Managing Challenging Behaviour as a Private Tutor

Managing Challenging Behaviour as a Private Tutor

UK Education Blog

Most of the time, students are more than happy to use the services of a tutor, even if lessons have been arranged by a parent.  At some point in your tutoring career however, you are likely to come across students who, despite your best efforts, do not engage with what you are trying to teach.  This can take the form of students being bored during lessons, being easily distracted or even verbal confrontations.  A 2005 report from Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) states:


‘The great majority of children and young people enjoy learning, work hard and behave well. Among the schools inspected in 2003/04, behaviour was good or better in 90% of primary schools, 68% of secondary schools and 80% of special schools and PRUs.  However, Ofsted’s annual reports have highlighted the fact that the behaviour of some pupils, usually boys, remains a serious concern for many schools and other settings.  Their behaviour troubles others, affects the climate of the learning community and disrupts their own and others’ progress.’


Here are some tips for managing challenging behavior from students during your one to one lessons:


Focus on the quality of your teaching and make sure that what you are teaching is relevant.  A student can easily get bored if they do not recognise the coursework.  You can do this by checking you country’s National Curriculum website.  For more information, please read our Understanding the National Curriculum article.



Do what you can to improve communication between you and your student.  By checking in with your student regularly, you will get an idea of what approaches are working and which are not.  Try simply asking your student what it is about the lessons that they do not find interesting.  You may be surprised at how useful their feedback could be. 


Monitor Success

Make sure you have a system in place for tracking their achievements.  If a student can see small improvements in their leaning, they are far more likely to want to continue doing well.  Make good use of the information you have about their achievements.  Why not highlight their progress in a letter to their class teacher or to their parents in a progress report?  Sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way.


Review Relationships

Review your student/parent/tutor relationship and make sure that everyone has the same goals in mind.  If anyone feels there are any barriers in place of achieving these goals then encourage honest and open communication.


Be Consistent

Be consistent with your praise and accurate with your feedback.  If you have highlighted an area for improvement in the past and notice a marked improvement in effort on your student’s behalf, let them know.


Seek Advice

Communicate with your student’s class teacher and see how they respond to pupils with more challenging behaviour.  See this information as a good means of targeting your approach to your student.





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