Online Tuition – An essential component in the home learning tool kit.
With the BBC home news now releasing gloomy predictions from Mr Laws, former education minister and chairman of the education charity EPI, on how the current home learning situation might look set to continue into September and perhaps even November, parents are now looking at, not just maintenance, until things return to normal, but at something much more long-term – at curriculum planning. This involves putting in place a progressive scheme of work that is going somewhere, not just in one subject, but in a number of subjects.
The importance of a scheme of work
The impact of an excellent well-trained primary tutor or teacher armed with a tried and tested scheme of work, not just in one subject, but in several must not be underestimated in the current climate of school disruption. It is the amalgamation of these schemes of work for a primary year group, building year on year over a number of subjects, through the primary phase, that in effect constitute the primary curriculum.
The schemes of work, implemented by teachers, are pieced together to form a path through the year for their children; these are then picked up by the teaching team in the subsequent year group. It is this path through the scheme of work, the order in which things are taught and the related work set to facilitate the learning in each constituent part, that forms the bedrock of sustained progress.
The role of the tutor
The scheme of work, is for naught, however, if it has not both been planned and taught by a well-trained if not seasoned professional. It is the professional who identifies an appropriate sequence of learning, and in so doing the constituent steps in that learning sequence (the lesson) which go to make up a block or component piece in the overall scheme.
Parents in online tutoring sessions are increasingly asking, not just what their child will practise from their lesson, so as to secure their learning for that session, but what topic they might tackle next, or what the subsequent step in the learning sequence, begun in the session, might be, in order that they might continue it.
Tutors are not just confined to the role of teaching children and setting homework. They have now taken on a more consultative, even managerial role. They are expected to provide, not just a well-planned session and homework, but also the basis for sessions in the week, that parents can usefully deliver, so as to keep moving their child forward.
Online tuition to online school
If the role of the tutor is evolving, it might also be fair to expect that the support of the tutor must also need to evolve to keep pace with the changing face of the home learning culture and the growing expectations of parents. In the past, home or private tutor might expect to identify gaps in the learning of their pupils and deliver appropriate practice material, insight and support.
The expectation being that the school would be providing the bulk of the teaching and curriculum planning. As parents are now being asked to shoulder more and more of the day to day learning for their child, they, in turn, are reaching, if not for schemes of work themselves, certainly for a sense of being guided down a planned path of progress for their child.
Excellent planning, in turn, requires excellent, relevant teaching resources with professionals who are trained in delivering, not just the schemes of work, but also in utilising resources to the best effect in a lesson. In short, a cut-down version of an online primary school, where parents and home educators, from anywhere, can rest easy in the security of finding excellent well-resourced schemes of work, covering a range of core subjects, in conjunction with a real teaching professional, who may not be local – no-one can be everywhere, but who is, nevertheless, able to deliver them all.