While a child’s future is priceless, it is vital that parents are able to see a clear return on their investment of tutoring, particularly due to the amount of time and money it requires.
“My reason for leaving the school classroom and starting my own tutoring business was simple – I knew that some students were falling behind or needed to be challenged in order to remain engaged in learning, and the school system was struggling to handle the personal needs of each student. So, almost twenty years ago, I began Maths Words not Squiggles with the intention of providing individualised learning to support the school system in educating our children.
As a professional educator, the most fundamental question for operating a tutoring business is, what is the return on investment (ROI) for parents that enrol their children into Maths Words not Squiggles? As a mother of three daughters, the most fundamental question is, would I be happy to send my children there? With a myriad of tutoring places dominating the suburbs, it is important that we do not lose sight of the value of prioritising the learning and wellbeing of our children”. – Sia Goutzas, MWNS Principal & Founder
This student-centred focus is at the heart of Maths Words Not Squiggles, as our centres focus on creating a bright and welcoming environment where every student is encouraged and enabled to perform to the best of their abilities. While a child’s future is priceless, it is vital that parents are able to see a clear return on their investment of tutoring, particularly due to the amount of time and money it requires.
As both a parent and teacher, Sia shares her thoughts on the infamous topic – is tutoring worth the investment?
Well, as the principal and founder of a tutoring business that has operated across Sydney for the past 20 years, I still find it fascinating to see what people are looking for from tuition. Some parents are looking for that competitive edge, others are trying to compensate for a teacher that hasn’t been necessarily effective for their child, while others are looking for arguably the most valuable thing a student needs in the learning process – confidence. Let’s dive into each of these and discuss their ROI as supported by external research –
ROI for Parents Looking for that Competitive Edge
The first parent, the one with extremely high expectations of their children, should familiarise themselves with a 2017 interview from Melbourne Child Psychology with Dr Annemarie Christie. Dr Christie identified the value of tutors is in their ability to “pick up on gaps … that might be missed in the classroom”, showing how closer scrutiny from a tutor enables gaps in knowledge to be identified and rectified quicker. It is no surprise then, that many nations in Europe and Asia, who outperform us in academic testing, have a greater rate of tuition.
According to the 2015 HSBC report into Value for Education, 92% of parents in China and 82% of parents in Singapore got private tuition for their child, compared to only 21% in Australia. Correspondingly, the 2018 OECD PISA assessments found that China and Singapore were the top performing countries for Maths, Science and Reading, with Australian students 1.5 years lower in reading, 3.5 years lower in mathematics, and 3 years lower in scientific literacy. As such, it is vital that we look to our neighbouring countries to see how their education systems are thriving, and what we can do to implement similar changes.
ROI when Compensating for an Ineffective Classroom Teacher
In an ideal world, every student would relate to and enjoy the teaching styles of every teacher. However, we all know this is slightly idealistic and unrealistic. The impact of an ineffective classroom teacher can result in lower engagement in class/school work, a decrease in results and some fundamental gaps that jeopardise a student’s entire learning journey. This is not to say that some teachers are “bad teachers”, but instead helps us realise that teachers have the challenging task of adapting their teaching style to satisfy the needs of a class of thirty students with different learning styles – a near impossible task. Therefore, parents can support their child through these times by carefully selecting a tutor that tailors their teaching style to the individual student, and works with them to address their personal weaknesses while boosting their strengths.
Evidence for Learning, a research company that focuses on helping educators improve learning in Australia, has suggested that personalised and immediate feedback from teachers combined with a decrease in distractions as a result of working one-on-one or in a small group, can increase and sustain student engagement and improve overall performance. At Maths Words not Squiggles, we only offer individual lessons and micro groups (maximum of 3 students) to ensure our teachers can provide both positive and constructive feedback multiple times through a lesson. By supporting and working with our students on a regular basis, we hope that we can compensate for the lack of relationship a student may have with a teacher and ensure they do not fall behind or lose their interest in learning.
ROI for Parents Wanting to Build Confidence in their Child
While our personalised service satisfies all three expectations of parents, we focus primarily on the third – building confidence. At Maths Words not Squiggles, we concentrate on the student and their reality, this includes their current results, feelings towards learning, and eagerness to improve. While the impact of effective tutoring can seem intangible, it is important that parents keep in mind the starting point of their child, rather than focusing on the end result they desire from tutoring. This means acknowledging improvements beyond an exam mark, like your child finally asking a question in class to help them clarify a concept, receiving a most improved award, volunteering to explain a topic to a friend or simply completing school homework without resistance or tears. We have found that by celebrating these small steps, the more tangible impact – such as an increase in marks or an improved school report – quickly follows.
The student, not their results, should be the focus of tutoring investments. There is no research or statistic that quantifies the benefit of a child who has grown in confidence; however, from my perspective as a mother and an educator, to see my child believe in themselves, has the highest return on investment I could ask for.
I have met many families who have walked through the doors of the Maths Words Not Squiggles centres, and I have enjoyed my time in the classroom with a range of different learners. I continue to be proud of my students who have made themselves and their parents proud, those who have overcome poor results to achieve their best and those who have left our centres each week more confident to walk into school and tackle the challenges both inside and outside the classroom.
I have to admit that my favourite parents are the ones who are looking for the confident learner, the learner that isn’t always coming first or studying every spare minute. This is the learner that is prepared to ask questions, be wrong on occasion and, most importantly, try new things. The parents of this child will get the best return on their investment in tutoring, because the life skills we help their child foster will form habits. It is through developing the habits of resiliency, curiosity, and a dedication to learning that students will be empowered to face a changing world with the right attitude.
So, is tutoring worth the investment?
This question has less to do with you and I, but rather our children.
We must think about their personal, learning journey and decide – would tutoring provide them with the edge they need to succeed? do you want them to enjoy learning but they often complain about their school teacher(s) or homework? would my child benefit from having their confidence built by a professional?
If you do believe tutoring could help your child, be sure to consider the values and mission of the tutoring company you enrol with. For example, at Maths Words not Squiggles, we teach in small groups and focus on building your child’s confidence inside and outside our classrooms.
Reach out to find out how we can help –
At MWNS, we offer primary school tutoring and high school tutoring in Maths and English to ensure your child is understanding their schoolwork, meeting the requirements set out by NESA and achieving grades they are proud of. All our Maths and English tutors tailor their lessons to the individual needs of your child. By working at a pace that suits and benefits them, we are able to maximise their learning in an enjoyable environment.
Our Maths and English tutoring is available in centre (Central Coast Tutoring, Eastern Suburbs Tutoring, Inner West Tutoring, Northern Beaches Tutoring, South Sydney Tutoring, Sutherland Shire Tutoring) and online. Whether you are looking for a Maths tutor or an English tutor, MWNS is able to help build your child’s confidence.