Thursday, 5 December 2013

Skype - "a handy tutoring tool"

Sara Chatterton, of Chatterton Tuition, uses Skype for some Tutoring Lessons – we asked her what she thinks of this ‘handy little tutoring tool’ …

What is Skype?
A way of teaching online.  A great way to tutor without having to be with the student in person.  Its free and I find it really easy to use.

Do you do a lot of Skype tutoring?
One or two hours a week, but this increases dramatically when it snows!  Occasionally I take enquiries from families who live a distance away, perhaps on a farm or outlying area – Skype is definitely a good idea for them!  Also from children away from home at boarding school and the occasional overseas student.

What are the advantages of using Skype in tutoring?
Well, obviously there is one big advantage because it means that tutoring doesn’t have to stop due to the weather.  Also, it saves time in travel (either for me or for my student) and the cost of fuel.  The time that I can spend tutoring increases too because I am able to tutor students in different time zones.  Increasingly children are becoming more and more comfortable and capable with  using technology so it isn’t a problem for them at all!

What are the disadvantages?
If a student struggles with confidence, a lesson via Skype can be limited as I always find a one-to-one personal connection is much more valuable in this situation.  Also, there is the occasional hiccup with a student’s internet connection.  Tutoring by Skype is also dependent on good organisational skills.  You have to be well prepared and I often email what we might cover ahead of time so that we can both be working from the same worksheet for example.  Though you can send files to each other via Skype while you are talking.

Do you like tutoring using Skype?
It very much depends on the student concerned and how communicative they are.  I can’t see what they are writing as they write it so I need the student to speak to me about what they are doing at all stages.  Providing they are communicative then its great! I love the convenience and ease of using Skype.
How do parents pay for their children’s lessons?
Parents either post a cheque to me or the majority pay me by BACS.

Do you recommend your other tutors to use Skype?

Most definitely, though it should never totally take the place of one-to-one tuition for most students.  It certainly has a place in certain circumstances and is a really useful way to keep continuity for students, especially in the lead up to exams or tests.  I’ve learned a lot from using it, and its certainly a ‘very handy tutoring tool’!

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