Why is tutoring such a big deal with some people?

(302 Posts)
APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:05:14

We downloaded some past papers. We 'tutored' our DCs in standard test taking techniques ie watch the clock, skip a question if you are stuck and return to it later, recheck your maths answers if you have the time and so on. Now, if parents want to pay someone to tutor their DCs in such obvious exam techniques then my rates are quite reasonable smile

After listening to so many presumably working class parents harp on about middle class parents buying a GS place for their dim? DCs, I wonder if the said parents realise how stupid they sound.

I mean, there is no secret technique that is known only to the Secret Brotherhood of Tutors. Some parents haven't the inclination to do the above and so they hire someone to do it for them. This hardly gives their kids an advantage over yours.

I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?

Brycie Wed 05-Dec-12 11:37:58

REallytired: sounds like an interesting approach.

Copthallresident Wed 05-Dec-12 16:42:53

APMF Nothing wrong with wanting the best for your child and supporting them to achieve their potential and get where they want to go. Most of us know instinctively how to do that, or our child makes it clear to us, without pushing them too hard or damaging their confidence. The problem is that it isn't a case of whether you do or don't "tutor". It's a big deal for some people because of all the manifestations of that word, and the way that parents best instincts about their child get hijacked by the parental angst around exams for selective schools. Around here we have a tutoring industry that reminds me of nothing so much as Victorian quack doctors. Tutors cash in on the desperation, anxiety and competitiveness of parents by allowing them to think they have some sort of inside track on success in selective school exams. They allow parents to think that by word of mouth they are gaining admission to their exclusive services, reinforced by having selection tests for their tutoring (so it is pretty much a self fulfilling prophecy) and even bringing out books. What they are actually getting exclusive admission to is being crammed around a kitchen table with other children doing endless repeat papers, and if they are lucky getting some of the feedback and advice on exam technique you mention. Tutoring can be a positive experience but often it isn't. What your child will need most to achieve their potential is confidence, and parents who become so desperate that they are prepared to go through whatever hoops are created by Chinese whispers in the playground tend to lose sight of that, and regret it later. It really is true from DD's peers that where children go to university is in the end pretty much in line with what you would expect from their ability regardless of where they went to school (though we have excellent comps and sixth form colleges around here). I am very glad my DCs got to the selective schools they wanted, and I did help them with that, but I was never under any illusions that we were buying some sort of fast track to the top, just the benefit of the facilities and a culture that suited them .

It is also a big deal because some children that don't have the benefit of parents who are able or willing to support them. Private schools have bursary and access schemes, if not arising from their ethos, then to retain charitable funding. Yet with state funding the Grammar Schools around here appear to have no obligation to enable access, as indeed Universities do as a condition of their state funding, or even ensure an even playing field in their exams. As long as they get a cohort of bright students who will pass exams they don't put themselves out in any way to neutralise the tutoring culture, or facilitate bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds to have the opportunities they offer. They should be governed by the same moral framework on their admissions as exists in the rest of our Education system.

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