Summer Tutoring: Beneficial or Harmful?

Summertime is the season that every student looks forward to; it’s the time
when children and teenagers are free to enjoy the sunshine, the lack of
schoolwork and the couple of months of freedom they are permitted to sleep
late and participate in activities they didn’t have time for throughout the
duration of the school year. The issue that is debated among educators
nationwide is whether summer vacations void of learning affects how much
information students retain from throughout the completed school year.

Therefore, the question at hand is should students be required to receive
tutoring in the summer to ensure that the material and skills they have
learned during the school year is not put to the back of their minds and
discarded from their memory?

The type of tutoring up for debate is called maintenance tutoring. In an
article titled “To Do Or Not To Do: The Question of Tutoring” published in
*The Informed Parent*, Carolyn Warnemuende defines the concept as an opportunity
to “maintain learned skills during the long summer months. The tutor
determines where the child currently functions and provides activities that
support his or her achievement.” Through maintenance tutoring, students are
able to practice what they have been taught throughout the school year, so
they don’t lose the knowledge and skills they have gained. Many times,
students will dedicate the entire school year to putting forth their best
effort and producing high quality work just to backtrack during the summer
months. Maintenance tutoring will prevent children and teenagers
from wasting their time and hard work learning material for them to
forget a good percentage over the two and a half month summer break.

In an article from *CNN* titled “Put a plug in the summer brain drain,”
author Audrey Schewe elaborates on the phenomenon known as “summer learning
loss” saying, “This loss of learning over the summer can mean an academic
setback for some children that will take weeks, and in some cases months,
to remedy in the fall.” It’s been proven through research that it will take
students a good amount of time to recover from the effects that summer
vacation has on their learning capabilities, which in turn will take time
away from their learning experience in the following school year.
Repetition is a main component of being successful in school. Students’
educational skills deteriorate throughout the summer when they are not
constantly practicing subject material, such as mathematics, reading,
writing, etc. Therefore, come the first couple of months in the new school
year, students will need to first spend time recalling the skills they have
forgotten before they can advance to learning new material and skills.

We need to take a look at the other side of the debate as well. Many will
argue that summer vacation is a break and should be exactly that: time off
without work, so students can free their minds of school for a couple of
months. If children and teenagers are forced to receive tutoring or
complete subject exercises throughout their break, summertime would
suddenly become way less appealing and no longer something students look
forward to. Additionally, we don’t want to overwhelm students, especially
those younger children in elementary level education, which can lead them
to become overly stressed and overly consumed with school that they start
to lose focus. As young and developing students, it would be harmful to
overload their minds, which could lead into feelings of hatred toward
education.

Kathryn Rinaldi is a blogger for Plus Plus Tutoring, a private in-home
tutoring service in the United States.

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