Sneak a look into the future with this special, two-part series into the “future of tutoring” from the Minerva HQ.
In Part One, we’ll discuss why tutoring has a future in the first place, as well as the shift toward online work and the changing trends in homeschooling.
Part Two, will concentrate on bigger, more hypothetical shifts, whilst also focusing on what tutors can do to futureproof their careers.
In this post, Minerva gets its crystal ball out and assesses some of the potential shifts that could impact the tutoring profession in the years ahead. Naturally, this means taking a look at traditional schooling, online courses, homeschooling and virtual academies as well, as the above are now all tightly interwoven with the role and concept of private tuition.
We’ll be looking at whether tutoring definitely has a future, what the balance between online and offline tuition might look like, and what the proportional shift from traditional group schooling to private or reduced group tuition might look like.
Part Two will see us posit five paradigm shifts that the future of tutoring may herald for the education sector over the next half decade or so.
The aim is to help parents, teachers, current tutors and aspiring tutors – anyone who is interested in the future of tutoring – get a glimpse of what’s in store for our ancient and much-loved profession. So, if you’re ready, to the crystal ball we go…
Does tutoring have a future?
Traditional systems of education are at a critical juncture. With talk of radical reforms to the schooling system in the air and private/group tuition and online schooling on the rise, it’s an exciting time to think about what the future might hold for tutoring.
Due to the increasing complexity of current traditional educational systems and the resulting need for supplementary education, it seems tutoring will only grow more and more necessary over the coming years.
If there is a maintained increase in students pursuing higher education, tutoring will continue its role in helping aspiring university candidates acquire the relevant skills and knowledge needed to fend off the mounting competition.
If, however, there is a turn toward online degree and diploma courses, tutors will be even more necessary: they’ll be used as in-person (or at least, a person-over-a-video-call) teachers to follow up the lessons from these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), acting as personal trainers that can test their students, help out with particular problems, go back over subjects and slow things down where necessary.
Even at school, the increasing stresses put on traditional teachers – and increasing classroom sizes – means private tutors will increasingly be used to alleviate the stress on an overstretched system whilst addressing the individual needs of a particular student who might be overlooked in a busy and crowded classroom.
Online or offline?
It’s funny: whilst the Covid-19 pandemic had people proclaiming that online and video-based work was undoubtedly the future, it also made us all realise just how much in-person and one-to-one teaching and contact is. It’s not the case for everyone, but real-world contact can be crucial for our mental health and our ability to retain information and learn efficiently, in a happy and healthy way.
So the answer here is, of course: both! There’s no doubt that online tutoring is going to take on far more prevalence than ever before, and this is no bad thing: an extra hour of screen time at the end of the day means access to the best tutors from around the world, and saves on carbon footprints, too.
There will also be a rise in online schooling: homeschooling programmes, as well as entire virtual schools like Minerva’s Virtual Academy, who will continue to offer increased specialisation, personalisation, flexibility and student focus, all from the comfort and safety of your home.
But as we’ve seen already since the pandemic has eased, the demand for in-person tuition is as resilient and strong as ever. This is because many, many children just simply learn better with a real person in the room with them.
It’s the interpersonal dynamic of private tuition that’s one of its strongest suits: a tutor is a mentor, a confidence-booster, a role-model and a teacher of social skills too, not just a robot programmed to help your child with their algebra.
The feeling of elation, of collaborating with someone, of being praised – the energy in the room this creates – all goes towards a more lasting learning experience, and an enjoyable one at that, separate from the usual strictures and drudgeries associated with screen time.
Supplementary or holistic?
The tutoring industry is at an interesting and exciting stage where it is branching tangibly into two possible modes: supplementary (hiring a private tutor for any number of hours after school to supplement a child’s traditional education) and holistic (tutoring or mentoring companies offering bespoke homeschooling programs for kids who would otherwise struggle with traditional schooling, be that for social, geographical, behavioural or intellectual reasons).
We believe there will be a strong market for regular and ongoing supplementary tuition over the next decade, as increasing numbers of parents seek to stabilise their child’s education with a bit of one-on-one time: to check in, slow things down and attend to the specific subject areas and needs of each individual student in order to help them succeed as best they can.
However, due to several contributing factors, like the increasing (and increasingly-difficult-to-justify) price rise of private schooling, the overstretching of the state system and the growing awareness that bespoke education need not exclude children from less affluent backgrounds, holistic tuition will see a massive increase over the coming years.
The opportunity to blend the essentials and the basics of traditional education with bespoke and specialised curriculums is attracting many families and children for whom focus, specialisation and career passion are important aspects from the off.
Homeschooling also suits those who want a more all-rounded and stimulating education for their children, with the flexibility to pursue natural avenues of interest that crop up whilst still achieving the qualifications necessary to succeed in the world after schooling.
There’s a lot of scope for innovation in the United Kingdom when it comes to homeschooling: as long as you inform your local council, you can forge an entirely individualised and bespoke curriculum with your child that blends traditional subjects with things like coding, mandarin or conservation, to explore avenues your child might have a natural passion for and give them a headstart in careers they might have set their heart on.
Then there’s the rise of innovative educational alternatives like Minerva’s Virtual Academy. MVA is an online school for Years 9 – 13 designed to make our one-to-one homeschooling expertise more accessible, offering it at a more affordable price and enabling students from all around the country to study the British Curriculum with a team of expert private teachers and tutors wherever there’s an internet link.
All the best bits about school are carried over – live group lessons, extra-curricular activities and even weekly assemblies – and put online, helping do away with any issues around a lack of social interaction for your child.
The live online lessons are mixed with self-taught modules and exams to ensure your child maintains all the advantages of homeschooling that suit the curious, engaged mind. This helps you rest easy in the knowledge that your child is just in the next room, being fully looked-after, and you can chip in and be a part of whatever they’re learning as much as you want.
The balance between live group lessons and self-taught periods means they’ll get a good balance of group-time and “me-time” during the day, every day – and so will parents.
We see this as the future of tutoring because it is more flexible, adaptable and light on its feet, despite being as rigorous and offering the same opportunities for qualification as a traditional school. In a traditional school a full-time member of staff would have to be hired for such ‘bolt-on’ subjects, but with homeschooling and tuition agencies like Minerva, a child can cover the core syllabus with a Virtual Academy whilst taking on a specialised tutor easily and flexibly for whatever they wish.
This all fits into the increasing trend for personalisation, specialisation and the not-all-bad rise of the so-called ‘snowflake’: more on which in Part Two. We’ll also take a look at the proliferation of tutors and what that means for the industry, as well as online courses and tuition vying with traditional higher education models and how tutors can work better to augment traditional schooling experiences. See you next time!
Get in touch
If you want to find out more about Minerva’s homeschooling programmes, or about Minerva’s Virtual Academy, get in touch here. There’s only so much blog you can read before you want to get on the phone with someone, after all!