Education is a very expensive investment for many parents who would like to give their children an edge once they grow older and enter the fields they select.
Not all subjects are easy to tackle and every once in a while, a child will definitely need an extra hand to help them get past a subject that is difficult for them to understand. Fortunately, extra help is easily available in the form of tutoring; whether it is private home tuition or small group classes.
Here we will discuss in-depth on small group tuition and whether you should take this type of tuition into consideration as one of the ways to help your child improve in his studies.
What is Small Group Tuition?
Group tuition is a type of tuition where a small group of students would meet up and study together on a common subject with the help of a tutor. Group tuition classes can be held almost anywhere the students could agree on: the house of one student, a café, community center, shopping area or a roof deck.
Group tuition is also offered in tuition centres and just like schools, tuition centres have schedules as to when a certain subject will be taught by tutors which students can sign up for.
What are the Advantages of Group Tuition?
The reason why some students tend to prefer group tuition is because of these three reasons:
• Group tuition reduces the tuition rate fees one has to pay when paying for a tutor because the group can share the costs.
• Since it is similar to school, students won’t be easily bored when learning because the lessons would be more interactive between the tutor and the students. Students can also discuss with one another the lessons they had and work on the assigned tasks by the tutor.
• Peer pressure is also reduced when one undergoes group tuition. Students will be motivated to learn and improve on the subjects they are having problems with.
• Many of the well-established tuition schools promise guaranteed results or hires well-known teachers.
What are the Disadvantages of Group Tuition?
Students are different from one another in terms of how well they take in their lessons and how they can be assisted by their tutors. There are several disadvantages if you plan to have your child join a group tuition.
Flexibility of class time
First of all, you need to make sure your child arrives on time in every lesson. The tutor handling the group tuition will not stop or repeat the lesson if your child is late, which may disable them from keeping up with their lessons.
In terms of the quality of tutoring
If the group tuition consists of a large group, the tutor may not be able to tweak their lessons accordingly if one student has a specific problem or handicap.
In terms of the schedule
If the students cannot agree on the meet up time because of their other commitments, they will find it difficult to schedule their classes. The tutor would also have no choice but to cancel the tuition if the lesson times are often changed to accommodate a majority of the students.
In terms of convenience
Location may also be an issue for group tuition because if one place is not immediately reserved for the class, there may be additional expenses to cover or time wasted if the location is too far away.
One more thing that can be frustrating in a small group tuition is that one of the students dropped out and replaced by someone new. It can greatly change the dynamic of the existing group and alter their learning pace as the tutor finds time to understand the new addition.
Is Your Child Suitable for Small Group Tuition?
Not everyone has the same learning style. While a shy and reserved child will benefit most from a one-to-one tuition. Some children may perform their best in small group tuition.
Your child is more suited for small group tuition if:
• He learns better in group study.
• He is not easily distracted in class and is able to follow instructions easily.
• He has a competitive spirit and loves to challenge his progress with his peers.
• He has only 1 subject that he needs to focus in. Imagine bringing your child to 3 different classes for 3 different subjects at 3 different time slots per week!
• You want to improve his grades from 80 marks to 100 marks and not transforming a failed subject to pass.
• He needs more concept practice rather than understanding or relearning the concept.
• He is vocal enough to ask questions in front of the group.
However, if your child show signs of the listed points below, he may fare better with individual attention from a private home tutor:
• He is shy and reserved in class.
• He avoids class participation.
• He has difficulty recalling facts and remembering simple formulas.
• He avoids problem solving and gives up on challenges easily.
• He struggles to comprehend and process new written information and need more time to chew on new knowledge.
• He spends too much time on average scope of school work and produce average results.
• He is easily distracted by anything.
• He needs help in more than 1 subject.
• He has a lot of weak areas to cover in one subject.
• He is failing his tests or getting borderline results on his studies.
What is a Good Size for Small Tuition Group?
Ideally, a group tuition class should be a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 5 students. This will permit the tutor to determine how the class should be taught and who needs more focused tutoring.
If the group tuition class is just 5 people and not more than that, tutors can easily determine what the students need because they will be able to remember every student and notice how well they are performing in class.
They will also be able to determine the weakness of the student and determine how they can change their classes which will not just focus on one student’s weakness, but also make it easier for the others to learn.
Tutors would also have more time to learn more about their students with a smaller group even if they have different learning abilities as time passes on.
Ideally, the group has to be of the same level and preferably same learning curve to achieve the best results. If one of the students in the group is slower than others, he will consume more time and attention from the tutor rather than equally spread out the tutor’s effort to all of them. This will also slow down the learning progress of the group.
Qualities to Look for in a Small Group Tutor
Teaching an individual is not the same as teaching a group of students. Unlike a home tutor, a small group tutor can’t tailor the lesson just to suit one child and don’t have the luxury to fall back on generalised lesson plans like when teaching a big class. Hence, there is plenty to take into consideration when considering what makes a good tutor who can teach a small group of students.
Even if the group consist only 3 students, a good tutor will have to make sure that no student is left behind. The pace has to be easily digest and catch up even if one falls behind a little.
A good small group tutor will know how to balance his attention on all his students and not just focus on the weak ones. He needs to spilt his time equally between the strong and weak students.
The tutor will know how to motivate everyone in the group using positive motivation techniques without putting down any student in front of his peers. The result will be disastrous if the student felt being singled out by the tutor.
One of a surefire way to know if a tutor is suitable for small group teaching is that he has experience teaching a class. Many successful group tutors are retired MOE teachers.
Since it is a small group tuition, a good way to make learning interesting is to have more group projects or friendly challenges for the students to pit their knowledge against one another.
While patience is a must for any teaching position, a good tutor must have abundance of it. He might be overwhelmed with questions by all the students or even have to deal with the student who distract others from their lesson.
What are Group Tuition Rates like?
Group tuition rates vary depending on the level of the students included in the group, the number of students and the tutor’s level and category.
Usually, group tuition rates are computed at an hourly rate and can start from $20 per hour if they are still a poly student to $45 per hour if the tutor selected is a fully licensed teacher. The rate can also go as high as $120 as the student enters junior college.
However, you have to be prepared to fork out more money for well-established private tuition schools that hold small group tuitions. Their group tuition rates can go as high as $400 – $450 per month for each subject.
How do I find a Good Tutor for Small Group Tuition?
Are you convinced that your child will benefit the most from small group tuition? Here are some recommendations on how to find a suitable tutor that conducts small group tuition.
If there is a teacher that your child adores in his school, ask if the teacher does private group tuition outside of his working hours. If not, do ask the teacher for references. He just might know someone in his field providing the service you are looking for.
If your child is already has private tuition, you may wish to check with your tutor if he does small group tuition. You may be surprised that many of them does small group tuition apart from private tuition.
Network with the parents from your child’s school or search in Singapore parenthood forums. Parents are always looking to gather their children of similar age and level to form a small group for tuition.
There are plenty of private schools that advertised on their small group classes. Many of these schools are well-established and have been around for many years. But do keep in mind that the classes are in great demand (you may be placed on a waiting list) and the tuition rates aren’t cheap.
As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure that our kids receive nothing but the best things in life which would help them in the future. Education is one of these important things because it can help prepare them of what is ahead even if it is not cheap.
If you see them fumbling behind one of their classes, do your research and check the options available for your child to try out. Group tuition is ok, but you need to ask your child if they are ok with it or if they work well in a group since it is important they can learn without any problems and pressure. Rates should be secondary consideration if you want your child to improve.
Not convince that tuition is right for your child? Here are some insights:
When Tuition Does More Good Than Harm
Tuition Centre or Private Tuition: Which is Better for Him?