Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Karen Dooley, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

When you think about private tutoring, you might imagine parents striving to give their children a competitive edge. But many parents use tutoring to fill gaps in their child’s schooling – such as to improve their literacy.

In our research, some parents did speak of tutoring as a way of securing entry into the school they want for their child. But these were in the minority. Most spoke of using it to help fix academic problems, temporary and ongoing.

There has been a rise in parents employing private tutoring services for their children in recent years – in Australia and other countries. In Britain, for instance, the private tuition sector is worth an estimated £2 billion (A$3.6 billion).

The rise of private tutoring shows parents are taking responsibility for children to achieve Australia’s national literacy goals. It seems they believe the education provided at school is simply not enough to meet a learner’s needs.

Private tutoring on the rise

In Brisbane, we saw branded signage of new tutoring companies appearing in the local shops. We also found advertisements for tutoring in streets near schools, in school newsletters, on parent sites on Facebook, and on community noticeboards.

And we wanted to find out why tutoring was so appealing to parents.

We interviewed 35 parents about tutoring for their Year 5 (aged around 9-10) children. The parents were from both urban and rural areas. Around three-quarters were sending their children to public schools and one-quarter to Catholic or independent schools.

Parents say their children have tutors to fill gaps, not to charge ahead One parent used a tutor as a helpful ally in the relationship between the parents, child and teacher. from shutterstock.com

Of the 35 parents, 23 had used tutoring for some of their children or planned to do so. Ten said they had thought about it or would use it if necessary.

Two were reluctant to get their child a tutor despite their children’s educators encouraging them to do so. One of these parents told us her child had missed a lot of school for medical problems, but their location was a problem when it came to accessing tutoring.

Why do parents pay for tutoring?

The tutoring market offers parents many options. Services range from help with homework, to test and examination coaching, and instruction in the reading and writing content of the Australian Curriculum: English.

Most of the parents (20) we interviewed spoke of using tutoring to fix what they saw as their children’s academic problems.

Sometimes the problem was a specific gap in knowledge and skills. One parent had been averse to tutoring but then her child’s English grades dropped a little:

We couldn’t work out why or how he went from getting straight As to getting a B in English. And so we just spoke to other parents and they said their kids did really well with a tutor. So we went there and the big focus was confidence on his writing.

This tutoring was short-term.

The second-biggest group of parents (9) told us they used tutoring to support suspected or diagnosed learning difficulties in their children. These included dyslexia (inability to read accurately), dysgraphia (inability to write coherently), autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

One of these parents told us the school couldn’t give enough personalised attention to her child:

Because the kids are struggling and the curriculum moves so much and there’s only one teacher to how many kids per class that can’t always spend the time on that one child.

For another of these parents, the private tutor was a helpful ally in a cooperative relationship between the family, the school teacher and the tutor:

I sit with the teachers at the start of every term and we look at where she’s struggling. I ask them to give me a learning plan now and then I feed that through the tutor and they’re teaching her off that.

Another took her child to a private tutor during school time to support diagnosed learning difficulties. While this mother felt the tutoring was helpful, the cost became prohibitive. She told us:

I had to pay for it out of my own pocket. It was too much, that’s also why I stopped doing it, too much money.

The final, and smallest, group of the parents we spoke to (just three) used tutoring as one of the many enrichment activities they used for their children.

Two of these parents had prepared their children for scholarships or entry exams to selective schools. As one parent told us, “we had ten lessons on testing”.

Read more: Selective schools increasingly cater to the most advantaged students

The future of private tutoring

So, some parents do use tutoring as part of hyper-competitive and remedial education strategies. These more traditional uses of tutoring remain relevant for parents today. However, parents now also use tutoring more broadly to optimise their children’s school experience and achievement.

Parents have been “responsibilised” (a concept that assumes people are charged with responsibility for achieving the goals of national policy) for making all manner of choices to create the best education for their child.

Tutoring is one resource for the responsibilised parent.

We need to have a community conversation about the limits of responsibilisation. A few parents talked about the cost constraining their use of tutoring:

I would love to get more tutoring for them but the affordability of it […] you just can’t, especially on one income.

A child’s mastery of literacy shouldn’t be constrained by their parents’ income.

Authors: Karen Dooley, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/parents-say-their-children-have-tutors-to-fill-gaps-not-to-charge-ahead-117661

Writers Wanted

Vital Signs: Google's huge market share doesn't automatically make it a monopoly

arrow_forward

How to Get Direct Auto Insurance No Credit Check in Texas

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

Luke Lazarus Helps Turns Startups into Global Stalwarts

There are many positive aspects to globalization. It is no secret that those who have been impacted by globalization tend to enjoy a higher standard of living in general. One factor that has led to ...

Emma Davidson - avatar Emma Davidson

Digital-based strategies that grow and expand your business

Small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly relying on new technology solutions to strengthen their product development, marketing, and customer engagement activities. Technology adoption...

News Co - avatar News Co

What Few People Know About Painters

What do you look for when renting a house? Most potential tenants look for the general appearance of a house. If the house is poorly decorated, they are likely to turn you off. A painter Adelaide ...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion