Tips in Tutoring Reluctant Students

Malay Home Tuition Agency Singapore

Tutoring isn’t always an easy job. It isn’t always straightforward and there will be instances that home tutors will meet speed bumps along the way in teaching their students. There can be several factors and reasons for the tutoring to be effective. But many of these factors rely on the student and their perspective or outlook in learning. If the student is reluctant or isn’t engaged in learning, teaching them inside the classroom or at home may be a problem. As it’s unavoidable to meet students like this, home tutors should arm themselves with strategies to reengage students who are unenthusiastic or reluctant.

Reaching a student’s academic goals depend on many variables. While others are attributed to the students struggles in understanding a topic or a concept in a subject, there may also be due to reasons such as low self-confidence, difficulty in socializing, or just being shy. While these may seem trivial, it does affect a student’s progress greatly. As such, tutoring students like these may be difficult and challenging but it can also be rewarding at the same time, especially if the results are as projected.

Most times the real challenge in home tuition isn’t the teaching of the subject itself to the students. Inspiring and helping students stay motivated in studying, imparting proper time-management skills, and building a study habit are some of the trickier areas in tutoring. Remember that home tutors aren’t only teachers but they are also advisers and even becoming confidantes to the students, helping them reach their goals while also gaining values and traits that will help them in the future.

We have gathered some of the tips and ways a home tutor can use to help a shy student come out of his/her shell and engage in learning more.

1. Build a good relationship with them

One considerable difference between 1-to-1 tuition and schools is the number of students to teacher ratio. Obviously in schools, there will only be one teacher for more than twenty students whereas, home tuition is only between the student and the home tutor. Because of this, a home tutor has more chances to get to know the student and create a session and lesson based on their needs and personal interests.

Most of the times, parents will be the one to hire the home tutor instead of the student. If the student doesn’t have a good relationship with their teachers, parents or even previous tutors in the past, they might also categorize the present home tutor and assume they are the same as any other adult.

Before diving into the actual lessons and teaching them, dedicate an ample amount of time in getting to know the student. A home tutor may take time to understand and get to know a student’s hobbies, interests, likes, and dislikes. This is a good exercise to not only understand what kind of student and person the home tutor would be spending the sessions with, but there may be instances of finding a common ground.

Once there is a shared interest, the student wouldn’t be as apprehensive in talking to the home tutor and might even look forward to the next session. If the student realizes that they share the same interest as the tutor, they will probably be more cooperative and open up more to the tutor. And thus, teaching them would be easier than when they see tutors as mere adults.

However, also keep in mind to draw the line between talking about mutual interest and not stray too much so it distracts the lesson. A home tutor may use the common interest to make the lessons more exciting but not to distract the session from its main objective.

Once you also build a relationship with them, they will also be more open with their struggles and may confine in the tutor about the things they find difficult. Some students have problem with closing off in school, meaning they don’t ask when they find something confusing. It can be due to a number of reasons but it is harmful to the students and would only confuse them further when they don’t receive the answers.

By having the student trust the tutor, it would be easier to ask them and get honest answers about the lesson. Student who are more comfortable with the home tutor would have no trouble asking questions or clarifications about a topic or a subject. As such, it would also be easier for the tutor to adapt or modify the teaching according to what would fit the student best.

2. Make learning fun

This tip also relates the first one. As stated above, using the tutor and student’s common interest in lessons is a great way for the student to become more engaged in their lessons. The shared interest can be developed to be incorporated in the lesson. However, the home tutor shouldn’t only stop at the shared interest.

Every subject can be personalized according to the student’s needs and likes. It’s not always about what the two parties enjoy but also could be only what the student enjoys. As a home tutor, you should also be creative in handling lessons, especially for reluctant students. There are a number of ways home tutors can use their students’ interests in the lesson and still ensure that they get the idea and knowledge across.

If they are fond of movies, you can use the films as examples when teaching English or even Science if you use a science film. If they are particularly interested in cars, you can use it as examples or to relate the topic to Math. The possibilities are endless, the home tutors just have to be as creative as possible.

A home tutor will not only make learning more exciting but the student will also pay more attention knowing that the home tutor has also paid attention to their interests. This will also make struggling and low-esteemed students feel better as they might feel more of an expert on a certain background topic that they are interested in.

3. Give rewards and praises

Positive reinforcements are always good especially for students who struggle with building up their confidence. Rewards and praises are important factors in motivating a student and students can use these little compliments and praises as encouragement for them to continue on.

Offering a reward for a good behavior or a good grade can also be a great way in engaging a student and motivating them to work harder. If the student enjoys things such as video games or sweets, home tutors can discuss with the parents first and then promise the reward if the student has reached his/her goal. However, rewards shouldn’t be offered at haste or just as way of placating the student, as it will quickly turn into bribery. Set out the reward beforehand and discuss it with the parent, not spinning it out at any given moment.

4. Discuss with the student’s parents

If the parents have hired a home tutor, they must have had a worry about their child’s academic progress. With that being so, a home tutor can also talk with the parents and find out the reasons why the student is reluctant or unmotivated in learning. There can be a number of reasons that the home tutor may not be aware of and the student may not be willing to give. They can be shy in school and they’ve brought it at home. They can also have learning disabilities they struggle to handle or deal with.

Once the home tutor has also discussed with the parents, they can formulate a plan of action to help the child be more engaged in learning. Home tutors can also share their tips for parents in dealing with the student’s behavior, especially if the parents are also reluctant or aren’t as engaged in their child’s progress. If the child also shows signs of a learning disability, the home tutor can talk to the parents about it and point them to specialized tutors that are trained to teach students such as.


As a home tutor, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that you will meet many different kinds of students throughout your career. Students are different from one another and each have their own style that works best for them. If you’re a new home tutor, here’s a list of the types of students you might meet throughout your career.

Teaching students the knowledge required in a subject to raise their grades isn’t everything in home tuition. Aside from that, home tutors are also there to help them gain motivation and confidence in themselves and their abilities. If a student continues to have a desire to learn and become better, then teaching them will go on smoothly and they’ll be able to reach their goals quickly.

Interested in becoming a home tutor? Check out FamilyTutor, Singapore’s best and number one home tuition agency. We are an established home tutoring agency since 2017, offering over 200 subjects to students from pre-school and beyond university level.

Want to hire a home tutor for your child? Click here to request a home tutor now!



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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About FamilyTutor!

FamilyTutor is an established home tuition agency in Singapore! We match suitable home tutors for our clients not just to improve the students' academic grades, but also to build a strong rapport and meaningful relationship with the students and even the their whole family. FamilyTutor put every student in good hands!

If you need an excellent home tutor, feel free to call/WhatsApp us at +65 8777-2168! Our matching service is free!

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