Tutors Are Not There to Spoon-Feed Students, but to Equip Them for Independent Learning

Tutors Are Not There to Spoon-Feed Students, but to Equip Them for Independent Learning

There’s a concern that private tutors spoon-feed information to students just so they can pass exams. But this isn’t the case for the majority of skilled private tutors, who aim to foster their students’ independence, enhancing academic performance and their enjoyment in the learning process. 

True academic success goes beyond just memorising facts and passing exams. Even though schools around the world often use these as benchmarks, I don’t believe any educator actually enjoys just prepping students for tests. 

Teachers would rather use their expertise to really engage and inspire their students. When a student truly understands a subject, remembering dates and details comes naturally. Learning independently is a life-long skill.

What are the key traits of an independent learner?

  • Goal orientated: Students set their learning goals and actively seek out resources to achieve them.
  • Critical thinker: Students are good at analysing information, thinking outside the box, are able to find solutions to problems and form their own conclusions.
  • Effective time managers: Students can plan and manage their study time effectively.
  • Self-motivated: Students have a thirst for knowledge and genuine passion for learning.
  • Self-disciplined: Discipline is a key trait for an independent learner -  students can self-regulate and keep themselves on track.

But some people are concerned that private tutoring is just about spoon-feeding information to students, making them overly dependent on outside help. While it’s true that some tutors are focused on cramming for exams, this overlooks the broader benefits of tutoring. 

Even in short-term placements, a skilled tutor can help develop a student’s ability to learn independently - enhancing academic performance and making learning a more enjoyable and self-driven process. 

A study by B.J Zimmerman in 2002 showed that when students have more control over their own learning, they not only understand and remember more but also build skills that are key for success in school and throughout life. The benefits of being an independent learner reach beyond the classroom. People who can steer their own learning journey are set up for success in the workplace, where taking initiative and tackling problems are prized skills. The confidence gained from learning independently empowers our students to take on new challenges at every stage of life. 

Our CEO and Founder, Adam Caller, explains how a strength-based education helps students to become independent learners:

“Teaching a young person for whom a particular topic might feel irrelevant is like trying to force the same poles of two magnets together – there will be inevitable resistance and no strong connection. It certainly won’t stick. A strength-based education, on the other hand, allows subjects and talents to attract each other. The learner and the topic have a strong connection, with neither repelling the other. This completely changes the learning culture for that student. They no longer associate learning with forced teaching from within the four walls of a classroom. Instead, learning becomes a lifelong venture that encourages personal growth, and moves with their minds and aptitudes, as opposed to against them.”

How Tutors International cultivates independent learners

Our approach at Tutors International is multifaceted, and the unique benefit of private tutoring is the ability to create personalised educational programmes for every child, working to their strengths:

  • Collaborative Learning: Instead of dictating, we engage students in discussions, making learning a shared responsibility.
  • Encouraging Inquiry: We employ open-ended questions that challenge students to think and develop their own solutions.
  • Teaching Learning Strategies: Our tutors impart effective research techniques, organisational skills, and the use of digital resources, enhancing students’ ability to manage their own learning.
  • Reflective Practices: We guide students to reflect on their learning experiences, helping them understand not just the "what," but the "how" and "why" of their learning.
  • Celebrating Effort: Recognising efforts rather than just outcomes, we help build resilience and intrinsic motivation.

These strategies create knowledgeable self-directed learners, students who have developed both the focus and critical thinking skills they need to succeed in school and thrive in a world that requires them to continue learning throughout their lives.

Watch Joanna Dunckley-Phillips, Client Relationship Manager at Tutors International and former private tutor, extol the benefits of an interest-led dialogue between student and tutor, known as the Socratic method of teaching, which private tutors use to foster independent learning.

At Tutors International, we do not just prepare students for exams; we prepare them for life. Our mission is to foster self-sufficient learners who are equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern world with confidence and skill.  

  • Tutors International provides an unparalleled tutoring service that matches the right tutor with the right child, in order for the student to fully reach their personal potential and academic excellence.
  • Providing a service for children of all ages at different points in their educational journeys, Tutors International is a reputable tutoring company founded on a commitment to finding the perfect tutor to realise the specific goals and aspirations of each student.
  • Private Tutors are available for residential full-time positions, after-school assistance, and homeschooling.
  • Founded in 1999 by Adam Caller, Tutors International is a private company based in Oxford, a city renowned for academic excellence. Our select clientele receives a personally tailored service, with discretion and confidentiality guaranteed.

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