Magnitude of 1:1

If you know anything about the late Rita Pierson, you’ll know her infectious passion for connecting with the children you teach and being a champion for every child you work with.  If you haven’t seen Rita’s powerful TedTalk, please watch the video now.

Watch Video

As Rita says, the relationships and connection in the classroom are important, we all know that a deciding factor on GCSE choices and often A level choices is whether the student likes the teacher or not. However, when it comes to tutoring, the importance of a positive relationship and connection between student and tutor is magnified tenfold.

I’m a huge advocator for qualified teachers to undertake additional training on the skills needed for 1:1 relationship before they start one to one tutoring relationships. Not because I don’t think they have the skills, but because in the UK teacher training is all about working with groups, so the skills required to form a positive 1:1 relationship is missed out of all the training.  Why would you teach what you don’t need to use? Even SEND support in schools is delivered to small groups. A very different skillset is needed for working 1:1 than is required for groups, this course aims to fill that gap.

When we are asking a student to learn, we are asking them to go beyond what they already know and step outside of where they are comfortable. We are asking all learners to take risks and to be vulnerable. In classrooms children who struggle can disappear, they can remain quiet, blending into the crowd and bring as minimal notice to themselves as possible. Or, children can go the other way, they can misbehave so much they get sent out and avoid doing any schoolwork that may make them feel small and vulnerable.

In a 1:1 relationship such as tutoring, how can a student hide? A tutor who does not realise they are holding a students’ self-esteem in their hands is a tutor who is going to struggle with a student.

I’ve seen so many great classroom teachers fail at tutoring. I’ve also seen some amazing tutors fail at teaching. Why is that? It’s the capacity to work with (and sometimes see the importance of) the tutor/student relationship. How you are making a child feel is just as important as any learning intervention you are using.

Tutoring is a journey. It is a unique journey with every student. No two students are ever the same. Tutors who establish a positive relationship will have an easier time in their journey, mainly because the students will want to go with the tutor.  However, tutors who ignore the relationship and don’t give as much importance to their student’s feelings and emotional worlds will have a much tougher time, some may never arrive at their destination at all.   Their journey will be full of roadblocks and obstructions.

Can the student learn and reach academic success just through the relationship alone, with no specialist interventions? Probably not as well as they could with additional skilled tutoring, but they will still improve more than you can imagine. However, can a student thrive in a tutoring relationship where there is no positive relationship, absolutely not.

This course is going to support you in building the best possible relationships with your students, so that all your tutoring skills fall into receptive minds, and you can support students who are willing to be vulnerable and take risk in the presence of an adult.

I hope you get the most out of this course by completing all the exercises and the end of course assignment.

If you have any questions along the way, feel free to send me a private message using the ‘contact course tutor’ link at the bottom of each lesson page.

Best Wishes

Pippa Bealing

Director, Westcountry Practice.