Tag Archives: private tutoring

10000 hours of classes per month and still counting

Private tutoring has helped a lot to increase the parental choice and also it has improved the students’ achievements across the United Kingdom. Online tutoring and private tutoring have so grown up in the UK that people have started considering the tutoring process as a very important need. In most of the developing and developed countries, private tutoring has now become a major component of education which is highly acknowledged.

It has been estimated that the worth price of the global education technology sector has reached up to £45 billion, which will surely reach to £129 by the end of the year 2021.

It has also been estimated that the number of private tutors in the UK has so increased that around 10 thousand hours per month are spent by the tutors with their students to teach them. Every third person in the UK wants to become a private tutor just to earn extra bucks during the free time. Thus, the number of private tutors is increasing every day in the United Kingdom.

            Private tutoring has now become the most popular and the most appropriate part-time job for most of the people across the UK. A person is not required to be a professional tutor, or he/she does not require to have a university degree to become a tutor. This is the reason that most of the people find private tutoring best for them as a part-time job for earning extra money. This fact can be explained with a very simple example. Consider there are ten levels in which the people have been classified according to the level of their knowledge. If a person is at level 6, there are a number of people on the level 7 to 10 who can be taught by the people on the level 6. Thus, it is very easy to become a tutor and assist the students who have problems. This has resulted in an increase in the numbers of private tutors across the UK. There are already so many private tutors across the UK that more than 10000 hours of classes are arranged per month for private tuitions. Still the number of private tutors keeps on increasing which has lead to increasing the hours of classes per month.

            Basically, there are so many ways in which tutoring is carried out such as online tutoring, private tutoring and on-demand tutoring. People in the UK have implemented on different ways of tutoring according to their need and according to their comfort zone. These different ways of tutoring have become so famous that they have made a huge contribution to increasing the hours of tutoring per month in the United Kingdom. Finally, this has reached to more than 10000 hours of tutoring. In simple words, it can be said that a huge number of tutors are teaching and providing their tutoring services across the UK through different ways of tutoring. There are more than 6000 private tutors across the UK, who have been teaching the students at least one hour a day and hence they are teaching for more than 10000 hours a month. Further, the numbers of private tutors are increasing every day as the numbers of problems of the students are increasing.
2nd image copy           The most common reason behind the rapid increase in the number of private tutors in the UK is that tutoring encourages the higher levels of thinking. Also, the tutoring motivates the tutors to learn more and more so that they can maintain the new role which helps to create a smarter nation. Another advantage of tutoring is that it increases the personal knowledge of a tutor regarding the related subject. There are many of the students across the UK who want to learn a lot regarding their field. Especially there are some college students who want to achieve more by gaining their knowledge about specific topics. This leads those college students to become private tutors and teach the school kids so that they can also learn more and they can gain experience in a particular field. The number of private tutors has increased because of this reason, in the UK and hence, the hours of tutoring per month have also reached to 10 thousand hours a month.

            There are a lot of people in the United Kingdom who have lots of knowledge about a specific subject or a field, but they could not get into a related firm because of some reasons. The most common reason that they could not get into the firms is that they did not have enough capital to invest on. Such people have started to provide tutoring services across the UK regarding the same subject so that they could gain some experience as well as some capital to invest. There are a number of parents in the UK who are ready to pay hundreds of dollars to the private tutors to teach their children. The tutors searched for such parents who could pay them well and then finally they started to provide tutoring services. This has benefits for all the three (the students, the tutors, the parents). The tutors got enough money, and the students got enough knowledge. Also, the parents got satisfied that they have a good tutor for their children. This fact has promoted the tutoring in the UK so far that has resulted in more than 10000 private tutors in the UK. There are no chances for decreasing the number of private tutors in the UK in the future as there are a lot of people who need capital for different purposes. Tutoring is the best available option for such people as they have lots of knowledge about a particular subject or a specific field.

There has been explained a first-hand experience of a tutor who has achieved a tag of a private tutor and also the way has been explained how he achieved this tag:-

            Mr Paul Wertheim is a CSE (Computer Science Engineering) tutor who is actually interested in assisting the computer science students so that they can easily maximize and network their knowledge in computer science and engineering department. He has so many study backgrounds along with computer science, such as cognitive science, mathematics, electrical engineering and physics. His duties include answering the questions of the students which concern with the topics explained in the class, assist the students with debugging and solving the problems, make a clear vision of programming assignments as well as assist the students in the computer labs. According to Mr Wertheim, “Tutoring was something he gave much thought to. However, he approached the professor; he understood tutoring as a golden opportunity for him to strengthen his skills.” Mr Wertheim had tutored some of the other subjects before, and he always found that all which matters is his own understanding and acceptance towards the subject. Mr Wertheim found teaching other very interesting experience and also he felt good when people understand their concept.

            Mr Wertheim used to be a small level tutor who used to teach the people if needed. He also got frustrated some of the time when the students faced trouble in grasping the concept. His thoughts of making them understand in another better way, but still sometimes the students would not understand the concepts. Finally, after a lot of hard work, Mr Wertheim came to a conclusion that the students do not understand the concept sometimes because of the reason that the students were not accepting him as a private tutor. Mr Wertheim then finally decided to open his own classes where he could teach the students in a better way. The most important thing about this was that even the students would not think that Mr Wertheim is not professionally a tutor if he would have his own tuition classes. Mr Wertheim had done a lot of hard work for opening his own tuition classes. First of all, it took a bit longer for him to convince the students and the parents to come to his private tuition classes. Then he thought of advertising his private tuition classes in the newspapers, social media sites and many other places which helped him to get recognized by the people as a private tutor. Finally, when he got success to advertising his classes, the students started to seek admissions in his private tuition classes, and he started earning a lot more than before. Also, he changed the perception of the students about him. Now the students did not think that Mr Wertheim is not a private tutor, and he could not teach. The most important thing in opening the private tuition classes is that Mr Wertheim had the same level of knowledge, but still the students were learning the concepts more easily as the perception of the students had changed. Mr Wertheim has said that tutoring has taught him that perseverance and patience are the keys to tackling tough situations. So he tries to pass that along to others.

Failure of public educational system

According to the report of the UK Government, Department of Education (published on January 10, 2014), there were altogether 24372 public schools comprising of 16818 State-funded primary schools, 3268 State funded and 2420 other Secondary schools and 4476 independent schools. There are also 1039 special (state funded) and non-maintained schools. The same report says that there were 438000 teachers in state-funded schools in England on a full-time equivalent basis in 2012. The numbers at both ends have naturally increased at the time of writing this article. But the big question that is looming over the education system of England is whether, even after the best effort by the UK Government and the State schools, the public school system is successful in educating their children properly or not.

The performance of the public school system of UK, as envisaged by various experts and surveys in national as well as global front do not portray an encouraging picture. As warned by Chief Inspector Sir Michel Wilshaw in the annual Ofsted report (as reported by The Guardian, Dec 10, 2014) that the secondary schools of the country is being failed to touch their benchmark performance because of huge short supply of teachers in the public schools.

When the numbers of students in the secondary schools are increasing significantly over the years, a short supply of teachers mean that the number of students per teacher is also increasing gradually and that is depriving the teachers to deliver an effective teaching in the overcrowded class. This is simple arithmetic and the State has to fix it if it wants to restore the standard of the public education system.

Sir Michel Wilshaw also stated in his report that while the primary schools are still doing great, the students, who are being upgraded after getting a good education at the primary level, are being utterly disappointed while entering the secondary schools because of the dramatic fall in the standard of education clubbed with the fall of the behaviour standard of the students. Consequently, this is resulting in the poor performance of the British students in all fronts at the secondary level.

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Though there are conflicting views as usual to the Ofsted report, the findings of Eleanor Harding and Tamara Cohen (as reported in Daily Mail, Jan 29, 2015) echoes almost the same concern of Sir Michel Wilshaw. According to their findings, the league tables published at the end of January 2015, reveals that the number of schools that has failed to touch the “floor target” set by the Government for GCSE results has been plummeted to 330 in comparison to 154 by the end of January. The alarming statistics is that in those 330 schools only less than forty percent of the students have got five C grades at GCSE and the worst performance that is being made are in English and Mathematics.  However, by some education experts as well as by the National Association of Head Teachers, this seemingly dismal performance is due to the recent changes in the exam criteria by the British Government. As perceived by the General Secretary Russel Hobby, a lot of these changes in regulation and criteria of examination process has affected the schools, having a proportionately high percentage of disadvantaged students, adversely and disproportionately.

However, the most shocking report regarding the performance of the British education system comprising of a vast number of public schools has been revealed in the global league table as published by the education firm Pearson at the end of 2012. According to this report country’s education system has ranked 6th in the top ten countries of the developed world. The UK which has harboured and nurtured some of the greatest scientists and noble laureates who have enlightened the human history, this report shows a gloomy picture of the present state of the country’s education system, especially that of the public schools. This report seems to be more troubling when we look at the ranking of the UK in the Pisa maths score ranking table for the selected education system. The country ranked 26th and owed to this report the Education Secretary of England Michael Gove has said that this test performance since the year 1990 had been “at best stagnant, at worst declining”.

However the above statistics and the reports as well as the opinion of the experts from various fronts in education, suggests only one thing, that a drastic measure is necessary by the UK government to bring the standard of the public school system to its prestigious height, to a height which could again set the British education system at the top of the world or at least at the same ranking of the best educations systems in the world. The most important are probably, as various reports suggested, is to employ enough teachers and good quality of teachers. For that, the teacher’s training needs to be revised if the system so wants. Quality and responsible teachers with encouraging school environments are what is required to restore the confidence of tens of thousands of young British students on whom the future of the country depends on.

References:

1) GOV.UK. Number of schools, teachers and students in England: Department of Education

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-england

2) The Guardian. Teacher shortages and rising pupil numbers put schools on the edge of crisis: Daniel Boffey. 29 August 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/aug/29/schools-trouble-rising-pupils-teacher-shortage-uk-crisis

3) The Guardian. Ofsted chiefly warns of growing failure in England’s secondary schools: Sally Weale and Richard Adams. 10 December 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/10/ofsted-chief-growing-failure-england-secondary-schools

4) Double the number of secondaries failing after GCSE reforms: By Eleanor Harding and Tamara Cohen for the Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2931412/Britain-s-exclusive-boarding-schools-including-Eton-Harrow-plummet-bottom-GCSE-league-table.html

5) Department of Education UK. http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/geo/england_all.html

6) The UK education sixth in the global ranking. By Sean CoughlanBBC News education correspondent.   27 November 2012

http://www.bbc.com/news/education-20498356

7) Pisa tests: The UK stagnates as Shanghai tops league table. By Sean CoughlanBBC News education correspondent

3 December 2013.  http://www.bbc.com/news/education-25187997.

Critiquing Online Tutoring: A modern advancement or a disaster

Past few decades have seen a sea change in the education system, especially with the advent of the information technology. The wave of this new networking technology and it’s amazing capacity for exchanging information on the real-time basis across the borders of the nations have significantly transformed the world of education and along with it the private tutoring system. In education private tutoring was there from the very beginning and has now become an indispensable part of the education system all over the world. As indicated earlier, the advancement of the information technology to an unprecedented height has changed the traditional way of providing face to face tuition to more advanced and time saving online tutoring. It does not mean that the traditional way of imparting private education has been entirely replaced, but with time, the online tutoring is making its headway with remarkable growth rate and is gaining the popularity in all over the world.

There are various reasons why this is happening and why some of the online tutoring companies are making multi-millions of dollars. But like many businesses and like many systems that have ever developed in the human history, the online tutoring system has also failed to escape the claws of its criticisers. True, a system will have some advantages as well as disadvantages, but the important point to be reckoned is whether the benefits are enough to outweigh the disadvantages of the system and whether the disadvantages could be reduced to a controllable limit after research and analysis.

Read about: The tutoring industry in the UK
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Let us look at the online tutoring industry in the UK. There are almost 1.5 million tutors who are now engaged in the industry and the number is growing owing to the ever increasing demand for the private tutors. For providing tuition in the UK, the teacher should possess some clearance as well as some qualifications mainly meant for the teachers. One of the most important of these is CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check. According to James Croft, Director of the Centre for Market Reform of Education, there could be some online tutors who are offering the online tutoring without this essential CRB check. According to him there is another problem, the online tutoring in the UK, has to be clean up is that some online tutors rate themselves more than what they are in reality. These two problems, for which a think tank of the organisation described above has already started a drive to clean up the industry, could prove to be detrimental to the students who are relying on the online tutoring.

Critiquing online tutoring
Education requires human touch – a tutor who can instil basic life skills

Online tutoring in the UK as well as in all over the world is still an unregulated market and hence the standardisation of the service of the online tutors is yet to be decided by some regulatory authorities. The lack of benchmark against which the service quality will be measured is another problem that the education system in the UK as well as in other countries.

On its ethical front, Ben Thomas, the head of Thomas’s Prep School in Battersea, south-west London has criticised this growing industry severely as he thinks that this after school tutoring of the children are making them overburdened and is “swallowing” their childhoods. Moreover, he is also convinced that the lack of standardisation of the quality of teaching as well as for the quality of teachers engaged in this industry is nothing but an “unregulated and unproven” tutoring.

The online tutoring and its access are also being criticised on another moral issue. As online tutoring is not as regulated in the UK as in the US, the critiques say that this form of tuition is providing an undue advantage to the children of wealthy persons who can spend money and get their tutors by just clicking their computer by sitting in the comfort of their home. Moreover, the rating of the schools is also meaningless, as according to the critiques, the students of the schools are performing well because of the tutoring facilities they are getting rather than the teaching they are receiving from their schools.

To be effective tutoring should be long term, but as revealed by the Institute of Education research, most of the hiring of the online tutors in the UK are done only at the time of examinations and naturally for a very short period ranging from few hours to few weeks. Although during this period the parents and the students expect that the online tutors will be performing some kind, fantastic jobs in clearing their concept as well as in answering their question, in reality, this becomes impossible for the online tutors.

A survey conducted by Emerging EdTech revealed that the students taking online tuition suffer from the technical drawbacks of this system of tuition. Taking online tutoring requires high-speed internet and sophisticated communication devices. Moreover, both the tutors and the student should be capable of using these systems with proficiency. The interactive software used by most of the online tutoring agencies is also sometimes proved to be a hurdle for the students to get their online lessons perfectly. Even the tutors may have a superior knowledge of his/her subject, but the lack of proficiency in using the sophisticated communication devices as well as the interactive software and whiteboard sometimes proved to be a hindrance to addressing the problem of the students efficiently and effectively.

Read about: Five excellent reasons to use online tutoring

Tanith Carey, when started investigating the effect of tuition on the children for his book Taming the Tiger Parent, found that private tutoring is not at all helping the students to perform better as against the traditional thinking that tutoring helps the children in achieving their educational fit. According to him, the reason for such finding is nothing but a mere fact that the tutors require no formal teaching qualifications who are offering their services as private tutors. This is a flaw that could be found for both the online tutors as well as the tutors who are tutoring in a face to face environment.

The most important point is probably raised by Noel, who has written the book Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys (published by Hodder in February 2014). According to him, every tutor should have a professional training child psychology before going to provide the tutoring service. As otherwise, it would be almost impossible for them to deal with a student who lacks confidence. When this is true for the tutors who give tuition in person, this argument raised by Noel is really tough to fulfil in case of online tutoring where, in most of the cases, the students and the tutors belong to different societies and sometimes to different nations ;and where it is impossible to have a direct and personalised interaction in between the tutor and the student.