Understanding One-to-One Tuition

One-to-one tuition is a setting where a teacher (or teaching assistant) helps a student understand a subject(s) better or prepare for 11 plus mock exams through individualised learning support. The tuition usually takes place outside of normal lessons such as summer school or immediately after school hours. The teacher may also choose to offer these lessons in between other lessons (during free time or break) during school hours as well. Most tutors prefer short but regular sessions over a specified period to help improve the student’s performance. Tuition may thus take only 30 minutes per day, 5 times in a week, for around 12 weeks.

Is It Different from Classroom Teaching?

One-to-one tuition isn’t the same as normal classroom teaching. This is because the tutor focuses on one pupil’s individual learning, which is unlike classroom setups where the teacher is required to guide a class of 20 or 30 at the same time. The student/child thus gets the tutor’s undivided attention enabling him/her (the tutor) to identify the child’s weak points and work on improving just that.

Classroom management

While it might seem unnecessary, the tutor often has to consider the classroom’s setup, where the pupil should sit, as well as management of physical resources.

Roles and Relationships

Unlike standard class setups based on a teacher-centred dynamic, the roles shift up a bit in a one-to-one teaching arrangement. The learner gets an almost equal role as the tutor and can make decisions on what they wish to be taught.

Timing and Structure

The one-to-one tuition setup allows the learner to determine his/her learning pace (based on their learning capacity and needs), which is unlike regular classroom setups where the pace is determined by the termly structure. Sessions can also be timed based on how quickly he/she learns, which is unlike the standard school timetable.


With the learner and tutor alone in the classroom setup, pressure can sometimes be less or even greater depending on the situation/subject. The one-on-one interaction means both the tutor and learner have to be engaged throughout the learning session. The tutor is also under even greater pressure to deliver and achieve better results with the learner. With no competition from other students, pressure on the learner’s side is greatly reduced.

Students may be susceptible to peer pressure in a normal learning environment, such as a classroom. Many won’t admit they didn’t understand a topic or question while in class for fear of embarrassment, while they will openly admit to the same in a one-to-one setup. One-to-one tuition thus encourages and fosters self-confidence by creating the perfect motivational and emotional context for learning.

Why Is One-to-One Tuition Considered to Be More Effective?

The one-to-one setting makes it easier for the tutor to identify and focus on the learner’s needs. This would be almost impossible in a normal classroom setup. The setting also provides a supportive environment where the learner can ask questions on topics they didn’t previously understand, and have any misunderstanding corrected immediately.

The learner also has an opportunity to self-correct in this setup too. With the tutor guiding him/her every step of the way, the learner has no option but to concentrate and stay engaged throughout the tuition session. While some parents and students might not want this, individualised support helps the pupil build confidence even when in a regular classroom setup.

One-to-one tuition increases the students’ learning time. They can thus use this time to practice and engage in activities that will help expand their knowledge and understanding. Most students only need an extra minute’s worth of explanation and learning to understand even the most complex formulas. With a shared objective, learners can take what they learned during tuition to the classroom as well.

One-to-one tuition provides an effective way of linking a pupil’s interests and learning into context. This makes it easier for them to make better connections both in the classroom and outside. The tutor uses different approaches on various subjects, which again broaden the learner’s understanding and thinking capacity.