Updated: Nov 8
During the pandemic, no doubt you, your child, or someone you know had to either teach or learn remotely: some thrived whilst others might have been left behind. Now that students and teachers are back in school, it might seem a surprise that online learning (in one form or another) is here to stay.
After all, some parents felt that online learning didn’t cater for insufficient attention spans, boredom, and lack of motivation, especially if their children were younger learners. But is this really justified?
Certainly in synchronous class sessions, many teachers were little more than talking heads to their class of 30 children where little opportunity was given to interact or engage with the material. However, on a one-to-one basis, the changes are dramatic: students receive undivided attention and support which means teachers can get to know their students fully and keep track of their progress.
With a careful selection of online resources and the right tutor at hand, learning online can really be just as effective as in-person tuition! Let’s take a look to see why and what you need to know when finding an online tutor for your child.
Younger Learners and Online Lesson Planning
Many young learners have short attention spans. They can get easily distracted. They can fidget and find it difficult to sit still. What makes a successful lesson isn’t whether or not it’s conducted online or in-person - rather, success is determined by how engaging and interactive a lesson is so as to keep the student’s attention and to instil a sense of purposeful learning.
That’s why skilled teachers remember these techniques when teaching, online or otherwise:
Keep ‘teacher talk’ to a minimum Explaining the task and lesson objective at hand is a necessity in all lessons to make sure the student knows what they’re doing and how they’re going to achieve the goal. What isn’t a necessity is going on and on for more than a few minutes - by 5 minutes, the student will most likely have switched off! Keep it simple and remember to ask them to repeat what you’ve said in a few words to see if they really understand.
Make the activity interactive and engaging Did you know that the rule of thumb for attention span is 2–3 minutes per year of a child's age? This means an average 6 year old can really only focus their attention on an activity for 12-18 minutes, so make sure to keep the activity interactive by embedding plenaries and questions throughout the task. Asking them to do endless number problems is probably not the most effective activity!
Motivate students by giving specific praise to their tasks. A simple ‘good job’ just doesn’t cut it! What about the task did the student do well? Better feedback may be something like ‘I like how you looked at the picture in the story to answer that question!’.
Even if your child is behaviourally disruptive, online lessons with an experienced teacher can still make a massive difference - you could even consider sitting in on lessons to monitor their attentiveness if you feel that’s needed.
Online Tools to Engage Young Students
Online resources available nowadays have vastly improved in comparison to even pre-pandemic times. From Geoboards to flashcard generators, there are tools for everyone: for tutors to embed in their lessons and for parents to consolidate their children’s learning.
Let’s take a look at some freebies suitable for young learners:
A treasure trove of free Maths resources awaits you at Nrich (a part of the University of Cambridge). I like getting students to click and drag numbers in the Venn Diagrams tool to consolidate their number sense. Their Cuisenaire Counting tool also paves the way for part-part-whole diagrams, popularly used in primary Maths word questions.
Echalk boasts a wide range of games in a multitude of subjects, from literacy to science to coding! For younger learners, the immediacy of the prefixes and suffixes game helps them get to grips with root words and strengthens their vocabulary.
With hundreds of games and tools, Topmarks certainly gets top marks for their collection of free-to-use resources. I like creating circuits with children using their circuit creator (a topic covered in Year 4 and Year 6 in the National Curriculum).
Endless Choice of Tutors
In my opinion, the greatest benefit of choosing to find an online tutor is the absolutely massive pool of experts available at your fingertips! Rather than being limited to tutors who are able to travel to you, you can enjoy the expertise of experienced teachers and tutors across the country!
At Titanium Tutors, we are lucky enough to have a wonderful team of tutors who would be happy to help you and your child reach your academic goals. Contact us today to learn more!
Blog Post Crafted by Cheryl
Cheryl manages our Admin Team, and is a qualified teacher with 5 years' experience in schools across England and Canada.
Cheryl graduated from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce and a Minor in English, and from University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Education, with a specialisation in Aboriginal Studies. She tutored secondary school students in English for over nine years in Canada.
Cheryl speaks Cantonese, English and French, and in her spare time, she can be found illustrating and reading children’s books for inspiration.