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Home > About AAMT > Position statements > Tutoring > Tutoring – Further advice for parents > Tackle the problem – Outside assistance?

Tackle the problem – Outside assistance?

If your child’s teacher agrees that outside assistance may benefit your child, it is important to be well informed about the options available. These include:

  • regular (usually weekly) one-to-one sessions with a private tutor
  • regular (usually weekly) small group tutoring sessions (4–5 students)
  • commercially produced, computer-based tutoring systems.

Individual tutoring

All tutors should use current assessment tools to diagnose the particular mathematics causing your child’s problems and work to overcome these problems.

It is important to note that tutors may need to take your child ‘back’ to ‘fill in’ the conceptual gaps that may become apparent through these assessment tasks. As such, tutors may not complete the same work as your child is currently completing in their classroom. For this reason it is advisable for tutors to be in regular contact with classroom teachers so each is aware of the work that is being done with your child.

One crucial role for the tutor is to build your child’s confidence in doing mathematics. A child who feels more confident will be more able to cope in class, more willing to ‘have a go’, and more likely to seek help from their teacher.

They can also help your child develop strategies and tactics to work independently on mathematics, how to approach problem-solving, working out when do they need to ask for help and when to try again with a particular problem.

Group tutoring

The focus of one-to-one tutoring is likely to be mostly on your child’s specific learning needs; this is less likely to be the case in group tutoring.

Whilst small group face to face sessions may be able to assist your child, individual attention is obviously more beneficial.

Also be aware that some franchise tutoring companies promote repetition as the way of learning mathematics. Whilst this is an approach that may appear to help some children, it may also lead to your child being unable to gain a true understanding of the connections between mathematical concepts within the curriculum. This often makes mathematical learning as children progress through school more difficult.

Computer-based tutoring programs

It is more difficult for computer-based packages to be connected with what is happening in your child’s class and their exact learning needs.

While the student’s confidence may grow as they experience success in these programs, there is a risk that they may find it difficult to translate the knowledge from the computer-based environment to their classroom learning.

An emphasis on repetition to learn mathematics may also be a feature of these packages. Be aware that some computer-based packages provide and charge for material and information that may not be relevant to your child’s needs.

Selecting a tutor

Finding a suitable tutor can sometimes be difficult. Ask the child’s teacher if they or the school can recommend anyone.

Private tutors often advertise in the local newspaper and on the Internet, but often the best way is through personal recommendations from friends, family or your school.

It is reasonable for you to ask any potential tutor for their qualifications and evidence of a successful track record. You should also sight a current police check certificate.

It may be a good idea to have a trial period: e.g., one term. This will enable you to gauge how the tutoring is going in the eyes of your child and the tutor.

Remember to monitor your child’s progress by keeping in regular contact with their classroom teacher. A few months of focussed work may be all that is needed to get your child’s mathematics back on track.

Cost of tutoring

Cost is an important issue. Outside help can be expensive.

The hourly rate for a suitably qualified tutor means that the outlay can soon mount up.

With this in mind, remember to follow the above advice and constantly monitor your child’s progress to make sure the approach is working.