No longer just for struggling students, extra lessons are now commonplace. From getting budding pupils to pass that essential entrance exam, to making sure they stay in the top stream, after-school tuition is, for many, part and parcel of today’s education process.
Matt Lecuyer, director of tuition consultancy Imagine Education, says kids who need tuition tend to fall into two categories: ‘The first involves those who need additional help in certain subjects because they are struggling to keep up with the class. The other category are children who excel in certain areas and require more learning challenges than the school currently offers.’
Tutoring has become extremely popular but, sadly, it’s not always done in the child’s best interests. ‘It often has more to do with keeping up with the Joneses than helping the learning process,’ says Matt, a former teacher.
So how do you know if your child needs a helping hand? A general unwillingness to learn, struggling with homework and trying to get out of going to school are all signs they may need additional help. Matt recommends parents consider a tuition assessment if their child has learning challenges, such as dyslexia, Aspergers, ADHA or behavioural problems.
He also advises parents to involve their child – and their child’s teacher – when choosing a tutor, as a good relationship is vital. ‘Children need to have a great rapport with their tutor because, when learning is fun, they learn more, they learn faster, and they develop that essential thirst for knowledge,’ he says. ‘If your child doesn’t get on with his tutor, don’t hesitate to step in and change them. Tutoring is specialised, and in order to get the most out of the sessions, they have to be enjoyable. Even if you go through several tutors, it’s worth it when you find the right person to assist your child,’ he says.
Kids under the age of five shouldn’t require extra lessons, although it’s not unheard of in Dubai. ‘We do have requests for children as young as three, but it’s not really necessary,’ says Matt. ‘The earliest we’d recommend additional tuition would be five, and that would be minimal – an hour a week broken into 30-minute chunks.’ And don’t be tempted to employ a tutor just because other parents are doing it. If your child is keeping up and their teacher is happy with their progress, chances are, extra lessons aren’t necessary.
For more information call 055 369 5642; www.imagine-education.com.