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Getting started with Online Tutoring

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Mika, Staff Writer

Friday, 5th February 2021

Whether you are looking to improve an area of your child’s education or if you’re an adult learner, tutoring is something all of us can benefit from. 

Traditionally, tutoring has always been carried out in person. But increasingly, the service is moving online. 

If you’ve never experienced online tutoring before, here is why it’s worth considering along with what to expect from each session. 

What does online Tutoring involve?

Online tutoring involves an experienced professional teaching you or your child a chosen subject over a video call. You can be tutored in practically any subject such as English, Maths, History, Languages, Music or Science. 

As with in-person tutoring, you’ll be expected to complete the work to the best of your ability which includes any homework they give you too. Though unlike in a classroom environment, you will get complete one to one support to help you overcome any difficulties. It’s due to this individualised approach that sees many people shine with tutoring, even in subjects they previously failed in. 

Sessions may cover a subject on a general basis or help you work towards an exam. Be sure to discuss any requirements with your tutor beforehand so that they can adapt the sessions to suit whatever you need them for. 

Benefits of online Tutoring

  • You get to learn a new skill

  • Suitable for all ages

  • Improves confidence

  • Round the clock availability

  • Catch up on missed education

  • Opens up more job opportunities

  • Can access the best tutors regardless of your location

  • No travelling time/fees involved

What will I need to get started?

Computer with webcam

You are going to need to see your tutor (and content they share on the screen) as well as hear them, so a webcam to enable video-conferencing is a must.

Collaborative software

Sessions are usually held on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, though you may require additional software to collaborate on the work. Such tasks could include answering equations on the screen or taking a spelling quiz. If so, your tutor will advise you of what you need. 

Headphones

If you live in a crowded home or if there is a lot of background noise, you may find it helpful to wear headphones for your session. As most headphones have a built-in microphone, this can also make the audio clearer too.

Notebook & pen

Make sure you have plenty of resources to take notes with! 

Course notes (if applicable)

For certain qualifications, you may require specific texts or practice exams. Ask your tutor before your session if you’re unsure. They may also provide you with materials to print out too. 

How to pick the right online Tutor

Specialism

The vast majority of tutors will be highly specialised in their chosen subject, and will usually have some form of teaching qualification. It’s important to pick the right area of specialism, as even a topic such as Maths has several different levels. For example, if hiring a tutor for your primary school child, you wouldn’t typically choose someone who only teaches at degree level. 

Online presence

Most tutors will have some form of a website or social media so that you can get a feel for their teaching style. Ideally, the individual will be encouraging and will look to make the sessions enjoyable especially for younger children. 

Adaptability

If you or your child has any learning difficulties, it’s a good idea to find a tutor who has experience in adapting the lesson plans to suit individual needs. 

Reviews

One of the best ways to select the right tutor is to do plenty of research and read their customer reviews or testimonials. Speak with them over the phone or over video, and explain why you are looking for a tutor to see if your goals and learning styles align.

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