What are the differences between tutoring and teaching?

Tutoring and teaching are often used interchangeably, but teaching and tutoring involve many more differences than you might think. Both aim to help students reach their full potential while providing encouragement and support. 

Tutoring gives pupils individual attention they won’t get in a classroom. For disadvantaged pupils who would not otherwise be able to afford private tutoring, this effective intervention can play a big role in raising attainment. 

In 2022, the attainment gaps at primary and secondary levels were at their widest for a decade, according to the Department for Education (DfE). Pupils who do not achieve GCSEs are more likely to become NEETs (not in education, employment, or training) at age 16 or older.

Teaching vs. tutoring

 A teacher imparts knowledge and skills to a school classroom of varying sizes and abilities. They need to pay attention to each student in the class and follow a strict curriculum and lesson plan. A tutor, on the other hand, tutors individual students in small group classes or in individual lessons. A tutor can pay attention to the individual’s learning needs in settings beyond the classroom.

Classroom Challenges

 Since the COVID-19 pandemic, classroom teachers have faced some of the most daunting challenges of their careers. Many teachers have coped with staff shortages and addressed the rising mental health challenges of students. It’s left little time to help students catch up on “unfinished learning” from the pandemic. Classroom challenges include: 

Teachers face an increasing number of pupils per class, which prevents them from providing one-on-one attention. This can result in lower student achievement. 

In the classroom, teachers need to address a diverse set of learning abilities. With eight learning styles, it is a challenge for a teacher to meet the needs of each of their learners. 

When it comes to addressing a wide range of skills and abilities in the classroom, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a teacher. Some pupils can get left behind without tutoring or support. 

A lack of parental support can put pressure on teachers to handle a student’s development. Behavioural and discipline issues can mean that pupils require extra attention from time-starved teachers. 

Neurodiversity is relatively new to the classroom. The catch-all term includes those whose brains function differently and includes: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, autism, and dyslexia. As a teacher, finding the methods to effectively teach is a challenge, but teaching differently-abled students with complex needs add another layer of complexity.

Benefits of tutoring 

The DfE commissioned Ofsted to carry out an independent review of tutoring over two years from September 2021. Phase one findings covering 63 school visits from September 2021 to July 2022, are encouraging. It was noted that school leaders, staff, and, importantly, pupils were positive about tutoring, with many pupils commenting about how much they looked forward to tutoring. 

According to The Education Endowment Foundation, evidence shows that an intensive programme of one-to-one or small-group tuition could add as much as four to five months’ progress to a pupil’s education. 

Neurodiverse students

For neurodiverse students (both diagnosed and undiagnosed), tutoring helps, as many students need someone to see their specific issues and know how to respond to them. Tutors can customise lessons for their learners. With regular encouragement and praise, pupils, particularly those with neurodiverse learning conditions, can feel less overwhelmed or frustrated with school.

Confidence building

For all students, tutoring can help with developing confidence, as Hess, a tutor for Fleet Education Services, explains: “A great benefit of tutoring is the individual learning approach, which can be customised and tailored to the specific needs of the individual. For example, if the young person likes particular activities such as drawing, music, and sports, the tutorial work can include concepts attached to those interests. This elevates the interest of the young person, a belief that learning can be fun and inspire them to greater educational outcomes, reinforcing a sense of positive self-esteem and confidence.”

Individualised learning

Pupils get an individualised learning experience they can’t always get in a classroom setting. Each student has a unique learning style that tutors can accommodate with significant improvement in both short- and long-term learning. 

As tutor Hess explains: “As the lessons develop, the young person’s understood style of learning crucially should be incorporated. For example, assisting visual learners productively will inspire an improvement in the learning outcomes and engage the student positively. A video story based on their interests, accompanied by a colourfully organised diagram or handout, or using story dice based on the activities they enjoy, to plan for a fun creative writing piece, can boost a young person’s performance.”

Positive learning environment

Tutoring provides an environment free of distractions, with fewer students and disruptions around so students can better focus on learning. In a classroom environment, a pupil may not always feel comfortable asking questions in front of their peers. Tutoring enables students to ask questions without having to do so in front of their peers. Many pupils find that tutoring offers a safe space to talk about concepts they have struggled with in the classroom.

Improves self-esteem and study habits

Through tutoring, pupils learn study habits they will use for life. Pupils become more competent in their learning and more successful in managing their schoolwork. According to Hess, “Clearly modelled tutoring work will ensure that the young person is given the space to learn, as well as see their progress, which immediately instils a can-do feeling and a raising of the motivation levels and further interest from the young person, building a sense of trust in their own ability.”

Improves academic performance

Tuition is most beneficial when it is linked to classroom teaching and pupils’ specific needs. Tutoring helps with exam prep while tutors work on specific problem areas. Research reveals that having a tutor can significantly impact grades on both homework and tests. 

When to use a tutor 

There is only so much a teacher can do. Tutoring is one of the tangible tools that help close the attainment gap and ensure that all students receive the same additional academic support.

Tutoring is an invaluable tool for supporting learners with low prior attainment or who are struggling with particular topics. It is especially useful for revision and providing support to students in the run-up to exams. Short, regular, and sustained tutoring sessions tend to have the greatest impact.

There has been a significant loss of education in English and maths at primary level. Given the importance of these subjects in improving wider pupil outcomes, tutoring can help support pupils who have fallen behind in English and maths. Schools may also support pupils in science or other subjects. At the secondary school level, tutoring can benefit students who are falling behind in English, maths, sciences, humanities, and languages.

Benefits of using a tuition provider

Using a specialist tuition provider supports teachers and schools in providing a sustained response to the COVID-19 pandemic and providing a longer-term contribution to closing the attainment gap. It also provides a high level of flexibility to schools without them having to use their own staff. 

Schools can access high-quality tutoring from an approved list of tutoring providers. Using an approved tuition partner, like Fleet Education Services, schools know that the provider has passed a set of quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards. Tuition Partners offer a range of subjects and provide targeted support for pupils.

About Fleet Education Services

Fleet Education Services is the UK’s largest specialist tuition provider. As a DfE-accredited National Tutoring Programme (NTP) partner, we can tailor the right solution to your school’s needs in small groups or one-to-one sessions. We help over a third of local authorities and 700 schools. 

Why not find out how our experienced tutors can help your students achieve their best in 2023? https://fleeteducationservices.com/contact-us/