Many people searching for help with their learning difficulties don’t know whether it would be better to go to a tutoring center or search for a private tutor. Both options have their distinct advantages and disadvantages, and individuals should carefully consider both in order to make the best decision about which one to choose
Tutoring centers include places like Sylvan, Kumon, and Huntington. Most require that students take a diagnostic test before placing the students in the program. These tests usually measure students’ abilities in reading and math. Program directors will then discuss the results with parents and recommend a course of study to strengthen these areas. Students who need help in other areas like writing and study skills will be asked to wait until they have completed their math and reading programs because these two areas are emphasized as essential basics that must be mastered before other subjects can be covered.
Most of the time tutoring centers will not help students with their homework. Their main focus is improving the core skills of reading and math for students weak in these areas. The reading program usually consists of drills that require students to read passages and answer multiple choice questions about them. Students are usually retested after a specified number of hours in the program in order to ensure they are making progress. The math curriculum has students move through a series of math exercises that require them to meet a specified level of mastery before they can progress to the next skill.
At tutoring centers, students usually work with a teacher in a small group of two to four students. Teachers usually assign students material that they can work independently on and then grade these exercises when the students are done. Sometimes teachers will give students feedback on their work before moving on to the next assignment for the student.
The advantage of tutoring centers is that they are a great way for students to drill in their weak areas of reading and math. Often improving these skills results in greater self confidence and better overall grades in school. The disadvantage of these programs is that students don’t get one-on-one help with the homework they are struggling with at the present time. To some students, it can seem like they are spinning their wheels and will never catch up to level they need to be on in order to succeed in school. Huntington Learning Center of Cherry Hill
On the other hand, tutors do offer one-on-one help in specific subjects that students are having trouble with in school. Tutoring centers will say that this is only a band-aid approach and does not address the underlying academic weaknesses that need to be strengthened in order for the student to ultimately succeed. However, good tutors should be able to recognize any weak area a student may have and assign students material to improve these areas after their homework is completed.
Tutors offer students immediate feedback and explanations about the things they don’t understand in school. They often develop a close bond and give students a trusted person they can talk to about their academic challenges. Many times students will improve their study habits, grades, and confidence after working with the right tutor.
One disadvantage individual tutors have is that they don’t have as many resources available to them as tutoring centers. They don’t have as many books for reviewing specific skills, and they don’t have access to diagnostic tests that will help identify the weaknesses that students have. That said, tutors have the advantage of a more personal relationship with their students.
The key to the success of any tutoring program is consistency. Students should show up to their scheduled appointments regularly. The only reason not to go to tutoring is because of illness. If students take their tutoring seriously, they can benefit from either a learning center or private tutor or both. The decision should be based on the individual needs of the students and the learning environment that is best for them.