The role of a tutor has transformed throughout centuries of British education and beyond. However, in recent years the education system and tutoring have been separated and the question is, why? Perhaps it’s time for tutoring to return to the fold and the art of educating to expand and develop into something more flexible and accessible
The role of a tutor
Tutoring has only become a modern practice in the past 20 years, but in that time the conversation around tutoring has dramatically changed. Speaking to Julia Silver, founder of Qualified Tutor, she describes a tutor as “an enabler, helping the student to learn and grow’ and she feels the role of a tutor will ‘shift with the needs of the student”.
‘Tutoring contributes to the academic outcomes celebrated by schools across the country, but tutors’ contribution is barely recognised at all.’ – Julia Silver, founder of Qualified Tutor.
Julia mentioned that “25% of students had a tutor in 2019, a number which has grown steadily since it was first tracked in 2016.” Based on these statistics, as well as the government looking to tutoring as a direct solution to student catch-up in a post-pandemic climate, it appears tutoring is stepping out of the shadows, and reclaiming its place as a pillar of the school system.
Additionally, tutoring isn’t just for the pupil, or the parent, but for the teacher. Not only does tutoring complement the traditional classroom teaching by providing better outcomes for children but it also relinquishes the heavy burden set upon teachers to achieve hundreds of results that excel expectations. Tutoring provides that additional support to assist learners who need extra help, eliminating the competitive nature of 30 students demanding the attention of one.
Another benefit for the teacher is becoming a tutor themselves. Tutoring can be an incredible outlet for teachers to enhance their practice and use their creativity, without the roadblocks of classroom management, the rigidity of the curriculum or the boundaries of school bureaucracy. It gives educators the opportunity to develop a broader skillset that can only improve what they deliver on a day-to-day basis in the classroom.
The future of education
Looking to the future, Lucy Spencer, founder of Education Boutique and Vice President of The Tutors’ Association, believes we’ll see a move “away from traditional large classrooms and a long, set day of classes plus homework in the evening”. Corporate businesses and companies making the move to a hybrid style of at home and in office working begs the question – can education follow suit? Lucy believes in “a blend of the traditional classroom, small groups and one-to-one coaching opportunities”, whether that be online or face-to-face, could be the future of education.
For the future of education, it’s time to move away from seeing teaching and tutoring as separate professions, but instead look to blend the traditional classroom with small groups and one-to-one sessions. Learning is not a one-size fits all. By combining tuition with teaching, we have an opportunity to identify, develop and nurture individual learning styles; allowing children to access knowledge on a deeper, more personal level.
The role of a tutor is a responsive one. “Tutors are here to complement schools and make the task of educating learners easier and more efficient.” Lucy continues, “We are all educators, and we are all on the side of the learner.” For the education system to grow and improve for the better, it must change. Teachers and tutors should all be considered educators, working together for the sake of future generations to come.