Are you a parent who is struggling to decide if their child would benefit most from the specific and narrow focus one to one tuition, or if they would really excel by being able to share ideas, techniques, and practise in shared group tuition spaces?
Alternatively, are you a student, trying to figure out if you should be studying with your friends or by yourself, carefully considering how each option could and will affect your attainment throughout your academic career?
A lot of questions, educational theories and debates have sprung around this topic, so you may understandably be confused by all the conflicting information. But do not fret! We at InTuition PYP have put together this brief guide to help you decide. We will examine one to one vs group tuition for school subjects such as maths. And if private tuition lessons with a tutor is necessarily better than group tuition lessons with a tutor.
What is one to one tuition?
The phrase “one to one tuition” conjures up images of an old, dusty room supervised by a strict, draconian tutor enforcing discipline and success into their students through harsh and rigid verbal criticism. With this strict and bleak stereotype, one to one tuition is often unfairly labelled as a uniquely painful experience for students.
However, the vast majority of one-to-one tuition is not like this! Tuition lessons for school so not need to be like this to be the best tuition for a child. Especially at InTuition PYP, these old modes and ideas of tuition are discarded in favour of ideas that bring together a modern ethos of teaching with a focus on attainment through working with individual needs.
The basic meaning of one to one tuition for us is one student per tutor. This is manifested through our PURSUE YOUR PURPOSE tag line, through which we make the induvial the focus of our efforts by showing them what they can and will achieve through hard work. The one to one aspect here is one that emphasises the fact that the tutor working with this child will tailor tuition everything to their specific needs. This ensures an entirely personalised learning environment for students of one to one classes.
What is group tuition?
This one is fairly self-explanatory. Group tuition refers a tuition programme in which one tutor works with multiple children, usually from two to five. Group tuition is often stereotyped as the “inferior” method, characterised by a lack of discipline and cohesion. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE!
Rather, group tuition is one of the most productive and useful experiences for young children. The atmosphere of a shared space where students can share ideas to a wider audience, guided by an experienced tutor is an immensely enriching experience which forces students to be critical of other ideas, whilst being able to reform their own in response to feedback to peers.
This also develops social skills as students interact with others in ways beyond the often-insular experience of one to one tuition. Here, our PYP ethos similarly applies, as the group of students is introduced their potential, making them active participants in their own education, and inspiring academic excellence and pursuits, greatly improving their performance.
Why group tuition? What makes it better?
As we said, group tuition often gets an unfair reputation of being unproductive. So here, we will briefly outline some of the many great things about it.
One of the main draws here is the social aspect of this kind of tuition. The fact that students can interact with each other does wonders for inspiring confidence. Further, to be with others and work with and interact with each other is extremely important for mental health, especially since the time periods around exams are so mentally taxing and exhausting for children.
As such, the immense benefits of social aspects of group tuition, as well as the outstanding academics that InTuition PYP creates through it, can not be overstated.
Pros of one to one tutoring
Having gone over what one to one tuition, we will now examine the specific benefits and disadvantages of one to one tuition so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it is the better option for you over group tuition.
Everything is Specific to the Individual Student
This is the most obvious benefit to one to one tuition styles. Everything about the course in every session is taught according to the own child’s specification. After building a rapport with the student, the tutor is able to ensure that every aspect of every lesson is finely tailored to the individual needs of a tutee.
For example, if a student is really struggling with quadratic equations or something like life processes in biology, the tutor can slow things down to give these particular area focus. In addition, the tutor can adapt resources in accordance to learning preferences that work for a specific student. For example, visual learners will be able to work with bright, colourful resources to ingrain what they haver learnt into their heads.
Very particular feedback
One of the keys to success in any field, be it academics or otherwise, is the ability to meaningfully work with feedback provided from critiques, in this case especially from the tutor. In a one to one environment, the feedback received applies to your work, and your work only.
As such, everything that is said from any private, one to one interaction with tutors is directly applicable to the work of the tutee. This encourages action and development as a child can not under any circumstances hide behind the oft repeated excuse of “the criticism is not directed towards me”.
After covering the pros and advantages of one to one tuition, we will now look at some more critical approaches to this practise.
It can be isolating
In the aftermath of the covid 19 lock downs and online school, the word “isolation” has been on everyone’s lips, particularly with regards to the mental wellbeing of children. One to one tuition can (though not necessarily is) be an isolating experience given its private nature, especially if it is done multiple times a week.
This is because students only interact with their tutor/teacher. Whilst tutors are friendly and accommodating, they do not replace social interaction and friendship with peers.
As such, the experience of one to one tuition can be one that isolates a student from important social developments and needs, negatively impacting their metal health if their only life experiences around exam preparation times are one to one tuition sessions.
Students can grow actively resentful to it
Whilst we at InTution PYP go to great lengths to ensure students see the importance of education, this is not always the case across tuition as a whole. Through the lack of social interaction and often hard work that accompanies tuition with little immediate reward, some students may become resentful of it and try to stop coming.
Pros of group tuition/tutoring
After examining the different aspects of one to one tuition, we will now look at various positive aspects of group tuition.
Develops Critical Thinking and Presentation Skills
The ability to present work to a group and then be able to work on criticism afforded to this work by peers, as well as be able to articulate criticisms and feedback for other works is a critical part of why group tuition works so well. Students are consistently working to make themselves better through working with each other and their tutor.
Makes learning more interesting and social
Whilst we spoke about how one to one tuition can be seen often as an isolating experience; the opposite is true of group tuition and tutoring. Rather, by working actively with other students and peers, a tutee is able to learn in academically rigorous environments whilst still being able to use develop their social skills and ensuring their minds and attitudes to education remain healthy.
Group tuition is thus enriching mentally and socially as well as academically.
As with all things, there are some disadvantages with group tuition. We will discuss them now
Some feedback is not applicable
Given the nature of group tuition and tutoring, that is how it utilises many students to create a dynamic learning environment, not all feedback and critiques are directed to all students. As such, students will have to pay close attention to what feedback and improvements they need to implement in their work. Whilst this is not a huge issue, it does mean students have to pay extra close attention.
Sometimes the learning environment can be too dynamic
The fact that group tuition/tutoring relies on many people to create dynamic and evolving learning experiences may not be ideal for some students who are resolutely students of habit. For such students who prefer rigid structure, this can be a disadvantage for those in a group tutoring experience.
Summary – Which is better?
The main take away is that one to one tuition and group tuition work in different ways that accommodate different students, with neither being particularly “better” than others except for what specifically works for your child.
If your child is one who likes rigid work structures with a strong focus, one to ones may be the way to go. If your child is one that works well in groups, group tuition would probably be better for them. We have described the various aspects of these different tutoring lessons, now you need to decide how to utilise that information in choosing what is the best tuition for your child or children across the year.