Before you find a tutor, there is an essential first step: knowing your level.
This will give you the best chance of finding the right tutor for you and your goals.
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment” - Lao-Tzu
During the first lesson, a good home tutor will take the time to evaluate your academic skills, but to find this, you need to know where to look.
Do you have a good knowledge of French but haven’t practised since university? How can you be sure of your level?
Don’t fret! We at Superprof are here to help you find the best kind of one on one tutoring to suit your needs.
Defining Each Level
In general, there are 5 levels of expertise:
- Introduction: This is the discovery period, where learners are introduced to a subject they have never before encountered. Students start with the basics as a first glance at a topic.
- Beginner: Beginner lessons mark the first stage of learning of a discipline.
- Intermediate: At an intermediate level, learners are familiar with the basics of a subject and their new goal is to consolidate and improve their knowledge.
- Advanced: This is the level where learners have not only acquired information but also have enough practice to make full use of the relevant skills.
- Expert: By definition, being an expert in one’s field involves achieving mastery of each domain and having significant experience in that field.
In school, levels are discussed by means of comparison with other pupils in the same establishment (such as nursery, KS1, KS2, high school, etc.), school year or class.
In the education system, level is determined by academic grading.
Teachers verify whether their pupils have correctly understood set topics from the syllabus.
When it comes to languages, skill level is measured against the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) – a scale which assigns a level based on written and oral skills:
- A1: Breakthrough or beginner
- A2: Waystage or elementary
- B1: Threshold or intermediate
- B2: Vantage or upper intermediate
- C1: Effective operational efficiency or advanced
- C2: Mastery or proficiency
This scale offers a universal framework to evaluate the skills of linguists in Europe and elsewhere.
So, why is it important to know where you lie on a scale such as the CEFR before you find a tutor?
To make the best choice when it comes to supplemental instruction, you can find tutors that specialise according to your level of education. Find tutors for primary school or tuition for secondary school students!
What is the Role of Grading in Private Tuition?
Level of knowledge and grades are the first point of discussion when you’re choosing a tutor.
Tutoring services are all about providing tailored support according to the needs of the learner.
In order to effectively adapt their methods, programme and resources, it is essential that tutors first measure the skills of their tutee. Going into detail about your strengths and weaknesses is more important than you may think, as your personal case can affect many things:
- Adapted teaching methods: Private tutors put a lot of time and effort into planning lessons which are personalised according to the skills and learning strategies of their student. The teaching of theories is a large feature of beginner lessons, as it lays the foundations for further knowledge. In improvement or refresher sessions, a focus on practical work and discussion helps the tutor understand the student’s difficulties. Teaching methods can be adapted depending on these difficulties.
- The skillset of each tutor: Levels vary from one tutor to the next. Tutors, like students, use this to find and pair up with learners of an appropriate level. This means that when students approach them asking for homework or exam preparation help, they can make an informed decision about whether their support will benefit the student.
- Variation in hourly rates: Prices for lessons also vary depending on the level of the student. Costs for higher-level lessons at university are generally higher.
Clearly, level plays a significant role in arranging private lessons.
Tutors also have varying academic profiles, which should suit that of the learner in the interest of individualised teaching. With a good pairing, online tutor and tutee can establish a healthy relationship to boost self-esteem, optimise learning and progress rapidly towards academic success.
By choosing to specialise in certain types of tuition, tutors gain the ability to easily develop teaching methods which take into account the skills of each individual student.
Tutors and the Importance of a Student’s Aspirations
In home tutoring is not just about getting your child a little help with their times tables.
Tutors play a big part in providing their students with support and motivation on a regular basis alongside their formal education, ultimately helping them to succeed in their academic careers.
The regularity of this encouragement is paramount to progressing and perfecting a learner’s skills, whether it’s in English, maths, piano, chemistry or French.
To achieve this is to take the student's competence, goals and even their age into consideration when planning lessons.
An expert maths teacher could provide A Level maths students with good quality lessons in the run up to their exams, but to help the little ones discover the joys of music or learning a foreign language, the required skills are completely different.
Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but there are a few examples which demonstrate the point at which the level and profile of a student impact teaching methods.
Discovery for toddlers
“The child is not a vase which we fill, but a spring which we allow to gush freely” - Maria Montessori
Offering lessons in Spanish, music or even yoga to the youngest children is gaining popularity.
This type of teaching (often done in a small group) not only requires a knowledge of the subject but a dash of creativity to keep little ones engaged.
Keeping young learners interested is challenging, but can be made easier by:
- Playing games
- Telling stories
- Hands-on workshops
- Sensory learning
Making the most of the curiosity of the little ones and helping them make sense of the world by opening their eyes to new experiences is a true mission – but it is so rewarding!
Learning a foreign language with a tutor as an adult
Would you like to take lessons in French, German, Spanish or another language?
Whether you’re starting from scratch or you want to get some use out of your French GCSE or A Level qualifications, a language tutor can put your vocabulary skills to the test and help you pick up where you left off.
Your tutor will probably assign you a level based on the CEFR scale, which you can use to outline your competence on your CV.
Intensive courses for entrance exam and test preparation
As exam period looms, many high school students resort to home tuition to make sure they have the right knowledge and exam technique to succeed on the big day.
The educator becomes an academic coach, teaching theory and well as helping the student develop useful study skills and encouraging them to maintain a healthy frame of mind.
The best tutors can deliver intensive courses as well as helping students manage pre-exam stress.
When it comes to choosing whether to start the piano lessons you have always dreamt of and enrolling your child in guitar lessons to give them a good understanding of music, the paths are not the same!
Even if two students are at the same level, their patience, motivation and learning abilities are sure to differ.
It is therefore up to the teacher to adapt. This means using their teaching skills to cater to the needs and learning style of each student, so they all benefit from the lessons.
Overcoming Your Anxieties to Private Tutoring
Whatever your level, it’s not always easy to get started.
Are you worried about failing? Does learning make you stressed? Don’t worry, it’s completely natural.
It can be difficult to get back into the learning spirit for evening lessons when the school gates seem so far away.
It’s also a challenge to accept the fact that you cannot make this journey alone, and that you need an extra bit of coaching that your classmates may not need.
As for taking on the challenge of embarking on a new learning journey as an adult, going back to school can feel quite odd!
If you have never had the opportunity to take private lessons before, you are faced with the unknown. A deep fear or judgement by other people may cause a lot of stress, even if your only objective is to improve your knowledge.
However, once you see yourself start to make progress, the satisfaction will overcome the self-doubt and make for a boost in confidence as you begin to achieve your goals.
What a pleasure it will be for you to be able to say:
“Yes, I learnt Chinese at the age of 40!” or “Yes, there were difficulties along the way, but I passed by GCSE exams without any resits!”
So yes, sometimes you have to swallow your pride before starting your search for a tutor, but you have everything to gain – the world is your oyster!