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For the programming language, see TUTOR. For the airplane, see CL-41 Tutor. For undergraduate studies, see Teaching assistant#Tutorials.
Not to be confused with Legal guardian or Tutor (officer).

A tutor is an instructor who gives private lessons. Shadow education is a name for private supplementary tutoring that is offered outside the mainstream education system.

Normally, a tutor will help a student who is struggling in a subject of some sort. Also, a tutor may be provided for a student who wants to learn at home.

In the United States, the term "tutor" is generally associated with one who gives professional instruction (sometimes within a school setting but often independently) in a given topic or field.

British and Irish secondary schools[edit]

In English and Irish secondary schools, form tutors are given the responsibilities of a form or class of students in a particular year group (up to 30 students). They usually work in year teams headed by a year leader, year head, or guidance teacher.[citation needed]

Form tutors will provide parents with most of the information about their child's progress and any problems they might be experiencing. Ordinarily, the form tutor is the person who contacts a parent if there is a problem at school; however, the year leader or guidance teacher may contact the parents, since the form tutor has full-time responsibility as a specialist subject teacher.

Private tutoring in Asia[edit]

A 2012 study by the Asian Development Bank and the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong pointed out that private tutoring can dominate the lives of young people and their families, maintain and exacerbate social inequalities, divert needed household income into an unregulated industry, and create inefficiencies in education systems. It can also undermine official statements about fee-free education and create threats to social cohesion.[1]

In South Korea, nearly 90% of elementary students receive some sort of shadow education.[2] In Hong Kong, China, about 85% of senior secondary students do so.[3] 60% of primary students in West Bengal, India,[4] and 60% of secondary students in Kazakhstan receive private tutoring.[5]

Demand for tutoring in Asia is exploding; by comparison globally, shadow education is most extensive in Asia. This is partly due to the stratification of education systems, cultural factors, perceptions of shortcomings in regular school systems, and the combination of growing wealth and smaller family sizes.[1] Therefore, the education sector has become a profitable industry which businesses have created different kinds of products and advertisement such us "the king/queen of tutorial", a usual advertisement tactic of Hong Kong tutorial centers that has spread to South Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India where tutors achieve "celebrity-like status".[6] Online private tutor matching platform[7] and online learning platform offering online learning materials are other creations.

In Cambodia, most tutoring is provided by teachers,[8] whereas in Hong Kong, China, it is provided by individuals, small companies or large companies.[9] In Mongolia, most tutoring is labor-intensive,[10] while entrepreneurs in South Korea make use of computers and other forms of technology.[1]


Some studies have estimated costs associated with "shadow education". In Pakistan, expenditures on tutoring per child averaged the equivalent of $3.40 a month in 2011. In India, average spending was lower, but still equated to about $2 per month.[11]

In Georgia, household expenditures for private tutoring at the secondary school level was $48 million in 2011.[12] In Hong Kong, China, the business of providing private tutoring to secondary schools reached $255 million in 2011.[13]

In India, a 2008 survey estimated the size of the private tutoring sector to be $6.4 billion.[14] In Japan, families spent a whopping $12 billion in 2010 on private tutoring.[8]

In the Republic of Korea, where the government has attempted to cool down the private tutoring market, shadow education costs have continually grown, reaching a staggering $17.3 billion in 2010. Household expenditures on private tutoring are equivalent to about 80% of government expenditures on public education for primary and secondary students.[15]


In many countries, individuals can become tutors without training. In some countries, including Cambodia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR, and Tajikistan, the pattern of classroom teachers supplementing their incomes by tutoring students after school hours is more a necessity than a choice, as many teachers’ salaries hover close to the poverty line.[1]

In the Republic of Korea, the number of private tutors expanded roughly 7.1% annually on average from 2001 to 2006, and by 2009 the sector was the largest employer of graduates from the humanities and social sciences.[16]

Private tutoring is not always effective in raising academic achievement; and in some schools students commonly skip classes or sleep through lessons because they are tired after excessive external study. This means that the shadow system can make regular schooling less efficient.[1]

Teachers who spend more time focusing on private lessons than regular classes can cause greater inefficiencies in the mainstream school system. Situations in which teachers provide extra private lessons for pupils for whom they are already responsible in the public system can lead to corruption, particularly when teachers deliberately teach less in their regular classes in order to promote the market for private lessons.[17]

When private tutoring is provided by well trained tutor however the effects can be dramatic, with pupils improving performance by two standard deviations.[18] See also Bloom's 2 Sigma Problem.

The system of excessive private tutoring will take time for activities such as playing soccer or joining clubs from students.[19]


A 2012 study by the Asian Development Bank and the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong recommended policymakers across the region take a closer look at how ‘shadow education’ affects family budgets, children’s time, and national education systems. It suggested that in order to reduce the need for private lessons, improvements in mainstream schools should be made. Regulations are also needed to protect consumers.[1]


Private tutors[edit]

Computer based learning at a tuition centre

A private tutor is a private instructor who teaches a specific subject or skill to an individual student or small group of students. Such attention ideally allows the student to improve knowledge or skills more rapidly than in a classroom setting. Tutors are often privately hired and paid by the student, the student's family or an agency. Some are used for remedial students or others needing special attention; some provide more advanced material for exceptionally capable and highly motivated students, or in the context of homeschooling. Tutoring can also occur when one adult helps another adult student to study a specific course or subject that he/she is taking to get a better result. The adult can also let the student work on his/her own, and can be there if the student has any questions.

Academic coaching[edit]

Academic coaching is an evolution of mentoring applied to academics. Coaching involves a collaborative approach. Coaches try to help students learn how they best learn and how to operate in an academic environment. Tutors help students learn the material in individual courses while coaches help students learn how to be successful in school. In college, that includes such topics as: study skills, time management, stress management, effective reading, note-taking, test-taking, and understanding how to use a syllabus. Academic coaches meet with the student regularly throughout the semester. Coaches work with students in all kinds of situations, not just those who are struggling academically. Some highly motivated, high-achieving students will have a coach to improve their learning efficiency. Academic coaching also occurs to help students prepare for entrance exams to gain entry to schools or universities. Tutoring may even be used for the whole application process to university. Academic coaching is a huge industry in Asia. For example, in India, a majority of students, be it of any class or stream, visit a coaching center or a "study circle."[20]

Student-to-student tutoring[edit]

Sometimes, current students act as tutors to other students. Sometimes, a classroom setting is not enough for a student to learn all of the material that they need to know in order to pass the test or to go on to harder classes. Academic tutoring from students at a higher grade level or experience in an academic setting can help to encourage and strengthen a student so that they do not fall behind.

For students, helping other students will be beneficial because the students can check themselves while they teach the lesson(s).[21]

Online tutoring[edit]

Main article: Online tutoring

Online tutoring is a new way for a student to receive help, either scheduled or on-demand. Sessions are done through an application where a student and tutor can communicate. Common tools include chat, whiteboard, web conferencing, teleconferencing and other specialized applets which make it easier to convey information back and forth. For example, there are specialized applets designed specifically for mathematics which allow the use of mathematical symbols. There is also an example-tracing tutor program that uses a behavior graph. The tutor is able to create an outline program that works a specific problem step by step. The process is activated once the student selects that problem. This is helpful for those who need help but are not able to meet face to face with someone.[22]

Online tutoring has been gaining popularity over the past couple of years due to the ease of being able to connect to a tutor at moment's notice when help is required.[citation needed] This is especially effective when a student is studying for a test that is scheduled for the next day at school and is stumped on a particular problem. Not all online tutoring companies offer an on-demand tutoring service.

Home tutoring[edit]

Main article: In-home tutoring

In-home tutoring is a form of tutoring that occurs in the home. Most often the tutoring relates to an academic subject or test preparation. This is in contrast to tutoring centers or tutoring provided through after-school programs. The service most often involves one-on-one attention provided to the pupil.

Solution assistance[edit]

Solution assistance is a growing trend in the field of mathematics tutoring. This method of checking the accuracy of answers is particularly helpful for students without a computer or those students that live in remote areas.

Writing tutor[edit]

In Canada and the United States, writing tutor is the common term used for individuals working one-on-one with students in college and university writing centers.[23][24] The terms tutor and consultant are often used interchangeably, and both terms are used with deliberation as they are seen to represent a specific relationship, role, or activity between tutor and tutee. For example, Griffin, Keller, Pandey, Pedersen, and Skinner[25] in their 2003-2004 survey of North American writing centers describe a tutor as an expert providing a less expert learner with knowledge, implying a transmission approach. In contrast, the consultant, also expert, collaborates with the tutee in addressing the writing task, implying a social constructivist approach. The focus of the social constructionism paradigm is to get rid of the idea that tutors are an authoritarian figure instead of someone who the student can collaborate with. Social constructionism is the dominant approach used in writing centers today versus the expressivism approach that was favored in the 1970s and 1980s.[26] Others who use the term writing tutor describe the tutor as facilitating learning through active listening, responding, as well as using silence and wait time.[27] Taking the cue from the student, these writing tutors function much like the consultants described by Griffin et al., offering suggestions and working together on a given writing task. Regardless of the title, the intent and actions of the tutor are important to writing center practitioners. A tutor may say he/she is acting collaboratively with the student and unknowingly be enforcing her or his own agenda.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f ADB Study Highlights Dark Side of 'Shadow Education', Shadow Education: Private Supplementary Tutoring and its Implications for Policy Makers in Asia.
  2. ^ [],Kim, Kyung-Keun. 2010. "Educational Equality", in Lee, Chong Jae; Kim, Seong-yul & Adams, Don (eds.), Sixty Years of Korean Education. Seoul: Seoul National University Press, p.302.
  3. ^ [1], Caritas, Community & Higher Education Service. 2010. Private Supplementary Tutoring of Secondary Students: Investigation Report. Hong Kong: Caritas.
  4. ^ [2], Pratham. 2011. Annual Status of Education Report 2010.
  5. ^ [],Kalikova, Saule & Zhanar Rakhimzhanova. 2009. "Private Tutoring in Kazakhstan", in Silova, Iveta (Ed.), Private Supplementary Tutoring in Central Asia: New Opportunities and Burdens.
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/business-20085558
  7. ^ tutor
  8. ^ a b [],Dawson, Walter. 2010. "Private Tutoring and Mass Schooling in East Asia: Reflections of Inequality in Japan, South Korea, and Cambodia." Asia Pacific Education Review 11(1):14-24.
  9. ^ [3], Kwo, Ora & Mark Bray. 2011. "Facing the Shadow Education System in Hong Kong." IIAS Newsletter (University of Leiden, International Institute for Asian Studies)
  10. ^ [],Dong, Alison, Batjargal Ayush, Bolormaa Tsetsgee, & Tumendelger Sengedorj. 2006. "Mongolia". In Iveta Silova, Virginija Būdienė, & Mark Bray (Eds.), Education in a Hidden Marketplace: Monitoring of Private Tutoring. New York: Open Society Institute, pp.257-277
  11. ^ [],Aslam, Monazza & Paul Atherton. 2011. "The "Shadow" Education Sector in India and Pakistan: The Determinants, Benefits and Equity Effects of Private Tutoring." Presentation at the UKFIET (United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training) Conference, University of Oxford, 13–15 September.
  12. ^ [],EPPM (International Institute of Education Policy, Planning & Management). 2011. Study of Private Tutoring in Georgia. Tbilisi: EPPM, p.29. (In Georgian)
  13. ^ [],Synovate Limited. 2011. Marketing survey of tutoring businesses in Hong Kong, cited in Modern Education Group Limited (2011), Global Offering (for stock market launch), Hong Kong, p.96.
  14. ^ [],Vora, Nikhil & Shweta Dewan. 2009. Indian Education Sector: Long Way from Graduation!. Mumbai: IDFC-SSK Securities Ltd., p.60.
  15. ^ [],Kim, Sunwoong & Ju-Ho Lee. 2010. "Private Tutoring and Demand for Education in South Korea." Economic Development and Cultural Change 58(2), p.261.
  16. ^ [],Kim, Kyung-Min & Daekwon Park. 2012. "Impacts of Urban Economic Factors on Private Tutoring Industry." Asia Pacific Education Review 13 (20), p.273.
  17. ^ [],Dawson, Walter. 2009. "The Tricks of the Teacher: Shadow Education and Corruption in Cambodia", in Heyneman, Stephen P. (ed.), Buying Your Way into Heaven: Education and Corruption in International Perspective. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp.51-74; Bray & Lykins (2012), p.43.
  18. ^ Bloom, B. (1984). "The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring", Educational Researcher, 13:6(4-16).
  19. ^ Wilde, Marian. "Do our kids have too much homework?". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Hey tutors! Leave us kids alone". The Times Of India. 
  21. ^ "helping others help themselves" (PDF). Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  22. ^ Leber, B. "Tutor Types". Cognitive Tutoring Authoring 2.0. CTAT Basics. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  23. ^ http://coldfusion.louisville.edu/webs/a-s/wcrp/reports/analysis/index.cfm
  24. ^ Geller, A.E., Eodice, M., Condon, F., Carroll, M., & Boquet, E.H. (2007) The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.
  25. ^ http://coldfusion.louisville.edu/webs/a-s/wcrp/reports/analysis/WCRPSurvey03-04.html
  26. ^ Murphy, Christina; Sherwood, Steve (2011). St. Martin's Sourcebook for Writing Tutors (4th ed.). Boston /New York: Bedford / St. Martin's. p. 4. 
  27. ^ Ryan, L. (2002). The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors. (3rd ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
  28. ^ Lunsford, A. (2008). Collaboration, Control, and the Idea of a Writing Center. In C. Murphy and S. Sherwood, Eds., The St. Martin's Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. (3rd ed.) Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.