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Group Revision Sessions

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Ian1983, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    Hi everyone

    Quick question: has anyone had any experience of running private group tuition sessions in the run up to exams?

    It's something I'm thinking about offering as I'm getting very close to the point where I don't have enough working hours to take on more pupils and I'm thinking it may be a way to accommodate more pupils while at the same time, earn a bit more.

    What's people's experiences with this?
     
  2. Veerwal

    Veerwal New commenter

    It's something I've been thinking about as well, not for the reason you mention but because I like to spend my evenings with my family. I'm looking at hiring a room in the local library and advertise it there as well. Just a thought at the minute though...
     
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    You would be wasting the students' time. The main benefit of tutoring is one-on-one help.

    The only kind of thing like this that does help are the intensive revision courses (for small groups), given over the Easter holidays by some schools. When I was in Berlin I gave two such courses, based at an international school. One was for HL maths, the other for SL maths (IB diploma). However, these courses were each 3 full school days of nothing but maths, and full classroom facilities (e.g. interactive whiteboard). The cost of the course was very substantial, and my small groups of students came from far flung parts of Germany, and even abroad. This is a far cry from what you are thinking of.
     
  4. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the feedback and you may well be right - it might be a rubbish idea! :)

    However, there's a couple of reasons why I thought there might be something in it.

    Firstly, I know of tuition centres doing very nicely out of small group sessions (there's one about 10 miles from me that caters for up to 6 pupils at a time and I know that they're over-subscribed. This suggests that there is a market for it).

    Secondly, in my opinion, high quality private tuition is very hard to come by by Easter - good maths tutors are generally fully booked by then and, although schools may offer revision sessions, these are often 1-to-15 or 1-to-20 (or certainly have been at the schools that I've taught at).

    My idea was to keep the groups to a maximum of 5 pupils per teacher. If I had 6-10 subscribed, I'd bring in a 2nd maths teacher and split the group into two tables, myself on one, the other teacher on the other. I've had a lot of success with paired tuition and so I don't totally believe that 1-to-1 is the only option.
     
    Veerwal and wanet like this.
  5. colinbillett

    colinbillett Occasional commenter

    I do one small group, of adults, and it is going very well. We meet in one house, four of us, and I provide some stimulus activities, and then we look at exam papers. Two pairs would be ideal, but one person dropped out, but all three help each other, share ideas and solutions, and I chip in with questions, hints, scaffolding, practical equipment, square paper, and final arbiter of interpretation of the mark scheme. I also take mini-whiteboards and pens, and stuff like dice, cubes, tracing paper, mirrors etc. So far everyone is pleased with the progress, and I'm pleased that they are pleased.
     
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Absolutely true, but as you point out it's the centre that's doing very nicely. Yes, there are plenty of parents out there who just look at the cost. £10 to £20 can seem like a bargain until you multiply this by the number of students in the group, which gives the true rate. Yes, there is indeed a market. I never said there wasn't, just that such a set up isn't very beneficial to the students.
     
  7. Skillsheets

    Skillsheets Occasional commenter

    You would be lucky to find a set of compatible students. On the other hand I find there are usually key topics that EVERY student needs to look at which you could do in a group. It could work with hard working motivated students but individually tailored tuition is better for the students. I often save on preparation by doing the same lesson three or four times with different individual students in the same week but they all have their own ways of doing things that I have to take into account.
     
  8. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    One to one is certainly not the only way. It can be the best way but sometimes it is not. I teach youngsters and adults alike. There are some things that just don't work one to one and are better in a pair or a group. Anything with an element of competition for example. Similarly there are some things that just don't work in a group. I would say that if you know the students before hand and know that they have similar strengths / weaknesses / target grade then it may well work. Youngsters can learn from each other. I always remember a situation in a classroom where I had explained a point inside out and back to front and one or two still didn't get it until one of the other kids explained it, using the same words as I did......and then they got it! Best way to show you know is to show someone else.
    Pick your group carefully
     
    peterdevon and Skillsheets like this.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    If all your pupils come from one local school and are sitting the same courses I don't see why this wouldn't work. You could advertise it by stating which aspects of the course you were going to cover in each session. I know lots of pupils who might benefit from a few revision sessions but who don't need (or can't afford) a whole series of one-to-one.
     
    colinbillett and wanet like this.
  10. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the responses.

    If all your pupils come from one local school and are sitting the same courses I don't see why this wouldn't work

    That's the thing, I get the majority of my pupils from the local school. This is partly because I used to work with the HOD so he recommends me to any parents who ask and partly because I'm very well-known locally.

    I can see the disadvantages of a group session compared to 1 on 1 but I also think that by Easter, I'll be fully booked (I more or less am anyway) and so will any other good maths tutor. Therefore the alternatives are either no tuition or tuition from someone who probably isn't very good at it.

    It's something I'll keep in mind as an option anyway and re-consider in April - I'll need to have someone stop anyway to free up a space so it might not even be an option anyway.
     
  11. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    This is simply wishful thinking on your part. Every student has somewhat different needs. With one-on-one all the time is devoted to the specific needs of one student. In a group a student spends most of his/her time listening to you addressing the different needs of other students.
     
  12. thekizzaa

    thekizzaa New commenter

    I do a combination of one-to-one and small group sessions (of 4). I find that the same amount of learning occurs in both sessions, albeit it may be because my group sessions are 1 and a half hours instead of 1 hour for one-to-one. All my students seem happy, and since I've made it very clear to both them and their parents its a group session, no one is being fooled or cheated!

    The reason I do this is obviously for the money (I earn 3 times as much in a group than I do in one-to-one), and to be honest I prefer teaching more than 1 student at a time. Everyone is different - both tutors and tutees - so its possible some aren't equipped to deliver it/learn from those sessions.

    I'm going to be running intensive courses in Easter and May/June half term, both small group and classroom sessions, and I'm expecting (and hoping!) to have a lot of interest.

    Ultimately, do what you think is best. For me, the extra money doing group makes more sense. If a student doesn't learn well in them, that could either be because a tutor doesn't have the skill/experience to deliver such sessions, or the kid doesn't respond well to these sessions.

    I hope this clears up what sounded like basically a rant before!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2016
    wanet likes this.
  13. thekizzaa

    thekizzaa New commenter

    I've revised my post.

    Also, depends how you run a group session I guess. In my groups, students all work on the topic they'd want to go over/things I feel they need to learn, so at points all 4 students do different things. It's not easy, but all the students feel that they're learning and I can see that they're learning.

    Just because you have a difference of opinion doesn't mean you're right. As others have said, one-to-one isn't the only way.
     
  14. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    In my groups, students all work on the topic they'd want to go over/things I feel they need to learn, so at points all 4 students do different things.

    That's interesting, as it's exactly how I was thinking (I've dismissed the idea of finding a group at the same level looking to work on the same things at the same time on a Sunday evening, as I've probably got more chance of winning the lottery!)

    What I'd be interested to know is how do you resources the sessions?

    Reason I ask this is that in the past when teaching in schools, I've been tasked with running group sessions in group etc and been provided with the resources, but I've always found these very ineffective - it's basically been 'here you go Ian, here's some past papers, here's some mark schemes, the pupils can work through these and use the mark schemes to mark their own work'

    Problems with this IMO:
    • Pupils often can't follow the mark schemes
    • There's no follow up questions (e.g. if a pupil gets question 3 on dividing in a given ratio wrong, they should be practising 3 or 4 more questions on this topic, not simply moving onto question 4)

    What I was thinking is:
    • Provide each pupil with a questions pack appropriate to their level (pupils aiming for grade C do the grade C pack etc)
    • Every question has a worked solution on the back that is pupil friendly and easy to follow, not just the mark scheme
    • Have a bank of follow up questions available - e.g. in the above scenario, pupils getting question 3 wrong would then grab a worksheet on dividing in a given ratio and successfully complete this, not just move onto question 4
    I do acknowledge that having several pupils in a group is a weakness, as is having pupils of different levels, but I also think that by having the session so well resourced, it could still be very beneficial to those involved.

    What do you think of the plans above Thekizzaa? And how do they compare with how you structure and resource the sessions?
     
  15. thekizzaa

    thekizzaa New commenter

    Hi Ian, I'm glad I can help.

    Your ideas seem very organised. It would be nice to do something like that. However, that seems like it would take an unreal amount of time! Also, if a kid wants to look at something from a specific topic, how would you help/direct them to that? I think revision workbooks are really useful for this already.

    What I usually do is generally just ask the students what they want to do, and they usually know as I ask them to think about it before the lesson. Then I'll go over a couple of examples, and see if they can answer a few on their own. For this, I usually make up some questions to check later (I tutor Maths, so it's usually easy to). Otherwise I just find some resource either on my hard drive or Google that seems appropriate, and print it out for them, all while someone else is going through a question from a revision guide.

    One thing I find useful is having both a laptop and an iPad with me. That way, I can have some kids working on past paper questions on the iPad, the other having a worksheet I've printed off using a worksheet, and another kid being tutored on a topic they'd like to go over!

    I hope that's useful!
     
  16. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    Cheers again for the response.

    Your ideas seem very organised. It would be nice to do something like that. However, that seems like it would take an unreal amount of time!


    I'd say the best part of a week to put all the resources together before the first session, but then once they're made, they're made. I'd say that for future sessions and even future years, I could simply re-print what I'd already produced.

    Also, if a kid wants to look at something from a specific topic, how would you help/direct them to that?

    If they wanted to work on simultaneous equations (to pick a random example), and simultaneous equations were on page 7 of their Questions Pack, they could turn straight to page 7. If, after doing these, they needed more work on this topic, I could get another bank of questions either from a textbook or from the laptop.

    What I usually do is generally just ask the students what they want to do, and they usually know as I ask them to think about it before the lesson. Then I'll go over a couple of examples, and see if they can answer a few on their own.

    So say if John says 'I need to work on solving equations', Steve says 'I've never got volume of prisms', Amy says 'histograms are just impossible' and Muhammad says 'I can never do upper and lower bounds' (I'm making up random names and topics here by the way!), how do you go about juggling 4 such different topics? Or do you find this sort of scenario doesn't happen in reality?

    This is the sort of problem scenario I've been contemplating how I'd deal with. My thought process in having the Question Packs with worked solutions is that if this scenario I'd occurred, Steve, Amy and Muhammad would be able to look through the worked examples for their own chosen topics while I spent a bit of time going through solving equations with John. By doing so, they'd potentially be less reliant on my individual attention.

    Another potential way (that I've literally only just thought of) is to have 3 laptops (I have 3 already so no extra expense) set up with the Mathswatch CD Rom in each. I could say to Steve 'volumes of prisms is clip 156, you spend a few minutes watching that while I do solving equations with John, then I'll come and work with you on prisms'. I guess what I'm getting at (and sort of typing as I think) is how to ensure that the time spent with John on solving equations is not wasted time for the other 3 kids.
     
  17. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    I tried it some years ago when I was in my second or third year of tutoring. The first time was for a group of friends all at the same school and all in the same class. It worked really well and we all had an absolute blast along the way. The next year I tried again (but this time advertised) and found myself with a group of kids who didn't know each other and it was a disaster. Children didn't want to answer verbally, didn't want to be first to finish a task, wouldn't admit they didn't know something, didn't want to say or do anything that might result in them looking a bit silly in front of the others. I've never tried it since.
     
  18. thekizzaa

    thekizzaa New commenter

    So say if John says 'I need to work on solving equations', Steve says 'I've never got volume of prisms', Amy says 'histograms are just impossible' and Muhammad says 'I can never do upper and lower bounds' (I'm making up random names and topics here by the way!), how do you go about juggling 4 such different topics? Or do you find this sort of scenario doesn't happen in reality?

    I'm not going to lie, it is tricky juggling tuition when it is like this. It's much, much easier when there's 3 kids to tutor instead of 4. It's harder, but not impossible.

    If they want to work on different topics, like before I'll ask them to have a go themselves at a question I've asked them, and then I can interject if they need specific help.

    Sure, the kids have to wait for a couple of minutes at a time, but they know this, and again because it's an hour and a half, they get enough time for solid learning. All of my students in groups have been happy with it so far!

    My thought process in having the Question Packs with worked solutions is that if this scenario I'd occurred, Steve, Amy and Muhammad would be able to look through the worked examples for their own chosen topics while I spent a bit of time going through solving equations with John.

    The way I see it, if the kids are happy and feel like they're learning, do whatever you think is best!

    I've thought would be good is to just have booklets of particular topics, with mark schemes and possibly examiners comments.

    Again, this is your choice. Me personally, I don't like the idea of just throwing them worked examples and MathsWatch CDs for them to look at. Going to a tutor is so they can learn things from you. If all you're doing is giving them something they just quickly find on Google (albeit I get that you're doing it to do they're not just sitting there), I don't see the point in wasting their parents money. Again, it depends on how you feel about doing it all really! I'd be pretty confused if I asked my child what they did in tutoring today, and they replied "I watched a video on the topic"

    I'm sure whatever you do will work eventually. I wouldn't expect it to go 100% smoothly straight away, but it's all about continuing to improve your sessions until you're happy :)

    Do let me know how it goes once it's kicked off!
     
  19. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    I'm not going to lie, it is tricky juggling tuition when it is like this. It's much, much easier when there's 3 kids to tutor instead of 4. It's harder, but not impossible.

    Fully see what you're saying re in the difference in 3 v 4. I was looking at having up to 5, so I guess for me, it would become more important to have some form of additional support available in whatever form that might be.



    I'd be pretty confused if I asked my child what they did in tutoring today, and they replied "I watched a video

    I'd say 'how long was the video?', 'about 3 minutes', 'so you didn't just watch a video then. What did you do for the other 57 minutes?'.

    I think this sort of thing is all about how you justify it / sell the benefits. My plan would be to advertise the sessions through a 'Group Revisions Sessions' page on my website. On this page, I'd outline the format the sessions will take. I would make it clear on here that Group Sessions are not 1-to-1 tuition and so there will be occasions when I am working with other pupils. I would list the resources available (Revision Packs, Worked Solutions, Mathswatch Videos) and explain why these are so beneficial. This information would also be provided to every parent on the Parents Information Sheet.

    By doing this, I'd be making it very difficult for them to criticise me by twisting things with comments like 'all you're doing is giving them something they just quickly find on Google' and 'just throwing them worked examples and MathsWatch CDs for them to look at' because I'd have told them from the very start that the sessions would contain these resources and they'd have paid for the block of sessions knowing this. Any reasonable parent would know that I wasn't just 'chucking resources at them' anyway.



    I'm sure whatever you do will work eventually. I wouldn't expect it to go 100% smoothly straight away, but it's all about continuing to improve your sessions until you're happy :)

    Do let me know how it goes once it's kicked off!


    Sure there will be areas to improve on in the first few sessions! And thanks, will do!
     
  20. thekizzaa

    thekizzaa New commenter

    I've sent you a PM, Ian.
     

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