I'm a big fan of face to face tuition.
I'm not a big fan of racing around the roads after school, dragging kids to and from various appointments.
This is why I love online live tuition.
Many folks steer clear of this option, assuming their child won't be able to pay attention during online tuition or that they will be getting a generic online experience...but live online tuition has a hidden power that if harnessed by a skilled teacher, is powerful and great value.
The platform we use to connect with students is Skype. Via Skype we are able to engage in a live video call where the teacher can see and hear the student, and the student can see and hear the teacher in real time. I like Skype for a few reasons. It's free, which reduces the cost of the tuition sessions for parents. It enables screen sharing, which means the child can share what is on their screen and the teacher can share what is on her screen. It's very reliable...with only the occasional outage impacting connectivity (And so much less frustrating than getting stuck on the M1 in traffic!). Parents and teacher can reflect on the notes from the lesson for the content that is shared via the chat window, and it's flexible...tuition can happen on smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops!*
The pedagogy we use online is the same we would use face to face in our classroom, but of course some small modifications are required to facilitate the online format. Students will still perform many of their tasks with pen and paper. Rest assured, online tuition sessions with Wings Tutors are not simply supervision of students while they work on generic web-based software or games. Every student works on an individualised learning program that responds to their immediate learning feedback and needs, while also catering for the level of hardware they have available to them at home. Students ask their teacher questions in real time and teachers are still able to see what the student is doing and provide redirection and support as required.
Interestingly there is one fantastic aspect of online tuition that actually requires both teacher and student to work harder and smarter during tuition that is a consequence of the "online barrier".
Because there is a "barrier" between teacher and student, and because listening and understanding can be inhibited by video and audio delays or pauses, both teacher and students learn to develop increased vigilance with regards to their verbal and written communication during online tuition sessions. Students and teachers, listen more carefully, speak more clearly, seek more clarification and they ask more questions of each other.
And this is good thing!
As a teacher working online with a student, I am required, as a result of the "online barrier" to ensure that students have a comprehensive understanding of the requests I have made of them and how they understand the task. Likewise, my online students learn how to ask clarifying questions that are detail orientated and tend to speak up and speak clearly when online. Based on my experience and observations, this wonderful side effect has been particularly beneficial to students with speech language difficulties, selective mutism, processing delays, ADHD, dyslexia and other learning difficulties that may impact expressive and receptive language.
Sure it takes a session or two for most families to iron out the wrinkles in their technology if they don't use video chat at home already, but generally after 1 or 2 sessions, students are managing their own tuition calls, engaging fully in an immersive and productive 45 min tuition session with their teacher and many are doing it in their PJs in the comfort of their own home. Spend less time in the car and more time with your family. Online tuition is great value for money and time when it is run by a teacher who uses the platform powerfully!
*Laptops and desktops are always preferred but with some clever lesson modifications, smartphones and tablets are perfectly manageable devices for tuition.