“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.” - Eliphas Levi
Whether you’re in a language class, private tutorials at home, catchup classes, or intensive classes, anyone of any age can improve themselves intellectually. More and more adults are opting to sign up for additional lessons in a variety of different subjects and paying for the help of a private tutor (like those on Superprof, for example).
In recent years, the private tutoring market in the UK has continued to grow. Whatever the reasons, tutors for adults have continued to become more popular and have helped many adults to rediscover their self-confidence, learn new skills, get ready for exams, and master foreign languages. There are plenty of advantages to being a private tutor!
Children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from learning new things and just because adults aren’t at school any more, it doesn’t mean that they can’t benefit from a bit of intellectual development. Private tutorials aren’t to make a student feel bad, but rather to help them become a better learner, learn new skills, and improve intellectually.
In our fourth article on teaching private tutorials to adults, we're looking at what teaching adults entails, the advantages of teaching adults rather than children, how you can enjoy a more profound relationship with your students, and the different teaching approaches you can enjoy using when teaching adults.
What’s Involved in Teaching Private Tutorials with Adults?
“I don't love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.” - Natalie Portman
Becoming a tutor for adults, be it in private tutorials, academic support classes, maths exam prep, or even job training can is often a hugely rewarding experience. In fact, children are often more restless and pay less attention than adults.
You’d imagine that most adults would be calmer and more reserved than children. Adults are expected to pay more attention for longer and, as a result, they tend to make more progress more quickly with a tutor than a child would.
Of course, the tutor needs to motivate as well. However, they can do so with less struggle than they may have with a child. While this might seem quite obvious, tutors will see a huge difference in the way they have to teach the two different age groups. That should clear a few things up!
There are a number of different qualities adults have that make them better learners than children. These include:
- Ease of learning
- Speed of assimilating new concepts
- A genuine interest in their own progress
- A passion for what they’re being taught
- A real dialogue with their tutor
In short, an adult is an “easier” student to teach than a child for the above reasons. The tutor will have less to worry about with adult students than with children. For one, classroom management tends to be much easier with adults than with children.
If you want to be an effective teacher of adults and a good educator, you're going to have to work on your own professional development, demonstrate a sound knowledge of different student learning strategies, implement engaging learning experience, create a good learning environment for students, and go about constantly improving the way you teach and your pedagogy.
Keep in mind that you mightn't always have a curriculum to follow. In fact, this means that you'll have to be more creative with your teaching strategies. Whereas a school teacher has a clear outcome for the year, your job might be to help your student to succeed in less tangible ways.
Advantages of Teaching Adults: A Student That’s More Receptive to Lessons
Without putting children down, adult classes can be more enriching for teachers since their pupil will have a similar age to them. They can concentrate more and for longer than their younger counterparts and cover more topics during their lessons.
This is one of the most obvious advantages of teaching adult students. Whether you’re teaching private tutorials at the students home in physics, maths, French, chemistry, or music, your adult students will spend a lot more time listening to you than a child would.
And what if you could also enjoy your job?
We tend to think that once you become an adult, you’ve learnt everything you’re going to learn. However, this isn’t the case!
It’s foolish to think we know everything or that we can’t learn anything else once we’ve reached adulthood. In fact, we just need something new to learn. New concepts, definitions, dates, and techniques are a lot more interesting than the ones we already know.
This is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching adult students; the fact that you can show them something new and watch them become enthusiastic learners. This is what the student gives back to the tutor, being more receptive and a willingness to learn new concepts and skills.
Advantages of Teaching Adults: Constructive Exchanges with the Tutor
Being more receptive means that the student is more involved in the lesson, unlike children and teenagers. This allows the tutor and student to regularly have more interesting discussions with one another. On the one hand, the tutor will always find themselves in front of an interested student who’ll ask more interesting questions, unlike what they probably get with young children and teens.
On the other hand, the student can get full and complex answers from their tutor who’ll do their utmost to fully explain everything. This deeper dialogue can make teaching more rewarding than it would be with kids.
The teaching methodology will be adapted and more appropriate to the student’s age and maturity. You can have more genuine conversations with adult students than you can with younger students. It’s not a good idea to treat adults like children, after all.
Advantages of Teaching Adults: Going Beyond Teaching
As you’ll have understood, teaching adults is stimulating and rewarding for both the tutor and the student. The relationship between the student and the teacher, due to having similar ages or both being adults, allows them to talk about things more easily and have engaging discussions on a given topic.
This dialogue will help make the tutorials more relaxing and strengthen the bond between the two of them. This is probably one of the biggest advantages of being this kind of tutor. It’s motivational for both parties!
Thus, a guitar lesson would be far more productive with an adult as they’d understand tablature more quickly and therefore be able to start playing sooner and play something more difficult in the next session. Similarly, in a maths lesson or a French class, they can comprehend more complex notions more easily, allowing them to learn more quickly.
Being able to assimilate new concepts quickly will allow them to:
- Advance in their studies more quickly and fluidly
- Spend more time analysing complicated concepts more deeply
- Have more constructive and productive discussions in and out of the classroom
- Make more progress with effective teaching methods
- Improve their self-confidence
After all that, you’re probably thinking that teaching private tutorials adults isn’t such a bad idea after all. In fact, thanks to all these advantages, the relationship between the tutor and the adult student will be focused on work, trust, achieving goals, and, above all, enjoying the teaching and learning new things.
The difference between good teachers and great teachers is that great teachers engage their students through a variety of different learning styles and approaches, are meticulous in their preparation, monitor their students' progress with regular evaluation, and make their students' learning their most important objective.
If you're interested in teaching private tutorials to adults or students, you can quickly and easily make your tutor profile on Superprof. You just need to say what you teach and where you teach it and you can then start looking for students.
There are three main types of tutorials you can offer: one-on-0ne private tutorials with just you and a single student, online private tutorials where you teach a student remotely via video conferencing software such as Skype, and group tutorials where you can teach several students at once, like in their place of work.
The last option allows you to charge less per student but earn more per hour. However, you need to be far more adaptable in your teaching as you've got several students to keep happy at once.