In the somewhat saturated landscape of modern day tutoring, where opportunities to maximise one’s ATAR seem diverse and endless, the role of the tutor is often lost. Yet, even amidst the struggle for Band 6’s and E4’s and the muddle of stresses and frustrations, recognising what you need from your tutor and what your tutor needs from you is vital.
It is useful to look at some of history’s greatest tutors. Consider too, the great teachers you have encountered at school or beyond. What sets them apart? Some of the great educators of the past have been philosophers, complex and profound thinkers in their own right. Yet, the communication of this knowledge and curiosity remains paramount.
The Greek polymath and philosopher Aristotle – one of the great names in our Western philosophical tradition – was the tutor of Alexander the Great, covering a broad range of subjects including Greek, Hebrew and Latin, as well as astrology, geography and history. Yet, Aristotle was in turn tutored by Plato – the originator of the Platonic school of thought and well known for his metaphysical explorations – and Plato by Socrates, whose Socratic method designed to enhance critical thought and discussion is still used in schools today.
More recently in the 17th century, Thomas Hobbes – in between his musings on morality and human nature as captured in such philosophical classics as ‘Leviathan’ and ‘De Cive’ – was a tutor to children and the nobility.
Empiricist and skeptic David Hume also educated the nobility alongside his ponderings on ethics, religion and oppositions to rationalism. Even Hegel, a notoriously esoteric writer, spent time as a tutor and teacher.
And then there were the professors – Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Husserl, Bergson, Russel, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and so on.
As such, there is a common trend that is apparent with some of history’s greatest thinkers: they possessed the ability to explain clearly and to teach plainly. This is what the tutee should expect from their tutor – someone who is succinct and clear, without compromising meaning or depth. Our tutors at LWC strive to clarify content while providing insights into how to write in greater detail.
The mark of a great teacher then, is an ability to distil the complex into something manageable and to make concrete that which seems abstract and inaccessible. In the words of one of our great modern intellects, Albert Einstein: “genius is making complex ideas simple, not simple ideas complex.”