The Argument for Summertime Tutoring
When the school year ends, many students also stop receiving tutoring. While this may be fine for some students, for students that are receiving tutoring in order to catch up with their classmates, this summer vacation from tutoring can have a negative affect on their progress. This article discusses why students should continue to receive tutoring during the summer and how tutoring companies should adjust to offer summertime tutoring.
Hermann Ebbinghaus was a German psychologist best known for his research related to memory and learning. Ebbinghaus discovered what he called the forgetting curve which shows how the rate at which information is forgotten over time. The forgetting curve shows that people quickly forget newly learned information unless they review that information within a short time-frame. After reviewing it once they can go a bit longer without forgetting it, but need to review it again in a few days to retain it. If the information is not reviewed again in several days it will be forgotten. Each time the information is reviewed, it takes longer and longer for the information to be forgotten.
How does this relate to students and summer tutoring? In order for students to remember what they have learned they must repeat the material frequently at first and less frequently over time. Summer vacation is a two month period where the student does not review any material if they aren’t receiving tutoring. Much of the subject matter they were introduced to during the last month or two of school will quickly be forgotten if they don’t review it during the summer months. As a result they will have to relearn this material at the start of the new school year. For many students this won’t be a problem since other students have also forgotten what they learned the previous year; however, students that are already having difficulty keeping up with their classmates should take advantage of the summer to review and consolidate their knowledge so that when they start the new school year they will be at the same level or higher than their classmates.
In order for students to at least maintain the knowledge they gained during the last couple months before summer vacation, the forgetting curve suggests that they continue to review the material frequently for the first couple weeks of summer vacation and then less frequently further into the vacation.
Tutoring companies can encourage students to continue receiving tutoring during the summer by sharing the information mentioned above with parents. Most parents can quickly recognize the value of maintaining the knowledge their children have already gained and giving them a head start for the new school year. Companies can also tailor their summer schedules to match the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve with more frequent tutoring sessions at the start of the summer followed by less frequent tutoring sessions later in the summer.
Many families have irregular schedules during the summer and will be gone for vacation at various times. It’s important to be flexible with your students’ summer tutoring while maintaining the appropriate frequency and spacing of tutoring sessions to maintain your student’s knowledge.