Arnold Kling  

A Business Idea for Education

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On this post, a commenter writes,


I was thinking of providing my children with exceptional tutors from various disciplines in addition to their regular curriculum. Aristocrats would frequently engage proven scholars to teach their children. Good private schools today attempt to do the work of locating good teachers for you. There are plenty of extracurricular tutoring opportunities. How in the world, though, would one be able to locate and employ extraordinary teachers on an individual basis? Are there agencies that specialize in such activity?

What an intriguing business idea! I personally would like to teach in the old-fashioned style, where you mentor students rather than address them in a classroom setting. I could see a broker serving to find students who are able to learn from mentors (I think the student has to be fairly self-motivated) and suitable mentors in various fields.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Tom Crispin writes:

It's not quite individual tutoring, but the price is right: The Teaching Company

http://www.teach12.com/

We supplemented our daughter's homeschooling with these starting about age 10; by the time she got her GED at age 16 (she has since graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing a Master's degree) she had some 2000 hours of college level lectures under her belt.

And I never listen to the radio; there is always a lecture playing in the CD during my commute.

jibble writes:

This is a good idea for another reason: there is a Ph.D. glut. How many Ph.D.'s would rather teach capable pupils from good homes than relocate their lives to Northwest Armpit State University?

meep writes:

I second the Teaching Company recommendation. Cost-effective way to get great lectures from college profs. I've gotten courses for myself there on Milton, Chaucer, Shakespeare, History of the English Language, Physiology, Herodotus, Intro finance.

Of course, there's OpenCourseWare at MIT for the more advanced. For continuing ed in history, I recommend History According to Bob podcast. (Maybe you don't want to expose younger kids to that - he likes getting into some gritty detail, and really loves covering (in)famous courtesans.)

The issue isn't so much finding good resources for learning material, but finding a way to confirm one has learned the material (i.e., tests and grading). That you will definitely not get for free, though there are plenty of people who will teach for free (cf Bob's podcast).

In any case, I'm sure something can be done with the "credentialing" issue. Various homeschooling programs have formal tests & graders to confirm one has covered particular material. And there's always the AP tests.

Arnold Kling writes:

The Teaching Company is fine if you think of learning as listening to lectures. But I have a saying that

Teaching = Feedback

Lectures on DVD don't provide that.

sader writes:

thanks for the nice article :)

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