necessary.
Today’s student has grown up with technology at their fingertips: with e-readers, smartphones, and laptops being used on a daily basis. Taking tutoring online – and using technology to support lessons – transforms the process into something a student is extremely comfortable with, and is likely to increase their enjoyment.
The benefits of technology
As mentioned above, online tutoring allows technology to be integrated more fully into lessons. Lessons can be recorded and played back by the student; documents can be uploaded and shared by both tutor and student simultaneously; and it is even possible to make use of visual or interactive elements – like whiteboards or graphs – that may help visual learners take in information more readily. This can also provide an opportunity for the tutor and student to collaborate.
Easy to record
Taking notes during a face-to-face tutoring session is not always easy. For those who hand write notes, there is a danger that a page or notepad could be misplaced or that the notes might be illegible.
With online tutoring, the chats and lessons can simply be saved to a student’s hard drive – making it easy to return to the information at a later date for revision and review.
Forget finding a quiet space in a home or office to meet in; forget lugging heavy books or dealing with reams of paper. To participate in an online tutoring session, all a child needs is a computer and connection to the internet. The simplicity of the process makes it easier for some to engage: all they need do is log on and focus on the screen in front of them.
The online set-up makes it easier for tutors and students to forge lasting relationships, irrespective of geography. Even if a student or a tutor moves, their lessons can continue without interruption or disruption to the learning process.
In praise of teaching face to face
The are undoubtably benefits in teaching and learning face to face.
To some degree online classes represent an educational experiment. Education has been delivered for time immemorial face to face, and no one should underestimate the relationship building, bonding opportunities and the body language feedback loops that learning together brings.
While children are increasingly very tech savvy, there is no denying that technology does go wrong. This delays the start of lessons and can derail the flow of a lesson and proves stressful for all concerned.
Who thinks that the answer to child educational challenges is more screen time?
We find face to face lessons particularly important for younger children in Key Stage 1 because the extra interactivity that they need. Lessons with younger children on Zoom can need quite a lot of parental engagement. The screen approach can make it harder for the teacher to build rapport which is especially important for younger pupils.