“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” - Brad Henry
We often say that private tutorials, be them individual private tutorials or group private tutorials, are a special moment for students to learn, fill in gaps in their knowledge, and progress in a given subject.
In fact, a large number of children have taken private tutorials and are getting private tutorials in order to help them through primary school, secondary school, college, sixth form, and even university.
So how can you organise private tutorials to small groups?
Here is our advice for private tutors wanting to teach groups, how they can effectively provide instruction to groups, and the types of learning strategies they should employ to optimise the student learning process.
How Can You Prepare Your Private Group Tutorials?
Providing academic support is often presented as the ideal jobs for students looking to make ends meet. That said, this isn’t necessarily true as more and more people are tutoring as a full-time job.
Of course, private tutoring is a better-paid student job than working in retail. However, we don’t always know exactly how to put our ideas into practice and plan a lesson that will help the student the get the most out of the time they spend with their tutor.
Preparing lessons is an essential part of providing quality private tutorials to both individuals and groups.
In fact, the goal of academic support is to refocus students who are struggling during the school year, motivate them, and give them more time to get the most out of educational resources. That’s not all, though.
If a student contacts you immediately for private tutorials to help them study for an exam, improve in a subject they’re struggling in, learn a language, or catch up with lessons they’ve missed, you’re going to have to plan your lessons for that particular learner.
At this point, you won’t really know the student’s level or what kind of teaching strategies you can use. You should consider doing a level test with the student, getting to know them, and seeing what teaching and learning styles they'd prefer.
The internet is a useful resource for finding exercises for your new student to do. A quick online search will provide you with a plethora of websites with worksheets, lesson plans, and activities for your students to do.
For younger secondary school subjects, you’re going to have to ensure that your lessons are fun, engaging, instructional, and take place in active learning environments where students participate in a series of tasks and learning activities that make use of their thinking skills. After all, struggling students don’t want their lessons to feel like school, they want to have fun and be taught in a different way to school. For example, teachers often try to make maths more interesting and demonstrate how these concepts can be applied in the real world.
Tutors can ask the student’s parents which particular topics they’re struggling with beforehand. Between each lesson throughout the year, here are some of the steps you should follow for preparing your lessons:
- Prepare a review of the previous tutorial
- Elaborate on the key concepts (elicit definitions, examples, create mind maps, etc.)
Prepare a list of exercises (maths problems, vocabulary lists, conversation topics for conversation classes, etc.)
- Dedicate part of the class to teaching theory.
- Create a list of questions designed to test the students’ understanding of the topics covered.
Teaching several students at once means that you have to get the students to cooperate. You need to get them to work in groups, correct one another, and invite them to think about their answers. The objective for each student in private tutorials is to no longer require them.
Do you know how much you should charge for private tutorials?
What Resources Do You Need to Plan Private Group Tutorials?
Don’t show up to a lesson empty-handed. It’s important the classroom has the necessary equipment to teach:
- A table or two
- A board
- A computer connected to the internet
You also need to ensure that the classroom or wherever you’re teaching is well-lit, calm, and clean. Normally, group classes organised by agencies will take place in the agency’s own classrooms.
The teacher should also take care of their own appearance, too. It probably seems obvious, but a teacher needs to look impeccable as students will notice if you don’t. In every country in the world, especially in western cultures, beauty and image is at the forefront and your appearance could harm your tutoring business if you aren’t well-presented. Make sure that you’re groomed, clean, and smiling when you first meet students and parents as you only have one chance to make a first impression. It may seem stupid, but that’s just the way things are.
Additionally, a good firm handshake goes a long way. It’s a sign of confidence and a non-verbal sign that you’re someone to be trusted and a competent teacher. Finally, make sure you dress appropriately for the type of lesson you're going to be teaching.
Sociologists have been very clear that the way you behave and look has a massive bearing on people perceive you. Posture and gestures are fundamental because they act as a mirror of the habitus, a concept in psychology and sociology that describes the inherent behaviours of social classes and individuals.
Finally, here's some advice for tutors to get off on the right foot:
- Create a positive learning environment: immediately correcting students errors can be harmful to their motivation.
- Encourage the group: congratulate students for good results. Regularly evaluating students will allow you to create more opportunities during the learning experience to reward them for a good outcome.
- Illustrate with examples: this stimulates memory and makes things easier to remember.
- Play a guessing game: use questions to check that the students have learnt the key points of the lesson.
A guessing game can show you whether or not the students have grasped certain concepts just by asking them some simple questions about the definitions of certain topics.
Where should group tutorials take place?
Check out our article on where you can teach group tutorials.
What Group Lessons Should Entail
So you’ve got your materials and you’ve arrived at your class, now what?
Whether you’re teaching 2, 4, 5, 8, or 10 students, you need to ensure each student concentrates for the whole hour. Whether it’s an English, geography, history, science, or foreign language lessons, each lesson needs to be seamless, engaging, and educational.
We didn’t say it was going to be easy. However, you need to be aware that the students won’t be able to constantly learn and concentrate for an hour and a half or two hours. That’s why we recommend a small break at the end of each activity so the students can relax.
Here’s how a typical group class could go:
- Recalling the previous lesson.
- Introducing the resources that are going to be used in the session (texts, graphs, visual resources, audio or videos, etc.).
- Exercises and practical work (in pairs or small groups).
- Discussing problems that arose and ways of solving them.
- Applying lessons learnt during the exercises.
- Error correction.
- Setting homework for the next session.
There are plenty of interesting teaching techniques you can use as an educator in both private individual and group tutorials to promote cooperative learning and engage your students in their own cognitive development.
The tutor needs to ensure that they’re transferring knowledge to their student by allowing them to discover things for themselves, giving them the opportunities, resources, and drive to do so.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980), the founder of genetic epistemology, left his mark on child development and learning. For him, teaching theory in class isn’t enough for the individual to assimilate new knowledge and master it. It’s better to use tried and tested teaching approaches such as applying knowledge, experimentation, and demonstration.
For struggling students getting academic support for foreign languages or science, for example, you need to give them the drive to learn by using interesting resources and approaches. Students can choose which activities they want to do for the amount of time they want to do them, for example.
You need to give them the choice of several activities and get them involved in their own learning. Make sure that you regularly assess the effectiveness of different instructional strategies and involve the student in improving them.
If you're interested in teaching groups, why not create your own tutor profile on Superprof?
You can offer individual tutorials, online tutorials via webcam, or group tutorials. There are plenty of advantages to teaching private tutorials. By searching a subject and a place, potential students will be able to find you easily!