Private tutoring: Academic necessity or parental anxiety?

homework.jpegParents whose children are struggling in school, often opt to tutoring as a means to boost their child’s understanding of school subjects. In 2018, it was reported that private tutoring in the US has grown into a $7 billion dollar industry.  It is clear that a high number of parents see tutoring as a solution to their child’s educational struggles.

This is obviously not without reason. Tutoring has been found to be effective in situations where there are identified causes that lead to the struggle in studying. Examples of cases where tutoring can be very helpful to both the parents and the child are:  When a child is transferred into a new school with new environments, and is pushed to catch up with new or different learning material; or when the child or teacher has to miss a large portion of school due to illness or other personal problems. In those situations, tutoring can help boost the student’s learning process and help them catch up.

However, parents have come to realize that learning difficulties in the classroom or challenges in understanding lessons are not always caused by such external reasons. Some students find it difficult to learn and process taught information regardless of the learning circumstances and the effectiveness of a teacher’s delivery. The problem lies within the students themselves. In fact, studies have shown that 85% of struggles in reading and the majority of struggles in learning are simply due to weak cognitive skills – the brain’s ability to learn, think, solve problems, remember and pay attention.

Interestingly, this is a problem that has also been helped by tutoring, as many parents’ have decided that the best course of action has been to hire tutors who specialize in brain trainings, a term which has been popular of late.

Seen practically as the answer to every student’s learning problem, tutoring has grown in popularity. With such a high demand for tutors, more companies have decided to venture into the business of supplying tutors directly to those who are searching for tutoring assistance for their children.

Experts have also said that this growing business does not appear to be disappearing any time soon. Full tutoring has now even become an alternative to schools. One particular factor in favor of full tutoring is that parents feel their children are exempt from vulgarity and violence found in most schools. Parents appreciate the sense of safety that comes with full tutoring.

The notion that schools are not doing enough to educate and help students is a longstanding argument, which is still relevant to this day. Back in 2012, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA) came out with a study predicting that the global private tutoring market is estimated to surpass $102.8 billion by 2018. The same study also suggests that the rise of the tutoring market is caused by the failure of education systems to meet the needs of students.

However, education specialist Nick Morrison disagrees with the idea that the failure of education system has driven the rise in tutoring demands. Morrison argues that the high demand in private tutoring is simply a product of modern parental anxiety.

Parents are obsessed with their children’s academic achievement and their ability to excel above others. For parents, this has become a matter of pride. Like a nice car and a big house, a bright child is considered a sign of success for a parent. This subsequently prompts parents to throw money at their anxiety and resort to private tutoring.

Such eagerness towards private tutoring has even led some parents to start their kids very young – in some cases, as early as three years of age. Many of these parents are those who want to enroll their children in prestigious schools are worried about entrance exams and requirements that may leave their children out. They see tutoring as a way to give their children a bit of a competitive edge and help build a basic foundation or their child’s academic career.

While there has been no know studies about the ideal and safe age for private tutoring, experts and practitioners in the field have noted that the tender age of two or three would be too early for any assisted learning.

A child of two or three should be learning do not require the services of a private tutor. At this early age, children learn an enormous amount from watching and copying other children. The increased isolation with private learning, therefore, may not be beneficial – unless there are multiple children being taught together.

There may, of course, be some exceptions, such as particularly severe educational needs, but on the whole, experts agree that the youngest a child should be when starting full-time home tutoring is about six years old.

Due to its benefits, private tutoring is obviously something to be embraced. However, it is important that parents are doing it for the right reasons – which should ultimately be for the child’s best interest – as not to overburden children with additional learning tasks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar