Firstly, a big THANK YOU to those who shared their comments on Part 1. Not sure why, but many chose to email or whats app us instead. It would be better if your comments can be posted here for the benefit of others.
In particular, Nigel Rohan of SJII pointed out that one can have sterling qualifications but may not have the ability to teach.
That is absolutely spot-on!
Teaching is not reading from notes or slides!!! That can be left to a robot!
An excellent tutor must be able to explain a difficult concept in many different ways so that he can help his students relate and understand.
He should also possess excellent oratorical skills so that he can be clearly understood.
I would like to add, that the tutor must also have the ability to engage the students and fire up their interest to learn.
Perhaps many highly qualified tutors may not have these skills?
It took me years to hone these skills and I utilise “trade secrets” acquired from training top corporates to teach my students today.
So now the question is how can we assess if a tutor can really teach and engage?
1) One way is to ask for a trial lesson.
However, the highly established tutors and tuition centres are usually packed full, so they may not entertain such a request.
(Doesn’t this already mean they can teach? Quite likely. But its better to be safe than sorry…)
2) Hence, it would also be good to comb through the testimonials.
Do they consistently highlight the tutor’s ability to explain difficult concepts and fire up passion for the subject?
Please do not fall for “friendly”, “caring”, “provide snacks”
These usually suggest that the tutors are trying to make up for their deficiencies!
3) Finally, check for experience.
We get better at something, the more we do it. Also, if a tutor is highly experienced, he would have come across many different types of students and many queries by students etc. So that gives him alot of experience in trying to explain something.
Check also for real-world experience. For example, if an economics tutor has actually been involved in policy making or real entrepreneurship (besides tutoring), then you can be sure, he can make the subject come alive and have many insights to help fire up students’ interest and can explain things even better having been a practitioner.
Real Experience does count.
So that’s the end of Part 2. Is there Part 3? I will keep you guessing.