Online Tutoring

Mathematics, Dyscalculia and home schooling

How does online tutoring work?

  • Video-audio call using Zoom. An early adopter I’ve used Zoom since 2016.
  • Shared digital paper – Collaborative digital paper BitPaper where both student and tutor write, type, copy-paste questions and interact.

My online tuition lessons pack in more value and information than in person lessons. Something I have been saying for over half a decade now. Long before the Covid-19 pandemic.

An image of maths tutoring online showing digital paper BitPaper.

International GCSE online maths tutoring using BitPaper.

Benefits of online tutoring over in person tutoring

Having tutored for a few years online, I believe well delivered online tutoring is better than in person or face to face tuition. Why?:

  1. Significantly increased articulation : Students articulate in spoken word more online than in person and ask more questions when stuck. This increased articulation has a double benefit; for the student what they thought they were thinking turns out to be different when they actually articulate their learning process, this is of immense benefit to the student. The other benefit to me as tutor is that I get a much better sense of where the student is at in their learning journey. Paradoxically the distance provides for the ultimate relaxed environment with social pressure being reduced considerably (See point 3).
  2. Closely related to the above point is that the children of today are growing up in an entirely new environment than any child has ever grown up before. They are using and interacting with screens and technology daily. I had a student diagnosed ADD and she was more attentive to what I had to say to her and ask her to do when we went online on screen compared to when I used to tutor her in person. Once the parent saw that I ended up tutoring her other two siblings online as well.
  3. No social pressure : “I’ll do the past paper later when you are not watching me do the paper as I will get stressed if I start getting things wrong with you watching me” my in person student told me so very honestly! An adult sitting next to a student and watching a student write and work things out creates a type of social pressure for students when they might not have fully assimilated the content. Of course the best tutors can make that process more comfortable, but in many cases students want to mull over and make mistakes in their own space. With online tuition I only see the student’s written work when they feel absolutely ready to show me their work either on the online whiteboard or on their paper. What a relief for the student not to feel the pressure of someone watching their mistakes.
  4. Students are more relaxed : This is perhaps repeating the previous point in a different way. I have tutored exactly the same student one day face to face and the other day online. They are so much more relaxed online than face to face. Something about the distance and the lack of my physical presence in the room really helps. To a 9 year old I am a large adult twice their size, but on a screen I am a tiny moving and talking picture. I have had some students be like almost different people when I tutored them online compared to when I tutored them in person.
  5. Taking ownership of learning : Online the emphasis is on the student to take the initiative a little bit more, write out things and Google search videos or facts that I ask them to do. This is far more powerful than me doing it for them, which is what I did when I was tutoring face to face. Even with students as young as 9, I am finding students absolutely relish taking the driver’s seat. I am of course carefully guiding them to ensure they are learning correctly but just a subtle shift in initiative seems to have got great results.
  6. Available even at school or on holiday : Students can be taught during their homework time, even if they are boarding or have some free times in lessons like many sixth formers do – And indeed with the school’s full consent, I tutor many students while they are still at school. To look at maths issues as and when they arise is far far more effective than waiting until the holidays to then tutor students. In effect, the school and online tutors can be partners in teaching.
  7. Bitesizsing lessons is a breeze : I homeschooled an A Level student an hour at a time every 4 days. Previously I could have only done two hours twice face to face to save on my travelling time. I have found that regular bitesized lessons are more effective than heavy but less frequent sessions.
  8. Find the best tutor : The first 6 points were about why online tuition is better for the student. However, the student-tutor system must be taken into account, both the convenience of student and tutor. Why settle for a tutor who is ‘good enough’ within the 10 mile radius around you? Get the very best tutor you can find online instead, your choice of the very best tutors out there is now practically unlimited. You can now get the best tutor for your child irrespective of geography.
  9. Cutting out travel time means you get straight to business : Travelling to get to face to face tuition is tiring for the tutor, or for the student if they travel to the tutor. It is sunk and wasted time, and takes energy. Public transport and roads are unpredictable, so timings can get messed around. Online tuition is zero fuss in the comfort of both the tutor’s and student’s own home.
  10. Be saved from colds and germs : Students pick up germs and colds from school, which helps them spread even faster. Of course tutors can also have colds and colds can be passed on without even the student or tutor realising since the cold was still in its incubation period and neither party were aware of its onset. Germs cannot be transmitted online. Additionally, if the student is recovering from a cold, but not good enough to have a face to face lesson, an online one works like a charm. I had one student who unfortunately struggled with unexplained headaches, face to face it was very hit and miss tutoring her. Online she could be relaxed in her own space and still be learning. While not ideal, this turned out to be far better than face to face tuition.

Want to know more about my online tuition? Just contact me and send an email.