Leading residential tutoring company, Tutors International, reveals the imaginative ways in which their tutors have adjusted their teaching methods in order to maintain high-quality tuition throughout lockdown conditions.
Teaching throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted reinvention and reform globally. Schools might be online for most, but the live-in tutors around the globe have faced huge changes in their teaching practice too. Tutors International reveals how some of their tutors are innovating to continue providing first-rate education in the home.
Tutors International’s tutors have identified the importance of distinguishing each teaching day from the other to maintain interest from the students.
One tutor explains the importance of introducing a sense of novelty to the school day:
“I am using music, movement and art as a ‘hooks’ to help my student learn key quotes. As we are inside so often it is important to create novelty and new experiences for the brain to remember information – for example, for Capulet quotes we engage in star jumps and sing Montague quotes.”
One way to maintain interest in topics has been to individualise the content. One tutor in Luxembourg explains:
“I ‘flipped’ a lot of the learning, so that my student has been studying personalised videos on topics prior to coming to the online classroom.”
Another tutor explains how they decided to use themes to give each week definition and focus:
“We focused on a different theme for each week, based on a story or a song to keep them engaged and excited despite being stuck at home.”
Project work has also been a key strategy in sustaining focus and interest for students. One tutor based in Italy has a student who wants to be an architect. The tutor has identified the need for well planned and executed extended projects in this field, and implemented this into their schooling:
“It has been a good opportunity to focus on project work. There is a lot we still can do and it is fun to order materials and engage in fun learning experiences. We have tried new projects and recipes which have all gone well and as I have gotten to know the student even better.”
Connecting to their Surroundings
Lockdown has meant that the world feels smaller for a lot of students – particularly ones used to traveling a lot with their families and tutors. To help their Austrian students feel connected to the wider world, one tutor paired them up with a pen pal from the UK.
One tutor has adapted their teaching and activities to make the most of the Hong Kong landscape, and reflect the more domestic setting they have found themselves in:
“We have moved from doing a lot of very active and social activities and a great deal of travel, to taking on challenges at home, such as knitting, piano, baking, gymnastics, skating, card tricks, and language learning. Since we are in Hong Kong, we are able to go hiking on a regular basis too. Since the pace of life has slowed, the pandemic has allowed us to focus on developing grit, perseverance, resourcefulness and creativity in learning and developing new skills rather than moving from one shiny thing to the next.”
The increased use of online materials has had its benefits and drawbacks. One tutor comments on how they have integrated physical and digital materials to optimise their teaching practice:
“I purchased a desk projector/document camera (Ipevo) to aid me with my lessons. As a Maths teacher, I find myself often reaching for pen and paper to work through questions or teach new concepts, and I felt limited by the online medium, and by my students often having to work from their phones, or tablets, or with bad internet connection.”
As more schooling has had to move online, and the use of digital devices has inevitably increased, one London-based tutor stresses the importance of being mindful of screen time:
“I’ve implemented even more emphasis on time away from screens, learning outside where possible, and spending at least an hour outside every day.”
Founder of Tutors International, Adam Caller, extends his gratitude to the tutors adapting and excelling in unprecedented conditions:
“Our rigorous and bespoke recruitment process ensures we hire only the best of the best. This means our tutors respond imaginatively and enthusiastically to change. I’d like to reaffirm how grateful I am to our tutors for their ongoing hard work and impressive response to the challenges of the pandemic.”