To some parents, the signs are obvious: falling grades, incomplete homework, and anxiety before tests can send a loud, clear signal that your child could use an extra push from a tutor.
Oftentimes, however, the need for a tutor may not be as apparent. Students with good grades, who are bright and curious and who excel at certain subjects may not seem like obvious candidates. But the reality is that kids of all interests, abilities, and academic performance levels can benefit from tutoring —not just those who are struggling.
Here are three unlikely students who may be able to take learning to a new level with the help of a tutor.
1. The Perfectionist: “Exceptional.” “Smart.” “Quick to learn.” Any parent would swell with pride to hear a teacher apply these words to their child. But although the early elementary school years may breeze by for superstar students, parents may notice concerning behaviors start to emerge later on. Kids who are praised for being “smart” and who are used to succeeding easily may come to interpret “smart” as being able to do things without effort. Over the years, perfectionist students begin to shy away from subjects that challenge them. Such students come to see mistakes as something to be ashamed of rather than a valuable chance to learn. Instead of pushing themselves to do better, perfectionists may start dismissing themselves as “just bad at science” or “too uncoordinated” for sports.
How can tutoring help your “perfectionist” child? One of the most valuable, long-term benefits tutoring can inspire in a child is a “growth mindset” — the recognition that you can improve your abilities if you set your mind to it. It is important to introduce this concept to your kid at an early age, so they learn to grow and stops comparing their academic success to others. Through tutoring, your student can discover that growth is possible and take charge of their own learning.
2. The “Gifted” Child: Is your student observant, curious, or prone to intense interests? Do they spend hours on a new hobby and think or talk of nothing else? Does your youngster bombard you with questions about the number of orca whales in Florida or why there are so many different languages in the world? Does she notice things that other children or even you yourself may overlook? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might have a gifted child on your hands.
Gifted children can benefit from tutoring in a couple of ways. Bright and curious kids may not feel challenged by the curriculum supplied in schools. Not only can tutors provide more stimulating material, but they can help boost self-esteem by allowing students to flex their strengths. And for children with an interest or talent in a specific subject—such as art, music, or robotics—tutoring can help them channel their curiosity and build skills in that area.
3. The Underperformer: This can be a tricky child to recognize. Underperformers might earn good grades and appear to be functional students on the surface. However, underperforming kids may be coasting by without reaching their potential. Instead of challenging themselves, these students tend to do the minimum amount of work while avoiding participation, extra credit, or leadership opportunities.
If you suspect your kid may be an underperformer, tutoring can motivate your child by helping them set active goals. A tutor can help incorporate your student’s interests into a subject and encourage them to engage with and analyze the material they’re learning—as opposed to merely memorizing facts. In addition, a tutor can help identify and address distractions that could be contributing to underperformance.
Of course, these are only a handful of the many types of learners that may excel with the help of a tutor. Tutoring not only helps to boost grades and improve test scores, but it allows youngsters to build effective work habits, hone social and behavioral skills and practice self-paced, self-directed learning. And, perhaps most important of all, tutoring helps students develop a growth mindset: the confidence that they have the power to improve their abilities through hard work and determination.