Online Tutoring. Is it a good option?


When considering what type of private tutoring is best for your child there seems to be a shortage of tutors who are willing to come to your home for the lessons.  Instead, parents are being offered online lessons. This type of tutoring has now become the norm since the pandemic.  Whilst most parents and students would prefer face-to-face tuition, this is not always possible anymore.

Most educators will agree that face-to-face learning is much more productive and, as previously mentioned, parents generally prefer this medium.  It gives both the tutor and student to get to know each other. The tutor can readily assess the student’s needs and ensure that they are paying attention to the lesson.  The traditional learning mode usually requires the use of worksheets and textbooks. Face-to-face lessons also means that there are less distractions, the instructor can see if you have your phone on the table. Another benefit is that a group setting also allows for peer discussions.

However, as private tutoring is usually on a personal one-to-one basis, there is no interaction with peers.

Today’s students have grown up with technology. Young people they have no qualms about looking at a screen.  In fact, most parents spend a lot of their time trying to force their children to put down their devices and join the rest of the family for dinner or whatever activity that is happening.   On visiting their pediatrician, a friend was told that they needed to limit their own child’s screen time. He is four months old!

With the growing popularity of online lessons in the last three years, teaching methods are constantly having to change to fit in with the way that students are engaging with the digital age and retaining knowledge. Not only has this new way of learning has become increasingly popular, but the use of technology such as Teams or Zoom provides more flexibility. Online private tutoring is so much more than a video call. The platforms that are used provide an active learning zone.  Resources are digital. The tutor can draw diagrams, annotate texts and mark homework before emailing to the student for their own records and revision.  Providing the tutor is qualified and well trained, these lessons are just as successful as if the tutor is in the same room.

Online lessons are easily accessible as you only require good internet connection and a computer. There is no need to travel and there are no geographical restraints when it comes to choosing the right tutor.  This flexibility brings with it huge advantages. Both the tutor and the student can fit in the lessons around their own schedules.  Lessons can continue during the holidays. This is especially important during the Easter Holidays when it enables students and tutors to go on holiday and still have last-minute revision lessons.  With GCSE and A-level exams starting only a few weeks after the beginning of the summer term, students can happily join their families. There is no worry about having room in your suitcases for revision books. All the students’ notes are safely stored in their laptops which no self-respecting teenager would travel without.

Another important point to consider is that many of today’s students prefer to type their notes directly onto their computer rather than handwriting them on bits of paper. We also need to recognize that we are, therefore, preparing teenagers for their future careers as technology is used extensively in the workplace.  Handwritten notes and memos are no longer the norm.

As today’s students are so used to digital technology, they can easily supplement their classroom learning with the many free online resources that are available.


BBC Bitesize

Revision World

These online links are a great way to study and they help to supplement a student’s own learning.

Although there are plenty of revision websites available, you still might want to consider private tuition. As a parent it is your choice as to whether you will decide to try and find a tutor to teach face-to-face or consider taking the plunge and think about online lessons.


At the start of the pandemic in March 2020 my husband decided he should use this newly found “spare” time to learn to play the cello. Borrowing an instrument from a friend, he found a teacher who was happy to give zoom lessons.  Already a Grade 8 piano player, learning to read music was not required.  As the covid situation started to improve, lessons occasionally took place face-to-face in our garden in the glorious sunshine.

Were these online cello lessons successful? I think so. Three years later, Ben is now between Grade 4 and Grade 5.

Lynne Nathan is an Educational Consultant at Able Tutors

Able Tutors are members of Laurel Leaf Networking.


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