It’s been a while since we have written on the benefits of small group tuition.
Small group sessions outside of school time can provide students with some significant advantages… so we thought this topic was worth a re-visit.
The small group advantage
The University of NSW explains the benefits. Among them:
- address gaps in students’ knowledge
- assist students in clarifying subject matter, as they test their own ideas and attitudes against those of others
- help students develop a sense of academic rigour and a willingness to share ideas
- provide opportunities for students to receive feedback on their learning
- encourage students towards self-directed and independent learning
The small group provides a more intimate, quiet space for students to engage deeply with subject matter, and to receive more personal attention from the teacher than is possible in the mainstream classroom, where small group work is often limited to unguided activities while the teacher moves from group to group. In addition, there is psychological safety in meeting with the same group each week, away from the regular class, and an opportunity to easily pick up where they left off to accelerate learning.
Considering these important factors, how much does your child benefit from structured, guided, high-quality small group learning in their current routine?
Our Director, Rachel Dreier, points out some important features of quality small-group tuition:
- Having a qualified teacher leading the group is crucial to take students from where they are to where they need to be, through a highly skilled teaching process that brings the best out of students and maximises the short amount of time spent in the group each week.
- While following a programme, it is easier to adapt the sessions with 8 or fewer students in the group. This allows for individualised learning activities and attention – something that is very challenging to achieve in the regular classroom.
- The small group programme should support the national curriculum and the learning in the regular classroom, to be the most effective and relevant complement to school.
- The programme should involve learning through problem solving, rather than just learning facts by rote. In order for students to be able to transfer skills to the classroom and testing environment, they need to understand the ‘why’ behind what they are doing and practise applying it to different contexts.