A guide to English and Maths tutoring in Doha

Supplementary Education in Doha

Tutoring is a growing industry and becoming an ever more popular option for parents to supplement their children’s education. The brochures will sell you the image of your child being imparted wisdom from experienced old sages and unlocking their potential to get straight A’s. Is the reality like this or do they end up buried in a pile of tedious worksheets issued by a poorly paid and pimple faced college kid with no other job prospects? The truth is as always, somewhere in between.

You may be on the lookout for additional support to help your child progress at school this year or may not have found a place at school for them in time for September. My aim for writing this article is to give you an insight into tutoring in Doha and some possible options for your children if you are a parent, a teacher who has been asked this question and prospective tutors who would like to earn some additional income.

The focus will be on 3 particular organisations that I have had the privilege to work for either here in Doha or back in the UK, to give you an insider’s view of what you can expect. I’ve tried to provide information you may not readily find on their websites to help give you a better picture of what they do but I would still strongly recommend having a chat with them to find out more.

Also I have to stress that I do not favour one organization over another and have tried to make this as balanced and objective as possible. As a parent and as a tutor there would be any factors to consider when choosing the right centre for you, including the location, the curriculum itself and your budget and I would recommend you contact the appropriate centre to discuss your plans in more detail as the information here may not cover the questions you have in as much depth as you require. If you have any questions on tutoring in general, please feel free to comment on this article and I will be happy to respond. Also if there are any inaccuracies within, do let me know so I can correct them.

If you are a prospective tutor reading this then be aware that although you may earn more from tutoring privately, the advantages of working for an established centre are worth considering. As well as a more social working environment, you will be working with of a variety of ages and differing abilities and will have more flexibility or a more consistent working pattern as well as minimal preparation time which are all worth considering.

Kip McGrath

History and global reach

Kip McGrath centres were founded in 1974 in Australia and have 650 centres across 20 countries today. The Doha branch has been open since 2013.

Curriculum

The Doha centre focuses on the British curriculum for English and Maths tailored for ESL learners.

Are the tutors qualified teachers?

Without exception, yes, all tutors at Kip are qualified teachers from the UK, North America Australia and New Zealand and are nationals of these countries. The management team consists of Saleh Al Asadi, who is the director of the centre and in fact, the whole MENA region. He has a wealth of experience in teaching English as a second language as well as a postgraduate diploma in Educational leadership. He grew up in the UK and is a native English speaker and has been based in Doha for the past 5 years. He achieved a first class honours degree in a fascinating and unusual field of study but I will let him tell you what that was when you speak to him!

His business partner, Zackary Swinden, is director of the Educate centre which is located in the same building and also co-director of the centre. He also has a wealth of experience teaching English as a second language and is a native English speaker originally from Canada.

To their credit, both guys also regularly tutor English and Maths themselves and are excellent teachers and extremely dedicated to all matters concerning their centre.

What is the student to tutor ratio?

A maximum of 5:1 students to teachers is set, however this is only the case on very busy days and often the tutors will be working with 3 or 4 students. Students are not assigned to one fixed tutor and their tutor may vary for each lesson.

How long are the sessions and what do the students study?

Students work for 80 minute sessions in either Maths or English depending on their subject combination.

Students are assessed initially for their appropriate level and a specific teaching plan based across a number of weeks/months is mapped out for the student. They will follow this programme with a series of activities that progress incrementally in difficulty.

A mixture of worksheet based activities and interactive computer based tasks are provided to accommodate a range of student learning styles.

Students are also provided with a short homework task between sessions to reinforce the topics they have learned.

What is the level of feedback given?

In addition to monitoring of all students as they are completing tasks, tutors are able to see live results from student tasks and a range of data to see where they might be struggling or which tasks they have mastered. The subsequent lesson is planned with this in mind.

Where do the students come from and what is the age range?

All over the place! Over half the students are Qatari nationals with a mix of students from ‘Western’ countries and other Arabic speaking countries. Students I have taught have ranged from the age of 7 up to 15 but they can accommodate students from kindergarten (infant school) up to Year 12.

Can they cater for special needs students?

Yes and no but I would recommend speaking to Saleh, the director, to discuss your child’s specific needs and whether they can accommodate them. As with most tutoring centres, children with more moderate to severe learning needs may find the format of the tutoring challenging.

Pricing

250 Riyals for an 80 minute session (although prices may be subject to change)

What’s it like to work there?

A great place to work in a nice atmosphere. Students are for the most part, well behaved, studious and respectful to their teachers. They are also enthusiastic about their learning. Saleh and Zackary are also very supportive and are able to train you on the Kip Mcgrath systems and best ways to use the materials available. Both of them have a good sense of humour too which is always a bonus. The other teachers are also friendly and helpful. There is also a small computer suite available for teachers to prepare before lessons and a pantry with a freely offered myriad of tea and coffee options to keep you alert.

Tutor’s pay is more generous than other centres in Doha but would vary by experience. You will have to enquire if you’re interested as I don’t want to know if you’ll be getting more than I did or vice versa I wouldn’t want you disappointed either!

Alhough I was not able to pursue working at Kip because there were limited hours available for plans are afoot for expansions and tutors would have the chance of having a more fixed teaching schedule for the coming academic year.

Contact details

Office Location Aamal Tower (v close to Intercontinental City hotel) – 1st Floor Al Dafna, West Bay Area
Postal PO Box 24635 Doha, Qatar
Phone +974 4417 7103
Fax +974 4417 2002
Email zswinden@educate.com.qa or salasadi@kipmcgrath.com

 

 

Oxford Learning

 

History and Global Reach

Oxford Learning, despite the name actually has its origins in Canada (funnily enough in London, Ontario). The first centre opened in 1984. It has hundreds of centres across Canada and the United States and has international centres in the Bahamas, Kuwait and Qatar. Plans are in progress for centres in Saudi Arabia and the UAE too.

Curriculum

Drawn from the Canadian curriculum but designed for ESL learners.

Are the tutors qualified teachers?

This varies. Some of the tutors are qualified to teach in schools, others are qualified in teaching English as a second language and others have previous experience working with children. Training is provided across the year for staff. Tutors are required to be nationals of the US/Canada/UK/South Africa/Australia and New Zealand

The director, Linda Obel, has a wealth of experience in the US and extensive training working with children who have special learning needs. She has also been based here for many years and has an excellent knowledge of local schools in Doha.

The management team also consists of a number of dedicated coordinators from the US and UK who you would also be in contact with if you chose to complete an assessment.

What is the student to tutor ratio?

The maximum ratio in exceptional circumstances (due to staff illness or emergency) is 4:1, however in practice 90% of the time it is a 3:1 ratio. A premium fee can be paid to have students working on a 2:1 ratio.

In most cases, students are not assigned to one particular tutor and could work with a range of tutors in the centre.

How long are the sessions and what do the students study?

After an initial assessment, a recommended programme to follow in either Maths or English and suggested hours are provided to the parents. Each student session consists of an hour’s tutorial. Most students attend for 2 hour blocks at a time and in some cases 3 hours (although this should only be taken if you are confident your child can concentrate for this length of time as it can be quite intensive).

The learning materials themselves are a series of workbooks and textbooks and are all paper based.

Homework from the centre can be provided for students and specific programmes to assist students with their school homework can also be provided on request.

What is the level of feedback given to students?

A range of tasks are given scores which are noted in each individual student’s planners. A number of activities also provide tutors with opportunities to comment on student progress and to assess whether they are ready to move to the next level. Tutors are required to provide feedback after each student session on areas to develop and areas the student performed well in. These comments are incorporated into termly student reports and as feedback at parent’s meetings.

Where do the students come from and what is the age range?

At an estimate, students are predominantly Qatari (around 75%) although the rest of the student population is extremely diverse. The centre offers a ‘little readers’ programme for students from 3 years old and older students tend to peak at around 14/15.

Can they cater for special needs students?

Yes. The director of the centre Linda Obel has a background in special needs education and is able to assess children with specific learning needs accordingly. Of course, each individual case is considered and I would recommend discussing your needs with the centre. One point worth noting is that the curriculum is quite ‘old school’ in the sense that all activities are paper/worksheet based. As such, if your child is quite an active learner and has trouble concentrating, this may be a challenge for them at first.

Pricing

Pricing varies according to the programme students follow. It is usually calculated on a termly basis but please call for details.

What’s it like to work there?

It is an extremely diverse team with an array of accents across the teaching floor. Friendly tutors who are helpful to newcomers are a real plus point. Periodic training is offered for tutors on a range of topics and available on request. Hours are flexible from week to week and no pre-planning is required. The management team is very supportive of tutors and rewards good practice with teacher of the month awards and social events. Students are in general well behaved and hard-working and respectful towards their tutors.

 

Contact details

Centre 1: North Madinat Khalifa Next to Dahl Al-Hamam Garden Al-Deebal Street Villa #29 Doha, Qatar P.O. Box 22683

Tel: +974-44910777

Centre 2: Al Hilal, Madinat Khalifa

Tel: +974-6633-4898

Kumon

Please note this information is based on my experience in the UK as I have not worked in the Doha centre. As such it may vary from what you find here. If you have had experience of the Kumon centre in Doha I would be interested to hear your feedback and whether it matches up to what I’ve written.

History and Global Reach

Kumon is a Japanese supplementary education provider founded in the 1950s by Toru Kumon. He devised a system of learning mathematics for his son which led to a global empire of sorts. Kumon is recognised as the largest supplementary education provider in the world with over 4 million students in almost 50 countries.

Curriculum

Kumon’s curriculum is not aligned to any particular country but the skills learned there are all relevant to practical mathematical and linguistic skills your child will need to progress in school. The differences are usually quite subtle. For example, odd and even numbers are not taught explicitly as the system is geared towards mastery of pure mathematics. Students do not use calculators at any point in their studies. You may also find that techniques used to master mathematical functions will differ from school and students might experience a little confusion at first but will easily overcome this. A;though I have tried to be as neutral as possible in this article, I do feel that Kumon’s maths programme is particularly strong but on the flipside I am not the biggest fan of it’s English curriculum and find it less engaging and relevant than the others.

Are the tutors qualified teachers?

Kumon is not a tutoring centre in the traditional sense. Assistants are placed with early learners, however their experience can vary widely from college students to experienced teaching assistants. The management team would consist of an instructor who is not required to be a qualified teacher but has to pass a rigorous training programme to own a franchise.

What is the student to tutor ratio?

For early learners, a ratio of 3 to 1 is usually followed but for older students they are expected to work independently and are not assigned an individual teacher or assistant. An instructor will patrol the classroom floor, offering support to students who require it and keeping them on task. Intervention is usually kept to a minimum as students are encouraged to work as independently as possible.

How long are the sessions and what do the students study?

After an initial assessment, students should in theory, be placed at a comfortable starting level and should find the initial work they complete fairly easy. A progress chart should be completed for the student to map out where they would expect to be in a year’s time and ideally beyond this to completion. If students successfully finish the programme, they would be comfortably ready for mathematical study at University and with the linguistic skills for a variety of university courses. i

In the sessions themselves, timings will vary. Students will be given worksheet tasks that should take them a maximum of 30 minutes to complete for each subject. Generally, students will stay in the centre until the work for the day is completed and are provided with homework tasks to complete daily until they return. This is important to emphasise as Kumon is as much a home study programme as it is a classroom experience. So you will need to allocate 30 minutes per subject per day for your child to make sure they progress as expected. The Kumon programme can be quite different to the other two tutoring centres mentioned as there is a level of parental input beyond the classes that are required so this is important to think about.

What is the level of feedback given to students?

Feedback is provided subtly to avoid students becoming distracted during class time and parent meetings can be arranged with the class instructor. Lengthy written feedback is often avoided as the aim is for students to be aware of any errors they make and learn from these experiences.

Where do the students come from and what is the age range?

Not knowing the demographics of the centre in Doha I can only speculate. It is a popular programme with Asian students in particular. I have seen students as young as 2 years old in the centre and several adult learners have also attended but these are quite unusual cases. Predominantly the programme will cater for students of 4 years old to 16 but there are no age limits or restrictions per se.

Can they cater for special needs students?

Yes and no. This really depends on how comfortable the instructor is and their level of training. The Kumon mathematics programme for example can be very effective for students on the autistic spectrum as the worksheets themselves and the class routine can be quite repetitive as well as being completed at a pace the student is comfortable with. The classroom environment should also be quiet and calm with minimal interaction with other students.

Pricing

I am not aware of the pricing for the centre in Doha but am fairly confident the pricing would be considerably less than a tutoring centre. Be aware of why this is the case however and the time investment you would be required to make in between sessions when you make a comparison.

What’s it like to work there?

Not having worked in the Doha branch, I can’t comment but for prospective tutors I would not recommend Kumon as your salary would be much lower than other forms of tutoring. In the UK a number of centres employed students on minimum wage and considering the income disparity between nationalities in Qatar, I’d be surprised if something similar wasn’t happening over here. If you are interested in becoming an instructor then this is a different scenario altogether and it can be a great business opportunity if you know what you are doing and open in a good catchment area.

 

Contact details (not verified)

 

Details for the centre are irritatingly elusive and poorly advertised. So I apologise if the details I have are incorrect. Please let me know if you do have the appropriate details so I can update this accordingly.

Kumon Qatar W.L.L.

P.O.Box 55717, Doha-Qatar

Tel: 974-55627394

(Directions from a helpful parent) KUMON is located in a villa directly behind Landmark Shopping Centre. There are parents and kids in and out all day. If you drive behind Landmark Centre at the bottom end where there is an entrance to the underground parking, across the road is the villa.

 

Other tutoring centres in Doha worth a mention

 

Sylvan Learning

http://locations.sylvanlearning.com/int/al-duhail-doha

http://locations.sylvanlearning.com/int/abu-hamour

 

Berlitz (for English as an additional language)

http://www.berlitz-qatar.com/

(Located in Al Hilal)

 

And do let me know if you have any others you recommend that I can add to the list 🙂

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A guide to English and Maths tutoring in Doha

  1. Kumon Doha also operate from Al Jazeera Academy in Abu Hamour (next to Park House English School) and sessions there are on a Monday & Thursday from 2pm – 6pm.
    Additional contact number for Kumon Doha is +974 7757 5700

    Like

  2. For your Information I went to Kumon Qatar and learned that it is staffed by college degree holders which is the basic requirement though looked down upon as teaching assistants by a racist system subservient to ignorant West.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s