“Chidren must be taught HOW TO THINK, not what to think.”
This quote from the famous cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) illustrates a certain philosophy about education that still rings true today which would aim students to think for themselves and reflect on what they are learning rather than memorizing by heart thousands of notions without knowing how to use them.
Students need to be taught to reason and reflect.
What is the current condition of academic learning in the world today? And in the “old continent”?
Scandinavia is applauded in the north while the southern countries are criticized, the school systems in Europe are deeply heterogeneous and it’s not getting any better.
In the South and East parts of the European Union, schools are unable to meet the high expectations of the parents and students alike, who are no longer trusting their national education systems to lead their child to academic achievement, and are increasingly orienting themselves to private tutoring and homework helpers to get their kids moving along academically.
It is often said and believed that academic tutoring emerges from the deficiencies of the country’s National Education System. Can the same phenomenon be observed in all European countries? The answer is NO!
Now sit back, relax and let Superprof take you on a European tour of personal tutoring.
According to a study conducted by Mark Bray, Chair Professor of Comparative Education in the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) at the University of Hong Kong, here are the greatest consumers of private academic tutoring in Europe:
Among these European countries, except Germany, are those who were hit the hardest by economic crises, recessions and mass unemployment over the past decade.
In these geographic areas, more and more students are unemployed even though they have validated a higher education diploma, confidence in the national school system declines as competition for the few jobs available increases.
Teenagers often get anxious about the amount of pressure put on them by their parents, teachers and friends. Academic tutors help students feel that they are not alone and that they will succeed. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Due to the depressing rise in unemployment, many university graduates have become personal educators who are tutoring younger students in many required subjects such as history, geography, science and mathematics to make ends meet.
In addition, giving private tuition provides a better education and an academic course refresher for pupils with academic difficulties.
From this point of view, parents who allocate a portion of their budget each month for a private tutor feel that they are taking an active interest in the education of their children. Private tutoring is viewed by parents as a protective bulwark against future school failure and poverty.
The race for the diploma, the competition, the academic performance, are all factors that push parents to hire a private instructor for their son or daughter.
In Europe, more than a third of secondary school students have already taken remedial classes and extra school support has rapidly branched out: many tutoring centres are well established in major cities all over the “old continent.”
And if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home, online tutoring is quite a popular choice. Private online teachers have multiplied in the past few years, and some like Superprof are young and already in the process of internationalization:
Superprof tutors are offered in France and Switzerland with future expansion on the horizon.
Other reliable online tutoring companies include:
In Europe, private tutoring is most sought out by:
But what is the impact of private tutoring in these Latin-based countries?
According to a survey conducted by a group of English-speaking researchers for the European Commission, private tutoring would only favour wealthy social groups.
This proves to be true because it helps rich children who are already succeeding in school strive for excellence to gain access into prestigious private schools and universities. The children without capital gains, who are having difficulties and are from disadvantaged families cannot benefit from a private educator because the money is simply not there…
Some parents fear that without the help of personal tutors their struggling children will fail and be doomed to living on the streets. (Source: Visual Hunt)
The private tutoring market would, therefore, confirm the school inequalities already at work in most primary schools, secondary schools and universities…
In the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland), Ireland and Germany at-home private education are already highly developed, but for reasons different than for the Latin-based countries. On the other hand, private tutoring is marginal in Scandinavia.
The Anglo-Saxons rely heavily on remedial classes and intensive courses from private tutors in preparation for important Key Stage and A-Level exams. However, mathematical tutors are in the most demand with 77% of students requiring remedial support in this subject. Geometry, trigonometry, algebra and calculus, these pitied students need help with all of it!
Children from disadvantaged households seek less academic support classes.
At the age of 15, 43% of children whose parents have a tertiary degree have already received private tutoring sessions, while only 19% of those among families who have stopped their studies at the end of secondary school has enlisted the help of a personal academic educator.
According to a report by Save the Children, poor children’s life chances are determined in primary school. The report goes on to tell us one of the main reasons for this phenomenon:
The world’s unfavourable economy had put extra pressure on parents’ ability to support their children’s learning with a quarter of all parents saying they had less money than they did five years ago, meaning they could not afford to pay for school trips and other activities (perhaps private tutoring).
Students, aged 7, from low-income households, have already fallen behind in their GCSEs in comparison to children with financial means. Save the Children states that this needs to change because it has created social inequalities in the classroom, lowered the future opportunities for these students and in economic terms this problem costs the United Kingdom billions in lost revenue.
Social inequality in the classroom has always existed but needs to change in order to build students confidence and offer everyone a fair opportunity.
The reasons and motivations to hire a private tutor during primary or secondary school in the United Kingdom are threefold:
The best tutors offer enthusiastic one on one classes to improve study skills and make sure students succeed.
Finland is a leader in education. Following Finland’s methods would greatly improve other countries education systems. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Finland is first class when it comes to learning in schools and its education system should be imitated. Extra school support is offered in primary school just after kindergarten. This is performed in order to avoid cumulative gaps from primary school onwards. Each child receives individualized pedagogical support and the best part, it’s free of charge!
Tutoring courses are personalized according to the academic difficulties of each student. It is the initiative of every schoolteacher in Finland to ensure the success of all pupils: a teacher pair or partner makes sure the lessons are moving along smoothly.
Thus, there is no need to resort to private tutoring in Scandinavia because students are directly helped during school hours.
If school struggles persist and individualized support is insufficient, families can now turn to online tutoring services to help with core academic subjects.
Since we are talking about Europe, you might find your school teacher in a tutoring ad!
If Asia seems to be the world champion when it comes to home tutoring, Europe is definitely not left behind.
Eastern European countries include Greece and the former Soviet bloc countries such as Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the former Yugoslavia, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In these regions, academic tutoring is among the most widespread in all of Europe.
This is all due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Yugoslav Wars that occurred for most of the 1990s. After these events, private teachers have seen their buying power melt like snow in the hot sun facing the brutal entrance into the capitalist economy.
Thus, it is the teachers of school support, educational advisors and academic consultants who developed private tutoring lessons.
Many teachers in public education began offering private home lessons to supplement their low monthly income from the government.
They themselves made the move to offer remedial and refresher courses to students with learning difficulties with they were already teaching in public education.
According to the researcher, Mark Bray mentioned above in the study of European consumers who enlist the help of private home tutoring, “demand created the demand: it was about the survival of the teachers.”
The opening up of Eastern European countries to the capitalist economy market has also allowed the accelerated development of online tutoring courses.
Prague, Kiev, Bratislava, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Bucharest, Sofia, Budapest, Warsaw, Vilnius and Riga are all metropolises where private academic tutoring sessions are available in all general subjects (foreign languages, mathematics, economics, physics and chemistry, history and geography etc.). Supplemental instruction through the guidance of a personal tutor has been developing at a great speed in these countries!
Have you ever dreamed of living in Prague? Becoming a private tutor will make that a reality! (Source: Visual Hunt)
Here are three questions to ask yourself:
If you answered yes to these 3 questions, why not become a tutor today?
You could offer foreign language tutoring in France, give private math lessons to students in need from Lisbon to Kiev and from London to Budapest.
Becoming a globetrotter while working has never been such an attractive idea.
Here’s a little question to leave with: in your opinion, in which region or regions of Europe do you have the best chances of finding pupils for your private tutoring sessions?
Europe is not the only continent seeking the help of private academic instructors. The tutoring industry is now worldwide spanning from Africa to South America. Where will you go to offer your services next?