A one -student to one-instructor setting is something commonly found in private tutoring or when a professor is advising a graduate student. Since the particular need of the student is constantly being attended to, many mistakenly believe that this is the ideal setting for learning. It is true that this is the best way to address a student who is stuck on certain detail of a problem, or someone whose pace of learning is significantly different from an average student. Even in a large class, a one-on-one situation can briefly arise when the teacher is answering a question from a student in fine details. Many students or parents desire private tutoring when the student is unable to make meaningful progress on a homework problem or needs help understanding certain parts of the subject of interest. Most of education service businesses in the USA focus on supplying individual tutors to satisfy this demand. In effect, what these service providers are doing is being a matchmaker between their customers and their pool of instructors. While they do some quality controls, after making the matches, they become simple bill-collectors, as most of the work is done by the instructors with whom they have a contract. Usually, these businesses make use of customer’s homes as the place of instruction, which helps them avoid having classrooms and a library for needed books.
While these private tutoring sessions are likely to give an immediate boost to the student’s academic performance, there are some long-term disadvantages. The biggest problem is that the instructor and the student have to get along very well. Compared to any other situation, this case is the one where the type of relationship between the tutor and the student will exert the greatest amount of influence. If the two don’t get along well, the student will merely be wasting money and time. The problem is made more complex by the tutor and the student becoming too friendly with each other, leading them to a great waste of time as their attention waver from studying to making funny comments about something trivial. Even if the student and the tutor don’t become too chummy, they will eventually learn about each other too well. Instead of paying the needed due diligence to the content they are studying, they might oversimplify or skip too many things, thinking they understand them well enough. When the student tries to explain something to demonstrate his understanding, he might be taking too many short cuts and using too much jargon because both the tutor and the student are familiar with the subject and each other, thus hiding some major deficiency in their understanding.
It should also be noted that in a one-on-one situation, there is tendency for the focus to become too narrow. This can lead to the tutors not paying needed attention to parts of a subject in which the student isn’t interested. They may also develop routines and habits which might hinder generalization of knowledge and skills. If a student becomes too attached to a tutor, he may have trouble with a different tutor or other format for learning. Some research has shown that teenagers learn better in the presence of supportive peers with whom he can trade questions and comments. This lack of a peer’s input is a serious disadvantage of private tutoring situations, and you can’t use most of active learning or collaborative learning methods various researchers have found to be very effective. Finally, the potential consequence of a tutor abusing the relationship cannot be overlooked, which means guardians of the students will need to be vigilant about the tutors all the time. Private tutoring can be a powerful tool to enhance student learning. People need to remember that as with anything powerful, it should always be used very carefully. It is the writer’s opinion that private tutoring is best used for a student with very individualized needs when positive results are needed quickly.