A person hired to give individual help to a student in a particular subject.
Hiring a tutor or sending a child to a private tutoring center is becoming a popular option for parents. Though using tutors is traditionally associated with older children, such as with a high school student in danger of failing a subject, elementary school children can also benefit from a tutor. The number of tutors being hired for younger children is increasing. This may indicate decreasing parents' satisfaction with the way their children are taught in school, or it may be that parents want to provide extra resources to enrich their children's early education. Parents may also decide to hire a tutor if their child is not picking up basic skills in the classroom. The child's teacher may alert the parent that his child needs extra help, and may be able to recommend tutors in the area.
Professional tutors, or solo tutoring, can be quite costly—from about $25 to $40 an hour. A high school or college student may be more affordable for a younger child. In selecting a tutor, parents should evaluate several factors:
- if the tutor has experience helping children in a particular subject area;
- whether the tutor can come to the child's home, or whether the child can go to the tutor's home; and
- whether the tutor motivates the student with positive encouragement.
One of the fastest-growing trends in education is the private tutoring company, or learning center, which teaches children individually or in small groups after school. Long popular in Japan, the number of these tutoring centers is rising quickly in both Canada and the U.S. The three leading companies are Sylvan Learning Systems. Huntington Learning Centers, and the Japan-based Kumon Math and Learning Centers. They charge either an hourly or monthly fee. Students may enroll in these tutoring centers for remedial help, but many students who are already doing well also enroll to enhance or gain extra skills. The private tutoring companies have their own worksheets and homework. Many of these companies work on a rewards system, giving children tokens for completed assignments, which they can redeem for prizes.
In both Canada and the U.S., private tutoring companies have been hired by public school systems to boost students' skills. In most cases, the tutors help with remedial math and reading. Initial feedback suggests that this method helps improve students' test scores, and this combination of private industry and public education is becoming more common.
Gallop, Catharine M. Individual Tutoring: A Realistic and Effective Solution for Children's Learning Difficulties. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas, 1988.
MacDonald, Ross B. The Master Tutor: A Guidebook for More Effective Tutoring. Williamsville, NY: Cambridge Stratford Study Skills Institute, 1994.
Shelton, Leslie. Excellence for All: A New Tutor Training Model: LSCA Title VI Final Performance Report.. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research