Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Internet Special Education Resources
Special Education & Learning Disabilities Resources: A Nationwide Directory

Tutoring for Your Child -- A Process, Not a Cure

by Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A., Carroll Educational Group, Inc.
Tutoring is a great tool to helping learners be successful. It is not only for the struggling student, but students that are also experiencing academic success. One thing that I always remind clients about is that…tutoring is a process not a cure.

There are four things one should look for in a tutor. The first is that tutoring should not be all about grades. It should be teaching a child new skills or showing the child better and more effective ways of doing homework. Think about it…if an adult (let me rephrase that by saying a qualified adult) would complete a child’s homework, would the child get a better grade? But, by showing a child different ways of approaching work or assisting in areas of educational deficit is the key to helping a child be successful further down the road.

The second area is how the tutor approaches instruction. For example, if a tutor is hired to work with a child, how does the tutor foresee future sessions? Are short and long-term goals set? What are benchmarks for success? What materials will be used? What will be addressed? These are some important questions. When I work with a client, I always set goals both with the family and client. Everyone needs to be involved with the process.

Third, it is important and respectable to ask a tutor about credentials. Figure out information about your child and see how much the tutor knows. Interview the tutor. Ask questions like…

  • What is your background?
  • How many clients have you worked with?
  • Do you know anything about (fill in academic subject or need here)?
  • What is the time frame?
  • What are some current trends in education?
Asking for references is OK, but I would avoid asking references about a tutor's success. Think about it…would a tutor have you call an unsatisfied client?

The last area of importance is seeing if the child is comfortable with the tutor. If you are going to make a time (and financial) commitment to a tutor, it is vital that there is a connection between the client and tutor. A good tutor will also tell you that he or she cannot help the child if there is not a connection. Encourage your child to ask the tutor questions. In the end, it is the child that will benefit from the tutoring.

Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A. is the director of The Carroll Education Group, Inc. in the Chicago area. He can be reached at: (847) 769-5569 or

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Return to ISER Home