Online or Face-to-Face Tuition – which is best?

Up until Covid, I had never even considered online to be an option for Learn and Bloom. Now 3 years on, and many thousands of hours on Zoom later, I think very differently.

I have tried to explain the benefits of both below and answer some of the frequently asked questions people have especially about online lessons.

Before Covid, face-to-face was all we knew. We felt teaching was something done in person and that was essential for rapport and progress. Now, we have time to reflect and consider alternatives. In many ways, this has changed how we think about learning and tutoring for good. As with anything in life, there will always be pros and cons. I have outlined these as I see them below.

As with all Education, the child’s needs should be number one. You know your child best and what will work well for them but hopefully this will help to help you make an informed decision.

These are the main advantages I see of face-to-face lessons:

Use of concrete resources – especially in maths. This can include things like place value counters, dienes, and clock faces. Real books for many children make a huge difference.

Some children find it more relaxing having the teacher in front of them, they need that constant engagement of a physical person in front of them and the fact you can get up and move learning around if you need to.

Ability to physically write together and watch the pupils writing work. For some pupils who have tutoring for writing, online can be a challenge. Whilst we can type, some need support with letter formation or joining practice and really this is an in-person skill.

There are certain learners, I believe, for whom face-to-face is much more successful or I would even say possibly essential.

  • Younger learners who need lots of practical resources
  • It’s also great for kinaesthetic (hands-on/practical) learners who need to use resources, move around, and change learning areas in the session.
  • Learners who need a change of scenery for their learning environment as not everyone wants to do their ‘work’ at home.

So, what about online?

What are the key benefits we have discovered in the last few years about this way of learning?

Tutors can be matched to the child not just location. So based on your child’s need a tutor can be allocated from anywhere.

Children can take ownership of their learning (especially older ones) and log on themselves and we have found over the months often teach the tutors extra things that can be done online.

The range of resources at the click of a button is huge, in any one lesson we can have access to super interactive maths resources to wonderful rich texts for reading work.

We can annotate on the screen which many children think is fun and it means we can watch how they process something, any errors or misconceptions and work on these.

Very fast-paced – the online lessons cover so much more ground in a short space of time. There is no breathing space and so we cover more content in the session much of the time.

So who is Online learning best for?

Most KS2 pupils upwards and some KS1- there are some younger learners who love the online and cope with it wonderfully, many KS2 upwards also love it.

Pupils who love being online and can engage well with it- as a generation of children who are so savvy with technology now, many love their lessons in this way and don’t find the lack of a face-to-face teacher any different.

Anyone who likes interactive games and activities and needs to change activity regularly.

Families with lots of clubs and commitments who want to minimise additional travel times.

In my experience, I would say online works so well for MOST children.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions/ concerns we get about online tutoring:

Can you teach as effectively over a computer?

The short answer to this question is YES! Using things like the whiteboard on Zoom and the interactive tools meaning you can draw on the screen, you can model and teach in exactly the same way you would face to face. Strangely, the interaction doesn’t feel any less valuable than face-to-face. We still get to know them well and talk about all manner of things as well as doing our learning.

Do the children keep focus?

For most of the children YES, possibly even more so. The pace of the lessons is quite fast and chops and changes therefore they are always doing new things. For some, especially the younger pupils, it maybe is harder as they would prefer concrete resources in front of them. We can chop and change with the needs of the learner and so keep it fast and engaging.

How can you see what my child is doing?

The interactive element of online makes this easy (only google chrome books don’t allow this feature) also we can ask them to work something out on paper and explain their reasoning as they go. Once they are doing this, they are reinforcing their learning by talking back through it like a teacher, embedding their learning further.

Do you still get the pupil-teacher bond when online?

100%. I teach a variety of pupils I have never met in person; however, we know each other just as well. To the point, I forget we have never actually met! As Learn and Bloom tutors we love getting to know your children and whether online or face-to-face we pride ourselves on this.

Will it be just like virtual learning at school?

NO! As we recommend one-to-one for online (we do shared lessons on request face-to-face). We tailor it to your child exactly. It also gives us that interaction time to talk about them and get to know them, so it is very personal.

Even some of our group sessions, like the writing clubs, are very personal, we get to know the children, and they can talk about the lessons and comment and help inspire ideas. It is not about sitting and watching someone teach, it is an interactive, two-way process.

Which do you prefer as a tutor?

I love face-to-face and would never have even considered online but as the year has gone on, I’ve got so used to online that I enjoy them the same. I think online is a little more intense at times, the rapid pace can be a little harder, but both are equally as rewarding.

What is the best thing for you about online?

The fact it has brought me epic teachers from far and wide. We have tutors from as far south as Cornwall and in the midlands around Leicester. Plus, we have lots of tutors available in Cambridgeshire but the best part is, we can teach pupils from the UK and abroad. This is something I couldn’t have done before. It has expanded Learn and Bloom in such an exciting way.

We are looking to expand into the international field as we know our teaching expertise can help so many pupils not just here, in the UK. We want to share our Learn and Bloom ethos far and wide.

What should I look for when looking for online tuition?

With an increasing number of companies popping up to offer online tutoring, I would say do your research. Here at Learn and Bloom, we offer an initial free consultation to find out more about your children. I would argue this is essential. You want an online tutor matched to exactly what your child needs. Not just who is free. You want to know you are paying for a skilled teacher, who has your children’s well-being as their priority. You also want to know the sessions are fun and interactive and that the tutor makes an effort to get to know your child as this will make the whole learning experience a pleasure.

Please do not hesitate to ask us more. Get in touch here and find out how we can help your child further.

Good luck in your tutoring journey.

 

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