Tutored Privately

In city schools most of the parents who can financially afford and even some who can ill-afford send their children to private tutors in addition to the regular schools. Now, the private tuitions are not aimed at remedial teaching to help the child understand what she finds difficult, but is parallel teaching of the entire syllabus already covered in the school. Many of the bright students too attend private coaching. Parents think that the children can’t do well in examinations if their children do not attend tuitions.

In Bangalore we see children crowded near tuition classes at 5 in the morning. They also rush back to these classes sooner they return from the regular schools. What gets taught in the private tuitions is not in synch with the flow in schools. Schools race to cover the syllabus as soon as possible so that the children get a month or two before the final examination to revise the lessons. The pace at private classes is different. Different lessons progress in the two places. The child is exposed to twice the amount of topics at a time. A high school has many diverse subjects to cope with and high expectations from the parents and teachers. It is not easy.

Back from the tuition classes, physically and mentally tired, it is already late for dinner. The child gulps something and sits for the mandatory home work from schools, fuming and fretting. Completing the work is not a joy, but an obligation that the child would like to get done with to avoid embarrassment in the class the next day. Instead of helping her consolidate what is taught in the class, the home work becomes a burden, completed mechanically without thought – mostly copying answers from the text book without applying the mind.

Two teachers would have different styles of teaching. The same lessons taught at school and in tuition classes could emphasise on different aspects. This could confuse the student if the parents and teachers do not take care to instil in the student an understanding that tuitions complement the teaching in schools. If the child thinks that private tuition is required because the schools do not teach well, then her interest and attention in the school would diminish, which would be a big loss.

There are occasions when the tutors contradict what is taught in the schools and vice versa. Irresponsibly telling the children that a teacher in the school or in tuition classes is wrong can cause the student to lose trust in the teacher. Whereas it is important to correct errors, the teacher should do it objectively, reasoning out with the children with authentic references on what is right and what is wrong. A personal attack and criticism of the other is harmful.

The principal of Sri Bharathi Vidyalaya planned to meet all the private tutors of students of class X of the school and discuss how the tutors and the school could work together to enrich the learning experience of the children. The children did not want to give away the names of the tutors – the tutors did not want to meet  teachers at the school, though they themselves are teachers in some other schools. There seems to be an uneasy disharmony between the two roles.

As parents, please do not let a thought creep to the mind of your child that the tuition classes are needed because the schools do not teach well. Do not think that the child would automatically do well because you spend money on tuition. It can be counter-productive if you don’t help the child to complement the learning in two places. If the child neglects school work thinking that the tuitions would help her score well and the school is a nuisance, she creates stress for herself.

Please think if the private tuition is needed at all. If you can devote some time to be with your child, to learn and teach her what she finds difficult, the results would be  far better. It is fun to go back to high school text books and study along with your child.

In my opinion, private tuitions create more confusion and harm than good.

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About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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2 Responses to Tutored Privately

  1. pgbhat says:

    From: P V Maiya [mailto:pvmaiya@gmail.com]

    Private tuition is a commercial venture, well established for decades now.
    Mr. Manohar Joshi , ex-speaker Loka sabha, ex-chief minister Maharashtra, now an M.P., was a humble teacher, started a tutorial called Kohinoor and franchised it to become very very wealthy even legitimately. There is no way this can be stopped, unless the schools have dedicated teachers, smaller classes etc.
    In the interim which could be long, why not think of the schools themselves offering additional tutu ions by teachers on separate payment, on the condition the management of these spl classes are subjected to strict vigil and they do not take place as substitutions for regular classes; let this be offered to weaker students, subject wise for limited period. If the fees are kept moderate and teachers get paid out of this a substantial share, it might help relatively moderate income groups. Also this will provide a competition for private tuitions; at least their fees will come down. For teachers it is an additional income. The near parallel is permission for Govt doctors to do private practice.

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  2. Raghu Hudli says:

    PG, thanks for yet another great blog. I think roots of the problem with private tutoring is really in our education system. In US and other countries where teachers have a greater degree of autonomy and the government does very little in administration of academics, these problems do not exist. In out country teachers do not have the motivation, dedication, and often competence to teach. With centralized examination, evaluation and seat allocation, our children are burdened with unwanted stress and a faulty system. Most other countries grant a great deal of autonomy to teachers. Teachers not only teach, but also evaluate their students. If we did that, then private tutoring would not be needed. Our ancient “guru-shisya parampara” gave full autonomy to the gurus.

    Raghu

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