Moms: Have you fallen into the trap of making your child ‘learn’ English via podcasts, YouTube, the dictionary, and so on?
While these are great for supplementing your child’s English skills, they don’t lay the foundation for speaking the most common language in the world. Statistics point that in 2023, 1.5 billion people worldwide speak English (either natively or as a second language):
If you want your child to understand the nuances and proper usage of the language, English tutoring is your best bet. In this guide, we will highlight six tips you can leverage to hire an ace tutor instead of simply Googling: “English tutoring near me.” Right, let’s get to it.
But First, Why Go for an English Tutor?
Think about this: Finding the right English tutor for your child is critical. After all, they will stay with your child all the way through the 12th grade!
But why hire an English tutor in the first place?
Aside from the obvious benefits of teaching your child English vocabulary, English tutoring can assist your child in understanding how to ‘compose’ their writing:
- They will learn how to put their ideas together logically
- They can get inspiration for writing with the help of a tutor
Essay writing is an important component of English and requires extensive research. However, finding genuine sources is easier said than done — even in today’s age of information overload. The English tutor can help your child to:
- Find accurate research sources that go beyond Wikipedia
- Cite sources correctly
- Write well-informed content that’s plagiarism-free and AI-free
Let’s face it: the English language is such that your child will either love it or hate it! Grammar complexities, Shakespearean language, and conflicting rules are to blame.
On the off chance that your child is in the latter group, stimulating their interest in the language is key. And this is where private English tutoring can help ignite their interest in the subject.
Being verbally exceptional in English is as important as having a flair for the written word. An English tutor can instill confidence in the child to speak their thoughts without fear of judgment or ridicule.
The list is endless. Now, let’s move on to the real question: “How to choose the right English tutor for your child?”
English Tutoring: Six Strategies for Hiring the Right Tutor for Your Child
Strategy #1: Ask: Why Does Your Child Need a Tutor?
Before you go on a quest to interview tutors, you need to first understand what your child’s learning goals are. Sit with your child and brainstorm on the following questions:
- What areas is my child struggling in with English skills — is it reading, writing, grammar, or all?
- Why are my child’s grades in English consistently lower than in other subjects?
- Does my child get frustrated or anxious during English assignments? And why?
- Why does my child want to improve their English skills?
- What kind of additional support does my child need for developing English skills?
- Is hiring an English tutor within my budget?
- Can a tutor help boost my child’s confidence in English?
- Are there specific language goals I want my child to achieve with a tutor?
- How will tutoring improve my child’s academic performance in English?
- What does a ‘qualified’ English tutor mean for my child?
Once you have all the answers, distill the information and create your English tutoring end goals, which can look something like this:
- Improving the child’s grades
- Boosting their confidence
- Preparing for standardized tests
- Developing advanced language skills
Strategy #2: Don’t Forget About Your Budget & Timing Needs
The next most important factor to consider is the frequency and length of the English tutoring classes. Will your child need tuition for more than 3x a week? What should the duration of the class be?
Note that according to research, “distributed practice is better than massed practice to boost long-term learning and retention for your child.” So, space out the classes, aim for shorter lessons, and ensure your child engages in effective learning.
Depending on your child’s personalized learning goals, you can allocate a specific budget for the English tutor.
Strategy #3: Research, Research, and Research.
Another area which will require a fair amount of time in researching the tutor’s credentials:
- Look out for their qualifications and recent certifications
- Understand the kind of experience they have in teaching English
- Check their degrees in English as well as related fields
- Ask for references and reviews from other parents to gauge their effectiveness
Strategy #4: Assess the Tutor for Their Teaching Style + Compatibility
As mentioned earlier, teaching English goes beyond story-telling prowess. You want a tutor who understands your child’s intrinsic strengths and weaknesses to instill confidence in speaking, writing, and reading English.
Here are some tried and tested tips on how to assess an English tutor’s teaching style:
- Interview potential tutors to assess their compatibility with your child.
- Look for out the tutor’s communication skills and see if there’s a good rapport between the tutor and your child.
- Enquire how the tutor aims to adapt their teaching methods to suit your child’s learning style. You must also ask about:
- Their teaching philosophy and approach to English education
- Whether they prefer a more traditional approach and want to focus on grammar and vocabulary or whether they employ a more holistic approach to teaching, which involves reading, writing, and speaking
- Request to observe a tutoring session (in-person or online) so that you can get a firsthand experience of how the tutor:
- Interacts with your child
- Explains concepts
- Manages the session
- Ask the tutor to provide you with a sample lesson plan so that you get insights into:
- The tutor’s organization skills
- The way they are structuring the lessons and modules
- The topics they plan to cover
- How the tutor plans to align their teaching, educational material, and your child’s personalized learning needs and goals
Strategy #5: Feedback is Your Best Friend.
The best way to gather intel about the prospective English tutor is to speak with parents and students who have engaged with the tutor. Here is a laundry list of things to ask:
|Criteria||Questions to ask|
|1. Overall Experience||Can you share your overall experience with [the tutor’s name]?|
|2. Improvement and Progress||Have you noticed any improvement in your child’s English skills since they started tutoring?What specific changes and progress have you seen in your child’s language abilities?|
|3. Teaching Style||Could you describe the tutor’s teaching style?Does the tutor adapt their teaching approach to suit each child’s needs? How so?|
|4. Communication + Feedback||How does the tutor communicate with you, and do they proactively keep you informed about your child’s progress?Is the tutor receptive to your feedback?|
|5. Homework and Assignments||Does the tutor assign additional homework? Is the workload reasonable?Does the homework align with what your child is learning in school?|
|6. Rapport with the Child||How does the tutor interact with your child during the tutoring session?Does your child seem comfortable and engaged during the session?|
|7. Flexibility and Scheduling||Is the tutor flexible with last-minute scheduling? Do they readily accommodate your child’s needs?|
|8. Resource Use||Does the tutor use any particular textbooks or online resources that you find helpful for your child’s learning?|
|9. Results and Achievements||What kind of progress have you seen in your child over the years?Do you feel that the tutoring has positively impacted your child’s English education? In what way exactly?|
|10. Recommendation||Would you recommend the tutor to other parents looking for an English tutor?Is there anything else you think I should know about the tutor before making a decision?|
Strategy #6: Do Not Ignore’ the Tutor’s Dialect and Accent
As strange as this strategy may seem, remember that your tutor’s accent and dialect can potentially influence that of your child. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Determine whether the tutor’s dialect and accent align with the type of English proficiency your child needs.
- Listen to the tutor’s clarity of speech. While accents can be enriching, an extremely strong or unfamiliar accent can hamper the way your child consumes–and understands–the study material.
- Honestly, speak to the tutor about adapting their accent and dialect if needed. Note that a tutor who is experienced in teaching English as a second language (ESL) is generally skilled at adjusting their pronunciation to support learners from various language backgrounds.
English Tutoring Can Motivate Your Child to Achieve Their Learning Goals
By now, you must have understood that English tutoring is not simply about your child being able to write Ivy-worthy essays. The roots of excelling in English go far beyond the written word — it lies in confidence-building. So embrace the English tutoring strategies mentioned above and make them your own. If your child starts loving the English language thanks to good tutoring, half the battle is won. Good luck!