Is teaching on Zoom in the pandemic as successful as teaching face to face in tuition?
Beginning of March 2020, never heard of Zoom. Beginning of April 2020, tentatively re-opened the business on Zoom. Beginning of May, business is busy and teaching up to 5 hours a day on Zoom. Beginning of June, totally mastered Zoom and confident using the software. Beginning of July, we close but come September half of the business (at least) will remain on Zoom in the future.
Is teaching on Zoom as successful as teaching face to face for tutoring? At West London Tutoring we teach in groups of four or five children (four in years 2-4 and 5 children in years 5-7)
We have around 80 pupils registered and most of the children have been with us for many years. We have always taught face to face and I would say we know the children well.
I would say that these are the main factors involved:
The pros of face to face tutoring:
- Face to face contact with the children, possibly a method children feel most comfortable with?
- Live marking in class and instant feedback
- Meeting parents at drop off and pick up
- Increased opportunity for kinaesthetic teaching, with good quality resources enhances the learning process
The cons of face to face tutoring:
- Homework going missing
- Managing resources
- Managing marking
- Fitting in assessments
- Group swapping due to children having other clashes due to concerts or illness
- Constraints on space and not as easy to group swap to make up for lost lessons
The cons of Zoom tuition:
- Technical issues if the WIFI is poor, or the internet is not working
- A handful of children find learning from a screen difficult
- A handful of children find it difficult to follow Zoom etiquette
- You cannot see what the child has written, they have to read it out to you
- No kinaesthetic teaching, some children find auditory or visual learning difficult
The pros of Zoom tutoring
- It is very reliable, and at the moment it is perfect for social distancing
- The software is easy to get to grips with: Powerpoint, My Maths, documents, internet games and pdfs of reading books all work really well
- Instead of teaching just grammar and maybe comprehension in the lesson we now have time for Mrs Wordsmith, a Wordwall game, reading a book together on line and also grammar and comprehension so lessons are more varied and have a high energy
- For children who need a little extra time they can stay behind after the lesson or book a free 15 minute 1:1 session with us so that learning is secure
- With a group of four or 5 children you can easily see everyone on the screen and classroom control is fairly simple
- There is no travelling involved and this is much better for the environment, particularly since we have not travelled so much during lockdown
- It is likely more parents will work from home in the future and so they can supervise Zoom tuition, but still carry on working themselves
- We can hold webinars on subjects which are of wide interest to parents such as: using figurative language in creative writing, how do we teach maths, 11 Plus preparation and many more subjects
- The lesson is spent much more efficiently, lessons start and finish on time
- It is much easier to track progress as children are always where they are supposed to be, my assessment tables have never been so neat and accurate.
- Zoom meetings and phone calls mean we know the children better than ever. I personally feel I know the parents much better than I did pre pandemic.
In conclusion I would say (with surprise) that there are huge benefits of teaching on Zoom. We are still running scholarship groups, we can support children who need a catch up and communication with parents is better than it ever was.
Year two has been an issue as this age group really need the face to face contact. The children sometimes struggle with Zoom etiquette and we need to run tightly controlled, fun packed lessons which both hold their attention and also challenge them.
Once we can teach face to face in bubbles again, they would be our priority group.
Years 4, 5 and 6 have probably fared the best on the Zoom. The children are old enough to follow Zoom etiquette, they enjoy the challenges and interaction and with good communication on our Whatsapp groups the homework has been of a high standard.
I would surmise that Zoom may be here to stay in some capacity in the tutoring world.