The need for online tutoring in Sydney

The need for online tutoring in Sydney

Some Sydney schools have recently shifted all their lessons online (using platforms like Google Classroom, etc), and this is likely to soon become the norm for all schools in Sydney. What is particularly concerning is the quality of these lessons.

The education that children receive in a group setting within their schools is valuable in countless ways, but flawed. The teachers can’t possibly meet the unique needs of every student, or give them the amount of one-on-one attention they might require. That’s why tutors can make such a difference. Now, take that already flawed group situation, and put everyone in separate rooms – none of which are with the teacher, and often full of distractions. The sad fact is that while teachers are trying their hardest to do their best given the circumstances, and in many cases going above-and-beyond, the system in place right now just isn’t sufficient. I’ve spoken to my own students about their online schooling over the last week or so, and the large majority of the feedback I’ve received has been quite discouraging.

Students are at times left to their own devices and unable to get the same help if something is confusing. I don’t want any of our students to be left on their own, without additional help and inspiration! I’ve trialed online tutoring over the past few weeks and months, and it’s been hugely successful. In some cases, more successful than face-to-face lessons.

How does it work?
There are a number of ways to conduct lessons remotely. Videoconferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, MS Teams and so on are free to download, easy to use, and have screen sharing capabilities which make online tutoring easier than ever. I’ve also been utilising Google Drive, Google Docs, Slides, etc to share important materials. If preferred, lessons can also be as simple as talking over the phone.

What are the advantages?

  • Online tutoring is more convenient. Parents don’t need to worry about transport, driving their kids to centres, or getting to a tutor’s home. Driving means time and hassle, and you avoid both online.
  • Improved computer skills. Online tutoring provides an opportunity to engage with digital platforms. Students can develop new skills and use software that will become important later on in their lives given the ever-increasing shift towards working online.
  • The lessons are more focused. I myself had some early doubts about online tutoring but have been pleasantly surprised. I’ve found that several students who switched over from face-to-face to online/telephone tutoring have gotten more done during the lesson, were less distracted, and were more disciplined.
  • Conversations stay on track. In person, a tutor and student may inevitably engage in a bit of off-topic discussion throughout the lesson. Humans are social by nature, so it’s understandable. It also helps to build rapport. On the other hand, this can sometimes take the lesson off track. Online lessons are more focused on the task at hand.
  • Safety. While we’re all trying to keep Covid-19 under control, this is the safest way to help students keep up and excel in their work.

What are the limitations?

  • You don’t have the same opportunity to build and maintain rapport. It just means we’ll need to be a bit more deliberate and try a little harder. Given current circumstances, it’s a small price to pay for staying safe and well.
  • This approach might not work well for very young students, or students with learning difficulties.
  • In combination with the online lessons schools are currently delivering, it is a lot of time in front of a screen. However, until Covid-19 is under control, it’s necessary to ensure that students get the help they need. To help minimise this issue, we recommend that you try to place limits on the amount of screen time your child has outside of lessons with their school and tutor. Some TV/streaming is fine, but other parts of the day can be spent reading, completing puzzles, playing board games, playing musical instruments, painting/drawing, cooking, journaling, exercising, or learning a new skill.

After the experiences I’ve had with online tutoring I would definitely consider myself an advocate. However, it’s not the best approach for everybody. if you’re unsure or would like more information, we’re always just a phone call away.

Study Sphere are a team of in-home high school and primary school tutors based in Sydney’s North Shore and Northern Beaches. Please contact us to discuss how we can help.


The need for online tutoring in Sydney

Some Sydney schools have recently shifted all their lessons online (using platforms like Google Classroom, etc), and this is likely to soon become the norm for all schools in Sydney. What is particularly concerning is the quality of these lessons.

The education that children receive in a group setting within their schools is valuable in countless ways, but flawed. The teachers can’t possibly meet the unique needs of every student, or give them the amount of one-on-one attention they might require. That’s why tutors can make such a difference. Now, take that already flawed group situation, and put everyone in separate rooms – none of which are with the teacher, and often full of distractions. The sad fact is that while teachers are trying their hardest to do their best given the circumstances, and in many cases going above-and-beyond, the system in place right now just isn’t sufficient. I’ve spoken to my own students about their online schooling over the last week or so, and the large majority of the feedback I’ve received has been quite discouraging.

Students are at times left to their own devices and unable to get the same help if something is confusing. I don’t want any of our students to be left on their own, without additional help and inspiration! I’ve trialed online tutoring over the past few weeks and months, and it’s been hugely successful. In some cases, more successful than face-to-face lessons.

How does it work?

There are a number of ways to conduct lessons remotely. Videoconferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, MS Teams and so on are free to download, easy to use, and have screen sharing capabilities which make online tutoring easier than ever. I’ve also been utilising Google Drive, Google Docs, Slides, etc to share important materials. If preferred, lessons can also be as simple as talking over the phone.

What are the advantages?

  • Online tutoring is more convenient. Parents don’t need to worry about transport, driving their kids to centres, or getting to a tutor’s home. Driving means time and hassle, and you avoid both online.
  • Improved computer skills. Online tutoring provides an opportunity to engage with digital platforms. Students can develop new skills and use software that will become important later on in their lives given the ever-increasing shift towards working online.
  • The lessons are more focused. I myself had some early doubts about online tutoring but have been pleasantly surprised. I’ve found that several students who switched over from face-to-face to online/telephone tutoring have gotten more done during the lesson, were less distracted, and were more disciplined.
  • Conversations stay on track. In person, a tutor and student may inevitably engage in a bit of off-topic discussion throughout the lesson. Humans are social by nature, so it’s understandable. It also helps to build rapport. On the other hand, this can sometimes take the lesson off track. Online lessons are more focused on the task at hand.
  • Safety. While we’re all trying to keep Covid-19 under control, this is the safest way to help students keep up and excel in their work.

What are the limitations?

  • You don’t have the same opportunity to build and maintain rapport. It just means we’ll need to be a bit more deliberate and try a little harder. Given current circumstances, it’s a small price to pay for staying safe and well.
  • This approach might not work well for very young students, or students with learning difficulties.
  • In combination with the online lessons schools are currently delivering, it is a lot of time in front of a screen. However, until Covid-19 is under control, it’s necessary to ensure that students get the help they need. To help minimise this issue, we recommend that you try to place limits on the amount of screen time your child has outside of lessons with their school and tutor. Some TV/streaming is fine, but other parts of the day can be spent reading, completing puzzles, playing board games, playing musical instruments, painting/drawing, cooking, journaling, exercising, or learning a new skill.

After the experiences I’ve had with online tutoring I would definitely consider myself an advocate. However, it’s not the best approach for everybody. if you’re unsure or would like more information, we’re always just a phone call away.

Study Sphere are a team of in-home high school and primary school tutors based in Sydney’s North Shore and Northern Beaches. Please contact us to discuss how we can help.