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Tutoring Options: The Rise of “Traditional” Yet Modern Mode of Instruction

Over the years, the free-market of tutoring enterprises has grown exponentially. Private tutoring companies, for example, expanded and explored the options of delivering instruction face-to-face, or via “brick and mortar” tutoring where students physically engage with tutors at assigned setting, as well as providing online tutoring. Specifically for online tutoring, some tutoring companies even offering 24/7 services across the country to serve students who need immediate support - anytime, anywhere.

Tutoring providers who offer supplemental educational services or SES are also modifying their delivery of instructional support by providing more direct in-home, one-on-one services or private group tutoring. Students receiving these types of services benefit from assigned tutors to provide allocated number of hours for each student who attend school that does not meet the adequate yearly progress or AYP for three or more years.

The U.S. Department of Education defined SES as “additional academic instruction designed to increase the academic achievement of students in schools in need of improvement.” They can include tutoring and other supplemental academic enrichment services outside of the regular school day. SES tutoring providers can be from the public or private sector, but must be approved by the state.

Of course, depending on the types of services, families and students methodically select tutors that have specialized expertise, intended course focus, and educational background. Many students seek tutors for their experience with standardized testing, such SAT and ACT, while others require much-needed strategies and assistance due to learning disabilities or challenges. Some only need tutors that can provide homework help and academic support in specific course. Perhaps, a student struggles in Calculus or Biology, or need an instructor outside regular classroom to tackle the rigor of Advanced Placement courses.

Selecting tutors are as critical as choosing the student courses during freshman his or her year in high school to ensure balance of required classes versus extracurricular activities. It is as important as connecting with the appropriate tools, resources and support sooner than later in order to be prepared for the rigor in the classroom, pass the course requirements, and matriculate in time (or to some, graduate earlier than expected).

In previous articles, I’ve interviewed tutoring companies and in the midst of these interviews and research, I discovered the evolution of tutoring programs, services and practices. In midst of NCLB waivers, particularly schools and districts impacted, as well as students affected by the shift to the national Common Core State Standards, tutoring programs and services are repositioning themselves to meet the 21st century demands in this competitive global marketplace today.

I consider this an evolution of tutoring because what we’ve come to know as “traditional” continues to be redefined. Just as some educators comment how blended learning is becoming a traditional way of teaching students, traditional tutoring by modern definition involves what’s popularly practiced in and outside of the classrooms, similar to what technological trends are now commonly experienced and utilized by students.

One would argue, however, that online learning is still a fairly new way of teaching and connecting with students. Others, on the other hand, would say this is a traditionally innovative but rather contemporary form of learning and instruction since most households now engage in online or web-based interactions. We’ve seen this apparently with massive open online course or MOOC, which is an online course aimed with unlimited participation and open access through the internet.

If learning is being delivered at an “unlimited” space and offering wider access via the web, tutoring certainly has taken similar and expansive approach by reaching out to more and more students through online portal and platform.

This is good news for many tutoring companies, private and non-private, independent and state-run. The tutoring options are more diverse while meeting various learning styles. Certainly, it also increases opportunities for student access to receiving additional academic support.

Whether a student prefers in-home or private tutoring, going to tutoring centers, or participating in online learning platform, students almost have no excuse for finding such support. Although cost remains tied to some of these services, more and more tutoring companies try to make it as affordable as possible by billing students on an hourly basis (a few even offer per minute!) as opposed to committing the students to contracts or agreements.

Checking out the “right” tutor for students is the next step. Once you figured out what type of tutoring options you feel most comfortable to maximize learning opportunities, checking out the tutor that best fits your learning styles and needs will lead to a much better, productive tutoring experience.

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