“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” - Bruce Lee

Generally speaking, struggling academically, a drop in self-esteem, a fear of school, and the high potential of students with special educational needs are all things that apply to both children and adults. As a result of this, traditional private home tutoring has expanded to include tuition for all ages.

More and more adults are learning more, improving their memory, and seeking educational fulfilment. There’s an increasing amount of professional training taking place in businesses through tutoring services such as private one on one tutoring, workshops, and even online tutoring.

These are an opportunity for adults to learn something they may have missed in school, gain new skills, or get training for their current job from a qualified and passionate private tutor.

But what are the differences between teaching adults and teaching children? How can a tutor set up their classes for both?

In our third article on teaching adults with private tutorials, we're looking at the reasons why you should, the difference between teaching adults and children, and the different teaching styles you'll need to employ.

Why Should Adults and Children Get Private Tutorials?

Regardless of a student’s age, there are plenty of trials and tribulations throughout their academic career. Whether they have behavioural problems and are struggling at school or have a high IQ, anyone can benefit from private tutorials.

What are the best methods for teaching children?
Whatever the age of the student, the tutorial needs to be informative and engaging. (Source: sasint)

This type of tuition is mainly geared towards helping students improve, gain knowledge in a particular field be it sports, maths, or even mindfulness meditation. They need to be open to learning, making mistakes, and following the guidance of their tutor.

When you consider the traditional lessons anchored in the national education system, tutorials for adults and children have more of a personal touch and can go at a pace more suited to each student. Intellectual development is more widespread than ever.

Of course, there are a number of differences between tutorials for adults and tutorials for children which the tutor needs to keep in mind. In fact, an adult won’t necessarily have the same intellectual abilities as a child and they may even suffer from special educational needs that require a different teaching approach altogether.

A child is probably more curious than an adult and will probably ask more questions. They’ll also probably struggle with certain concepts more than an adult would. The way an adult and a child will work won’t be the same so their tutor will need to ensure that they’ve adapted their lessons to them.

In short, whether the lessons are for an adult or a curious child, the goal is to help them progress in a given subject, fill in any gaps in their knowledge, and give them the necessary skills to succeed. You need to instil the student with a sense of confidence and fulfilment, which are some of the main goals of teaching private tutorials.

Make sure you know how to adapt to your goals.

How Do You Teach Private Tutorials to Children?

Tutorials for children are about discovery. There’s no place for timidness when their school results are on the line. A lack of self-confidence can really harm a child’s progress.

This is more important than it will be in adult classes and the tutor will need to know how to react and adapt to it. The right teaching approaches will help the student become a confident learner.

How do you adapt your lessons to different ages?
There's nothing stopping you from teaching a variety of different ages. (Source: sasint)

Even if a child is unpredictable, you need to be a master of the subject you’re teaching, plan as much as you can, and get the most out of the time you spend with your students in order to develop their skills and keep them engaged in the learning process. You can only engage students in what you’re teaching if you’re passionate about your subject and your work.

Presentation skills are an art form and are key when it comes to keeping children and teenagers enthusiastic about your lessons. Parents are also happier if their child returns from your lessons with a smile on their face as it means that the tutor has kept them engaged and productive during the lesson.

Teaching is a rich and complex pursuit which requires adaptability of heroic proportions at times. In fact, whether you’re teaching an adult or a child, you need to manage their expectations and their ambitions at all times. Whether it’s a gifted child, an introverted adult, or struggling teens, everyone needs to be active and involved in their learning.

To do this, you need the right training and experience in order to put together lessons that are adapted to the students. Curious children will want a lot more information than adults. You don’t want them leaving the lessons feeling that they haven’t fully understood something.

Find your first job, start to teach English online.

What Happens in Adult Private Tutorials?

Of course, an adult can also get private tutoring. There are a number of reasons adults may require tuition, including:

  • New training
  • Starting a new job
  • Developing new knowledge on a given subject
  • Learning something new
  • Occupying their free time
  • Stimulating themselves intellectually
  • Making friends
  • Etc.

As you can see here, there are plenty of good reasons for adults to get private tutoring. A tutor can provide them with the support they need and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. A tutor needs to remain professional and distance themselves from their students at times. After all, they’re their teacher, not their friend.

How old do you have to be to get private tutorials?
Students of any age can get private tutorials. (Source: StockSnap)

So what is the relationship like between a tutor and adult students?

This is probably one of the most important questions to ask.

How can you retain your authority in front of a student with a similar age to you?

In this case, you need to be the guide and a master of the subject you’re teaching, regardless of age!

Let’s not forget that one of the main goals of tuition is to transfer knowledge of a subject or technique to a student who isn’t a master of it. A beginner will always pay more attention to something they don’t know, regardless of their age or job. After all, it’s our curiosity and perfectionism that drives us to learn.

If you're providing academic tutoring or test prep, you'll need to focus on the student's curriculum and ensure that the instruction you provide prepares those being tutored for the exam they're going to sit. These kinds of tutorials could include helping students with homework, study skills, or a particular assignment.

That said, no two tutoring jobs are alike and you may find yourself teaching a small group in a classroom something very specific, especially in the fields maths and science where you could end up teaching subjects like algebra, chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, geometry, etc.

Teaching Adults and Children: Different Teaching Styles with the Same Fundamentals

Even if teaching adults and children require different approaches, the fundamentals of teaching that the lessons are based on will remain the same. For example, if you talk about Shakespeare to an adult and a child, they’ll both think of the same person but they’ll have vastly different ideas and opinions on the matter.

How do you teach children?
The main goal of all tutorials, regardless of a student's age, is to transfer knowledge and skills. (Source: freestocks-photos)

Everything comes down to how you transfer information to the student so that they can clearly understand and learn it. You’re there to provide the appropriate teaching approaches for what they’re learning, after all.

You need to take all of this into account when teaching since your job isn’t to just lecture your student and then go home. Quite the contrary, you need to engage your student in their learning, have them form their own opinions, ask questions, develop your skills, etc.

Thus, whether you’re teaching an adult or a child, there are different ways to present similar teaching approaches as you’re not teaching the same students. Teaching is a rewarding and varied vocation which is why we're seeing more and more people becoming private tutors.

If you're interested in becoming a private tutor and working for yourself, you can quickly and easily make yourself a profile on Superprof. You just need to say what you teach and where you teach it.

You can then start offering either one-on-one private tutorials, tutorials via webcam using software such as Skype, or group to tutorials to students of any age. Of course, if you want to offer group tutorials via webcam, everyone's going to need a really good internet connection!

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.