SmileTutor Blog Tutors Tutoring Tips Tutor Tips: Difference Between Tutoring Primary Vs Secondary Students?

Tutor Tips: Difference Between Tutoring Primary Vs Secondary Students?

If you have students of different ages, it is easy to see where primary schoolers and secondary school learners differ. Besides the obvious difference in the difficulty level of subjects, every child develops a different learning style and preference as they age.

As a tutor, you will not only encounter students of different learning behaviour but the differences in age as well. Grasping the differences in teaching primary schoolers and secondary teens will help you to understand and apply different coaching methods.

1) Motivation

Young learners are generally more motivated to learn as compared to older learners. They also love being in the classroom and see something new and interesting. Meanwhile, teens in secondary schools will need to be convinced before they take in their lessons. They prefer learning on their own than listening in class.

2) Autonomy

Young learners will need more attention from their teachers to understand their lessons. They will also need assistance in doing activities, especially if they are not familiar with it. Teenagers can do these tasks on their own and handle more responsibility. They can also figure everything on their own.

Exclusive offer for first-time customers only!
Get 15% discount off your first lesson and no agency fees! Choose from a selection of reliable home tutors and keep learning even while at home. Claim this promotion today.

3) Learning

Because of their age difference, both learners have different learning styles. Children use all their senses to learn and they need to be stimulated to support what they are learning. Meanwhile, teenagers can look into activities deeply and work independently.

Tips for Tutors

Considering these differences, how can you teach your students well based on their learning styles? Down below are some tips we recommend to help you with your students.

For Primary School Children

The most important thing that tutors should not forget when teaching kids is making things fun. Children have a short attention span and they are more focused on what is before them. You will need a lot of patience and creativity to teach kids efficiently.

Here are some tips you can add to your lesson plan:

Keep the momentum moving

When you have classes with children, you will need to be in full control of the class.

One of the reasons some tutors find it difficult to teach kids is because they lose sight of the child for a bit. When this happens, the child uses it to do something else and eventually, lose focus on the class.

Before going to your class, prepare everything you need and have a backup class in case you can’t get your student to listen. You can also plan a backup activity for your student which they can do when you review their work.

Use songs

When we were young, our classes were filled with nursery rhymes about the things we learn.

Even if we do not know what these songs meant at that time, we memorized these songs by heart. Teaching your students these songs can keep them interested and even help out with their vocabulary.

Movement and activity is key

Aside from lectures and songs, add activities where your students can learn in a fun way.

Active games like charades or tag can be a great way to reinforce lessons. For example, have them play tag and the one who is it has to answer a question.

In charades, you can have your students guess what is being acted. Of course, make sure that the charades questions are easy to act because it will be difficult for kids to figure it out otherwise.

For Secondary School Teens

Teens are in the middle of understanding what they want in the future and who they are. With this in mind, you will see your students just listening to you or ask you a lot of questions. With this in mind, you need to get them interested and engaged.

Here are some tips to consider when devising your lesson plan:

Their interest is key

During your first session with your student, try knowing their interests. When they give you their answer, you can use it to devise a lesson plan that will get them interested.

If your student likes videos, you can start the lesson with a Youtube video related to the subject you are trying to teach them. You can also speak to them for a short while about their likes, especially if you share them. This will help you break the ice and get your student’s attention.

Want to be a better tutor?
Join 50,000 Singapore tutors and subscribe to our newsletter to learn how to teach better and earn a better income.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.

Show your empathy

Like most of us, students also have a lot of things in their mind aside from schoolwork.

From school-related stress, crushes to self-worth, some students do feel the pressure and it does affect their performance. You may have experienced it yourself when you were still a student.

When you see that your student is feeling down or something is bothering them, create an environment that they can relax in while studying. You should also be careful when planning your activities because there are some activities which may put them on the spot.

These activities may even cause them to remember how well their peers have done.

Create a strong rapport

Sometimes, talking to your student can do wonders to get them into the mood in studying. It will help your student open up about their day, especially if they are shy to tell you if they are having problems.

Do not force them to talk to you if they are not ready. When they do, listen to them and offer them some advice. Not only will your student know you are ready to listen, but they can also trust you for advise and help. Since they know they can trust you, they will do their best to do well in class.


Teaching students can be tricky if you consider their ages and learning preferences. However, there is always a way to get past this problem if you know where to start.

With our tips above, it will be easy for you to teach your students no matter what learning style they may have. It will also be easier for you to create a lesson plan that fits your students.

For power tips to become a better tutor, here are some articles:

6 Unforgivable Mistakes Math Tutors Make – Teach Math the Right Way!
Tutoring Strategies to Support Student Introverts

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.