How many smart devices does your kid have? Fidget spinners? Half-full water bottles? If you answered “one” to any of the above, it may be wise to consider one-on-one tutoring versus a group session. Simply put, kids are more distracted than ever. And students working in groups can be more susceptible to those distractors. Sure, back in your glory days, you might have had a Rubix Cube or a Gameboy or Pokemon cards keeping you unfocused. But kids today have access to endless content (mostly cat videos). It’s essentially a new era for the absent minded. Since new eras deserve names, let’s call this one the Daze Phase. Of course, every child learns differently. So we don’t want to discredit group tutoring. However, one-on-one tutoring does have a few distinct advantages:
Group sessions must ensure that every student is on the same knowledge playing field. Students that are further along are likely to be taught things they’ve already learned. And while knowledge reinforcement is certainly not a bad thing, reinforcement to the point of exhaustion doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Even worse, if a student is bored by the lack of fresh content, they are more likely to slip into the Daze Phase. And we definitely want to avoid that perilous arena. In a one-on-one session, the tutor can more clearly identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses, knowns and unknowns. This makes for a more customizable learning environment and reduces needless knowledge reinforcement. The tutor can also get a quicker sense of how advanced the student is and make more effective technique adjustments.
This is a big one. If a tutor breezes past a subject, and a student didn’t quite catch it, that could be the end of it. For the student, it takes courage to raise his or her hand and say, “I didn’t get that.” For the teacher, it takes the will to go back and review a concept for one student when the rest of the group may not need a recap. (Doing so could also result in an entire section of the class heading straight for the Daze Phase.)
This is hard to hear. But it can happen. It’s less likely to happen if you have increased control over selecting your child’s tutor. This is the case for one-on-one tutoring. In summary, not all group tutoring options are ineffective. In fact, there are several benefits of group tutoring worth exploring. One-on-one tutoring, of course, has its own series of advantages. It all depends on your child and the situation at hand.