‘I took my tutor on holiday!’ – the phrase you’ll hear next September and why it’s making their children better.

Have you ever taken out a tutor with you on holiday?

If you already have – well done! If you haven’t, you are missing a trick for a very simple way to rapidly improve your child’s education.

For some it may seem like a strange idea, but it’s actually very common. Over the last few years more and more articles have appeared in national newspapers highlighting this growing trend. The reason for such rapid growth: it makes the difference.

Smart Learning

The key reason for having a tutor with you on holiday is quite simple: it’s about maximising the opportunities you are already giving your children.

Travelling and going abroad is one of the most fascinating experiences a human can have. To see other places is eye opening and exciting. It’s also one of the best ways for children to learn. Another culture, a new way of life, is the perfect intellectual breeding ground. 

Where could a tutor help?

Where a tutor can help is to harness the experiences for effective learning. A tutor can help a child apply what they have learnt in school, and use the exciting environment & experiences to provide the spark to get a child truly into subjects – which will engender a guaranteed improvement in results.

Languages

Languages are the really obvious benefit from going on holiday. Whether it’s picking up some more French walking around markets in Cannes, to getting the hang of spoken Arabic in Morocco, visiting countries provides an easy access into a new language. Seeing the thrill on a child’s face when they successfully have a conversation with a local, the realisation that they have cracked part of a language is truly unique.

This is where a tutor can be extremely effective. A tutor in this situation can teach your child language lessons in the morning. Then, using what they’ve learnt, your child can go out and practice in the real world in the afternoon. This repetition and practice ensures that the knowledge will stick.

Unlike in schools where languages can often seem like a translation exercise, when abroad it makes sense to the child as a way to open up a different culture. The lessons don’t even need to take place indoors – they can be out and about on the streets. This is the ultimate learning tool – and would make for a great holiday. What better benefit on having a holiday than to have acquired the basics of a new language for life, and also being able to tell their friends about it.

History

History is an area that could have a profound influence on your child. It’s overlooked by some parents as it doesn’t appear to directly improve a child’s life (in a way that languages do). However, there are parents all over the country that have seen its potential, and are getting their children into schools and universities.

Where history plays a unique role is in its ability to educate on a wider cultural scale – which can cover everything from art to economics, supporting a myriad of subjects. This broad knowledge helps develop a well-rounded child – which is highly valued.

There is no better time to develop this than when on holiday. Getting a tutor that is familiar with the country or area that you are visiting will help your children expand their historical and cultural awareness. A good tutor will focus on the areas that your child is interested in, developing their knowledge, and providing that inspirational spark that will produce results back at school.

But crucially, where historical knowledge can make a huge difference is in a very short moment that can define the rest of their life – the school or University interview. The historical knowledge acquired on holiday could set your child apart from all the others. It could be the knowledge that convinces an establishment of a desire to learn, and convey that they are an interesting, intelligent person.

Summer is the key time to get ahead for the next year, and for life – and the way to do it is with the help of a tutor on your holiday.

Top tip:

Don’t want to take the tutor with you? Book them to spend some time with your children the week before. Although not quite as effective, it could still help them whilst you’re abroad.

By Jonathan Coates @coates_jonathan

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Do private schools give children a head start in life?

James Blunt

Recently, the British public was treated to the dubious spectacle of shadow culture minister Chris Bryant and superstar balladeer James Blunt trading verbal blows.

In a nutshell, Bryant name-checked Blunt (along with Eton-educated actor Eddie Redmayne) in remarks he made about the arts being dominated by those from posh schools.

Blunt fired back with some questionable swearing, whilst accusing Bryant of ‘classism’, and retorted that no one at his boarding school encouraged him to go into the music business.

Nonetheless, privately educated people are disproportionately represented in many areas of British life, be it music and acting as in the cases of Blunt and Redmayne, or politics, with 36% of the cabinet having attended private school (compared with just 7% of the population).

Even if, as Blunt says, he was given no specific encouragement to pursue music, is there something about a private school education that means your child is more likely to pen the next ‘You’re Beautiful’ (or, perhaps more pertinently, lead the government of the United Kingdom)?

Aside from the commonly cited benefits of academic competitiveness and lower class sizes, there are a number of ‘soft’ factors that could contribute to the success of children from private schools.

For instance, many private schools place great emphasis on their history. Children who attend lessons in venerable old buildings, watched over benevolently by portraits of former head teachers are subtly encouraged to think of themselves as belonging to a tradition. Not only does this confer a sense of ‘specialness’, but it also exposes students to the language and iconography of power early in life. A child who has attended an old private school is likely to feel more attuned to the ceremony and pomp of Oxbridge than one who has attended a modern comprehensive.

The same could be said of the speech patterns children pick up in private school. Received Pronunciation remains ubiquitous on our screens and airwaves, and, unfair though it may be, surveys continue to show that posh accents are regarded as more intelligent, honest and charming by the public. So our ingrained preconceptions means we’re more likely believe being told ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt than, say, Alan Sugar.

Young Blunt and Redmayne undoubtedly benefitted from after school activities too. Many private schools offer all sorts of clubs and societies, offering students valuable opportunities for personal growth and exploration. An Eton boy like Redmayne could see as many as thirty plays per year performed by his peers – that kind of cultural capital is priceless.

Then there’s the culture of expectation. Many private schools regularly achieve rafts of outstanding grades, and it’s far less remarkable for students to apply for places at Oxbridge. In an atmosphere where this kind of success is expected, children tend to rise to meet those expectations. Perhaps James Blunt inherited a drive to rise to the top of the charts from this kind of competitive environment.

Of course, it’s often argued that this can turn private schools into hot houses, where children are put under immense pressure to achieve top grades, at the expense of their individuality.

Critics also point to the lack of diversity in many private schools as compared to their state counterparts. Learning respect and emotional intelligence when dealing with people from all backgrounds is a vital life skill that is perhaps more readily achieved in the state sector than the more homogenous private demographic.

Furthermore, the success of Blunts and Redmaynes may be attributable not to anything special about their schooling but simply their parents’ connections. Parents from more privileged socio-economic groups tend to have the financial and cultural capital that gives their children an advantage, and the luxury of time, when it comes to pursuing their calling.

The fact remains that private schooling is typically part of a more complex picture. The likelihood is that if you can afford to send your child to a private school, you can afford to help them in many other ways too – many of them hard to quantify. Blunt may not like to admit it, but a private education remains the most reliable marker of a head start in life.