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Technology and Education.

June 5, 2013

Technology and Education

Check out the latest blog post from Tutor House’s managing director, Alex Dyer, on Huffington Posts’ blog pages here.

 

Alex looks at and examines the past, present and future relationship between technology and education; how it can aid student’s learning processes and how teachers and schools can benefit from embracing technology within education.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/alex-dyer/technology-and-education_b_3367052.html

For more information on private tutors in London and Fulham or to organise a private tutor contact Tutor House on info@tutorhouse.co.uk

Tutors working abroad, a personal report

May 31, 2013

Tutors working abroad, a personal report

Hello, this is to introduce you to Dhanushka (Nush). Below is her account of tutoring abroad. She is a highly experienced tutor and has spend the past year teaching abroad. She is currently employed Tutor House as our international adviser and student mentor.

I’ve just got back to the UK after teaching in Thailand for a year; your reaction should be along the lines of “amazing”; and rightly so. This experience will always be the highlight of my life. Teaching in another country is not just about experiencing a different life, but it’s about opening the eyes of young students to more than just what they see and experience every day. The appreciation of these kids will last a lifetime in your heart and mind. Helping each and every student was an experience in itself.

Teaching abroad had always been a difficult decision for me. It was never the right time, and there was always an excuse for why I shouldn’t go to pursue my dream. I completed my TESOL qualification and found it hard to just pack my bags and leave. I waited nine months before I decided to build the courage and begin my journey in another country.

My jobs consisted of Secondary school students, Agricultural College students and also kindergarten students. The levels of English spoken varied, as some of the students had had precious English language teachers, whereas other had never had any experience of learning with a foreign teacher. Not being able to speak Thai, I was immediately at a disadvantage. Using hand gestures and starting right back to the basics I was able to give these children the confidence to love and appreciate a language they once gave up on. When anybody finds something difficult, we tend to either hate it or not bother practising it. These children needed inspiration and colour in a subject they once ignored as being important. I was able to bring my life experience of London to help them appreciate other cultures and want to learn more.

The technique of teaching foreign students is not that simple. ‘Here is your text book, this is an exercise and you will be tested on this next week.’ This approach simply won’t do for these children. Using this technique I found out (very quickly!) that the students would use process of elimination when asked a question, rather than truly understanding what they were learning. By talking to the students, by making them practise the language, integrating words into games mounted to them having a stronger grasp of basic communication skills. My classroom policy was you cannot speak in Thai, partially because I couldn’t speak a single word of the language but also because this approach lead them to try a lot harder to communicate with me.

Having been in another country, teaching children who are completely innocent to the English education system was delightful. They were not robots to learning information and passing exams. They had a purpose for studying; their ambitions extended more than just getting a degree and fighting for a job at the end of their studies. These children had a farm to run, a family to feed, and skills to grasp in addition to learning Maths, English and Science.

I think it’s important for more and more people to grab this opportunity to teach abroad. After reading this do you think you have what it takes to change students’ perception on learning another language? You have every opportunity in the world to fill their lives with colour and ambition.

Tutor House offer teaching experience and job abroad for teachers and students. He also offer tutors the opportunity to travel with families abroad.

Education is changing, hopefully.

Education is changing, hopefully

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with something original.

To be honest I’m using this as a title, when it should be a quote, a quote from Sir Ken Robinson.

A lot of people in education are right (and wrong) about points, fact and ideas, but none more so than him. You can easily, and rightly, I would say, argue that the Schooling system in Britain today reinforces ‘wrong.’ What I mean by that is children are being funneled and molded into ‘exam machines.’ Exams are right you are wrong, is the attitude for success. The winner is education. The way it’s structured today is for the bright ones, not the ones who work hard, not the creative types, not the children who can paint, draw, act, play sport or dance. No, it’s the ones who can be ‘right’ and pass all their exams. Success is based only on academia, pass your exams, pass your degree and gain a fantastic job. Although this isn’t as set in stone as it once was.

This is and will only lead to academic inflation. A degree is not enough now. No, now to get a top job you need a MA, whereas you needed a BA or Bsc. In fact three A’s at A-Level is not enough, nor are 5 A’s at GCSE. And this type of testing starts much earlier, take 7+, 11+ and 13+ examinations for independent Schools throughout the country. The pressure is well and truly on. This is academic conformity at it’s highest and it starts at a very young age, 5 years old maybe.
So from a young age a child’s ability to express themselves, be creative and open about things is downtrodden. Exams are key, nothing else is important, children, students and even teachers are adhering to the pressure of exams, and as such these exam machines are being produced.

Another area of concern is the identification of Educational Needs, including ADHD, ADD and Dyslexia. More and more children are diagnosed each year. This is not a problem and in fact makes sense. There are more qualified psychologists and better ways to identify people with S.E.N’s. The problem is that there are not enough teachers and tutors to cope with this demand. We’ve seen a huge surge in parent’s enquiring who have children with dyslexia and other educational needs. Usually their School does not providing them with the support that they require. They are not getting extra support, or being given ideas and techniques on how to improve, for example, memory, note taking or revision skills. Again this ‘type’ of student is left behind in the exam race, if you don’t grasp the idea of exams and diagnostic testing you’re doomed.

What’s the point of this article? Well it’s to encourage young people not to give up hope, just because you can’t jump through the exam hoops, doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Private tuition is a personal, individual and tailored alternative or addition to standard Schooling.

On another note Tutor House wants to hear from students, parents and teachers who can give examples of success

Private tuition on the rise, should tutoring be regulated?

Private tuition’s on the rise, should the industry be regulated?

In 2009 The Guardian reported that 45% of pupils based in London have a private tutor; and since then it’s that figure has increased.

A staggering 72% of all children preparing for Common Entrance have a private tutor according to the IOE, and 25% of all 11-18 year olds have had private tuition at some point, manly in Mathematics, reports TES.

With over 500 private tuition agencies now operating throughout the country, some with over 10,000 tutors on their books, how on earth do we, or the Government, regulate the industry? And, do we even need to?

Do we need to regulate the private tuition industry?

With the rise of University fees a few years ago, and the surge in (fierce) competition and pressure to get into good schools – the demand for private tuition in the UK has increased yearly. With such an increase in demand, agencies and freelance private tutors effectively charge what they like.

Private tutors usually work on a freelance basis with different agencies, especially in London. The Government has tried to step in and add some sort of parameter to the tutoring world in the past, but have failed.

Without thought and proper investigation, the Government has left it to the taxman to chase tutors and investigate them if necessary.

So what kind of regulation should there be?

Well, of course a CRB (or DBS as it’s now named) is a must. Parents should always ask for this, they don’t need a copy, but certainly a confirmation. Adults who tutor children must go through a thorough check-up and a full criminal disclosure.

What about qualification and experiences?

Private (public) Schools don’t have pre-test for teachers, but they must have a degree in the subject they wish to teach.

State Schools, on the other hand, have rigorous qualifications (GTP/NQT), which teachers must pass. At both types of schools, new teachers are interviewed and would be asked to perform trial lessons.

However, private tutors do not undergo anything close to this level of investigation.

I’ve heard some horror stories about big tutoring companies sending tutors to client’s homes. A parent once told me of a tutor who was sent to their home, he was an international student in his first year at University, who had never taught before and his level of English was very basic. Not ideal when you’re forking out in excess of £35 per hour.

Education is a personal thing and parents always want the best for their children, so perhaps some sort of regulation would be a good thing?

I’m not saying intensive interviewing and trial lessons for tutors is a necessity, and with 10,000 tutors that would be hard. Experience and subject knowledge is key here. They are incredibly important qualities, and during trying-times for children and young adults, the right tutor is crucial to improving grades and their exam success.

The majority of the tutors that work for Tutor House are full or part time teachers in local London-based schools and colleges. They know the exam boards, keep up with the changing specifications and of course have plenty of experience. We personally select every single one of our private tutors, implementing our own regulations for the industry. I don’t see why other companies don’t enforce the same or similar guidelines.

Technology and Education

Technology and Education: A Match Made in Heaven?

The education industry has not yet caught up with the daily and continuous changes in technology. Technology has changed and continues to change the way we socialise, work, research, interact and learn.

Classroom based learning on the other hand, still incorporates note taking from white boards, reading through bulky textbooks and filling-in-the-gaps in hand out after hand out.

Surely this has to change?

In a great number of schools and colleges (from my experience, and from what other tutors and teachers tell me), the education system takes time to evolve and changing the way children learn takes even longer.

I forget how many times I had to leave the classroom to photocopy something, to fetch a students’ homework or to acquire another board pen, ultimately wasting precious teaching time. I do, interesting, also remember during our ten-minute breaks, students would dive into their pockets to get their mobile phones and start Tweeting, ‘Facebooking’ and searching the web.

That is the nature of students now.

We should use this to our advantage in the classroom, in schools, during after school tuition time. We should provide a ‘service’ that is interactive, fun and exiting to use. Reducing the amount of paper-based material and having everything on portable tablets sounds great. Yes this would take time, but in theory once the material is uploaded, it can be accessed and updated in real time, over and over again.

Just think, a webpage or a database entry only has to be updated once to appear on a student’s screen – whereas a textbook would have to be reissued or at best photocopied again.

Education and technology should go hand-in-hand; they should live happily ever after. It’s the only real way that teaching can adapt and grow. But if there is to be a ‘Shrek and Fiona’ marriage, then surely we need to embrace this change right away?

We’re taking an awfully long time to adjust. There is a growing number of education Apps out there now (link to other article here) but there is no unity. All of them are different. I’m not saying they’re poorly structured, some of them are very useful indeed, but there should be a coherent syllabus to follow.

Tablets for schools are a new, interesting venture. Google has just launched Google Play for education, a program that organises apps, books, notes and other educational content. It looks great. Teachers can visit age specific areas and access subject-specific material via app searches in the program.

Cost is an issue, and by the time you’ve set up an entire classroom or student base and bought tablets for all the children, costs rise, sharply.

In short this would be expensive.

YouTube isn’t though, nor are other e-learning platforms; they are simple and easy to use, and now very interactive.

Cost is an issue in education, the majority of our clients ask for a package deal or a discount. Some ask for cost-effective Skype lessons, to reduce costs. Take Public (Private) school fees, they start at £17,000 per year, whilst private tuition starts at £40 per hour.

So why not introduce free or ‘pay to view’ online learning?

It makes sense. Almost everyone has access to a computer, a tablet, an iPad, a smart phone, so why not provide a medium for everybody to use? It can be classroom based or ‘out of school hours’ but following a curriculum.

For more information and advice on private tuition in London and Fulham contact Tutor House on info@tutorhouse.co.uk or visit our homepage and find a tutor – www.tutorhouse.co.uk

Tutors work abroad.

May 13, 2013

Tutors work abroad

This year we have tutors flying around the world. Based on our success last year, with tutors jetting out to Dubai, France, Monaco and Spain. We’re back again.

Our highly experienced tutors with me providing quality tuition abroad, as part of our residential revision courses. Tutors are completely flexible and will adapt to the needs of the family and students.

Tutors are available for July and August and can tutor Common Entrance, GCSE and A-Level. They can travel anywhere with families, especially Dubai, Paris, Moscow, Abu Dhabi and Monaco.

Do contact us to discuss your tuition requirements by mail: info@tutorhouse.co.uk  or call us on 0203 9500 320

Tutors working with families abroad and on holiday

May 2, 2013

Tutors working with families abroad and on holiday

Taking Private Tutors on Holiday

London-based private tutoring agency, Tutor House is offering a new service to tour operators, cruise lines and travel organizers. Tutor House will provide private tutors to accompany families on holiday in the UK or overseas and tutor children aged 11 – 18 in any GCSE and A Level subject, as well as provide Common Entrance preparation.

Available on a flexible basis, bookable by the day, Tutor House’s tutors provide up to five hours of tuition each day, combined with childcare, and tutors will travel with the family, or can fly in for a specific period, to provide the extra academic input.

Director of Tutor House and professional tutor, Alex Dyer said, “By offering this new service, families can now go on holiday out of season, or during term time, without having to worry that their children will fall behind at school.”

The service works equally well for families taking a villa holiday, a ski holiday or staying in a hotel, and it gives families the potential to travel any time of the year, reducing the stress of taking children out of school during term time.

Alex goes on to say, “Families can also optimize key revision periods, such as Easter and Christmas holidays, as well as offering tuition outside of congested exam and school periods, like summer, where children can really benefit from additional support before they begin the next school year.”

Tutor House employs the services of over 180 specialist tutors, offering a variety of disciplines, from PE to physics, tennis to IT, with specific tuition offered to international and UK students for Common Entrance and senior school examinations, GCSE and A levels.

Tutors working with families on holiday and abroad

April 30, 2013

Tutors working with families on holiday and abroad

Travel Gossip: Tutorial Agency Launches Traveling Tutors Scheme

A London based tutorial centre will supply tutors to families on holiday. Photo Credit: Tutor House.
News in Brief

Just because parents want to take their children on holiday, that’s no reason for their kids to fall behind on their school work. A London based tutoring agency has launched a new service targeted at tour operators, cruise lines, and travel organizers to supply traveling tutors.

Tutor House will provide tutors that will travel with families – or meet them en route – for up to five hours of tuition per day. They can accommodate children aged 11 to 18 in any GCSE or A Level subject as well as providing Common Entrance preparation.

Child care services can also be arranged.

“By offering this new service, families can now go on holiday out of season, or during term time, without having to worry that their children will fall behind at school,” says Alex Dyer, Director of Tutor House and Professional Tutor.

“Families can also optimize key revision periods, such as Easter and Christmas holidays, as well as offering tuition outside of congested exam and school periods, like summer, where children can really benefit from additional support before they begin the next school year.”

Read more here.

Private A-level, GCSE and Common Entrance tutors travel abroad

April 29, 2013

Private A-level, GCSE and Common Entrance tutors travel abroad

Travel with a Private Tutor

London-based private tutoring agency, Tutor House is offering a new service to tour operators, cruise lines and travel organisers, to provide private tutors to accompany families on holiday in the UK or overseas and tutor children aged 11 – 18 in any GCSE and A Level subject, as well as provide Common Entrance preparation.

Available on a flexible basis, bookable by the day, Tutor House’s tutors provide up to 5 hours of tuition each day, combined with childcare, and tutors will travel with the family, or can fly in for a specific period, to provide the extra academic input.

Director of Tutor House and professional tutor, Alex Dyer said; ‘By offering this new service, families can now go on holiday out of season, or during term time, without having to worry that their children will fall behind at school.’

The service works equally well for families taking a villa holiday, a ski holiday or staying in a hotel, and it gives families the potential to travel any time of the year, reducing the stress of taking children out of school during term time.

Alex goes on to say; ‘Families can also optimise key revision periods, such as Easter and Christmas holidays, as well as offering tuition outside of congested exam and school periods, like summer, where children can really benefit from additional support before they begin the next school year.’

Tutor House employs the services of over 180 specialist tutors, offering a variety of disciplines, from PE to physics, tennis to IT, with specific tuition offered to international and UK students for Common Entrance and senior school examinations, GCSE and A levels.

 

Read more here.

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