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What is tutoring?

As you are well aware, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the education community by essentially erasing two decades’ worth of academic progress. And the effects are still being experienced nearly four years later. Despite schools’ best efforts, learning loss grew exponentially for a variety of reasons. An unfamiliar remote learning environment and a significant increase in mental health and behavioral challenges were two of the primary drivers of learning loss. Test results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that reading and math scores among 9-year-olds have regressed to levels unseen for 20 years. 

When combined with annual summer learning loss, during which many students lose weeks’ worth of learning, the pandemic’s aftereffects created a perfect storm from which we’re all still recovering. And all these educational setbacks began to shine a bright light on ways to not only mitigate but also make up for this lost learning time. Accelerated learning—especially tutoring—came to the forefront and has proven to be effective in helping students bounce back academically. 

Tutoring is extra academic learning and support that can be delivered by a teacher, other school staff, an experienced peer, or a professional tutor. While popular perception depicts tutoring as simply the act of teaching students subject matter, there is much more to it. Tutors can also help students figure out how to learn as well as what to learn. They can work with students to create the learning process that works best for their individual learning style and are there to support students as they figure it out. 

Tutoring is at its most effective when the tutor and the student form a relationship built on trust and communication. If a student isn’t comfortable openly expressing his or her struggles to the tutor, the student will not get the help necessary for success. Creating an environment of trust and transparency is key to maximizing the student-tutor partnership. 

How does tutoring help students? 

Especially pertaining to learning loss, effective tutoring can go a long way toward catching students up with their work. This often requires high-dosage, intensive tutoring—preferably in a one-to-one situation—that will identify the areas of greatest need and then work to rebuild the skills and restore the lost learning in that particular subject. 

Once students are caught up, tutoring helps students focus on key skills and concepts that might be a struggle. By addressing these more specific areas of study, students can stay afloat with what is being taught in class and avoid falling behind. 

While tutoring is a wonderful tool for those who are struggling in class, it’s not reserved solely for those students. In fact, many high-achieving students seek tutoring for enrichment, to learn more, and to get ahead. Tutoring can be quite helpful when it’s focused on a particular skill or area of focus; it’s especially fruitful for high school students who want to get a jump-start on their college studies and career skills. 

What are the types of tutoring? 

Tutoring comes in a variety of forms. These include: 

  • One-to-one tutoring: This format tends to be the most effective type of tutoring because the focus is on one student and one student only. That allows the student and tutor to form a more personal relationship focused on specific areas of study and content that need addressing. With one-to-one tutoring, the tutor can better learn how the student works and learns, thereby adjusting the lessons accordingly for the most impact. 
  • Small-group tutoring: Also effective, small-group tutoring usually comprises one tutor and anywhere from two to four or five students. Small-group tutoring brings a peer-learning element to the session, where students not only learn from the tutor but their fellow students as well. While students won’t receive the level of individualized attention a tutor could provide in a one-to-one setting, small groups may still allow for some type of personalization and one-on-one time while other students in the group work. 
  • Group/Learning center tutoring: Presented in a classroom-style session, group/learning center tutoring often employs one tutor and several students. Again, students have the opportunity to learn from peers in this setting, but individual attention will likely be minimal. Students who struggle in a classroom environment may not benefit from this type of tutoring. 

Along with these types of tutoring, there are a couple of settings where tutoring commonly occurs. 

  • In-person: In-person tutoring can take place in a variety of spaces—at the student’s home, at the tutor’s home, at school, or in a library or community center. This type of tutoring is especially beneficial as the tutor can observe first-hand a student’s body language to help plot the course for a lesson. In-person tutoring also allows the tutor to ensure the student is focusing on the work. 
  • Online: While lacking some of the features inherent to in-person tutoring, online tutoring can be quite effective. It should be noted that online school and online tutoring are very different. With online tutoring, a student can receive one-to-one attention—with the benefit of technology and online tools to enhance the learning session. Online tutoring in a one-to-one format still allows the tutor to personalize each session to a student’s specific challenges and needs. 

What are the benefits of tutoring? 

Tutoring is quite beneficial in several ways. For starters, it provides students with the opportunity for individual, personalized attention and learning that they likely can’t receive in school. It also allows the student to work on a specific topic or subject outside the classroom with the goal of catching up and keeping up with the lessons being taught in the classroom. In addition to assisting students in areas of struggle, tutoring is also an excellent complement to regular studying in preparation for a test or exam and often leads to improved grades. 

While tutoring is certainly beneficial within the classroom, it also has plenty of value outside of school. For example, tutoring encourages and improves self-study, self-pacing, responsibility, communication, and independence, all traits that are critical to success in life outside of academics. But perhaps most importantly, tutoring can improve a student’s confidence and self-esteem as they gain the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the classroom. And with that confidence comes a newfound love for learning. 

What are the differences between teaching and tutoring? 

There is some overlap between teaching and tutoring, but they’re not entirely the same thing. For one, the environment is usually completely different. A teacher imparts knowledge and skills to their students in a classroom setting, usually consisting of anywhere from 10 to 25 students. Tutoring, on the other hand, can be as personal as one-to-one instruction or small-group sessions. 

One of the most important differences between tutoring and teaching, however, is the personalization of the instruction. For example, a teacher must accommodate the learning needs of several students all at once; a tutor in a one-to-one setting is able to form a lesson around each student’s specific strengths, struggles, personality, interests, and learning styles. This generally leads to more impactful instruction, which often results in better academic performance. 

Catapult Learning offers effective tutoring 

Catapult Learning’s High-Dosage Tutoring solutions are designed to accelerate learning in literacy and math for all K-12 students. High-Dosage Tutoring reinforces key skills in the current grade’s core content and provides additional supports when necessary. Studies show that students who experienced learning acceleration models had better outcomes versus those who only experienced remediation. Our tutors provide personalized, targeted support aligned to each student’s plan, and we conduct ongoing assessments to monitor progress. 

Best of all, our tutoring flexes to fit your school’s schedule—we can provide services before, during, or after school; on the weekend; or during the summer. Catapult’s tutoring solutions can be delivered with the same impact in-person, virtually, or a hybrid of both settings. Plus, we make sure that students receive the individualized attention they need by limiting our tutoring groups to a maximum of four students. 

To learn more about how Catapult Learning’s High-Dosage Tutoring solutions can impact your students, visit https://catapultlearning.com/programs/instruction/high-dosage-tutoring/.