Skip to main content
All CollectionsAdministrators
Can Native Speakers Bypass the Grade Requirement to Become Tutors?
Can Native Speakers Bypass the Grade Requirement to Become Tutors?

Here's a quick overview on why being a native speaker doesn’t inherently qualify someone to tutor in a language course on Knack

Jacob Robinson avatar
Written by Jacob Robinson
Updated over a week ago

Can Native Speakers Tutor on Knack?

To become a Knack Tutor, students must meet their institution's grade requirement and complete Knack Tutor Training: The Basics. Occasionally, our partners ask us if native speakers can bypass this requirement to tutor language courses they haven’t taken. We advise against this decision.

Why is this Knack's Stance?

The goal with Knack’s approach to course-specific tutoring is that a near peer who has aced the same course can help their fellow students navigate it as well. It’s not just about knowing the subject matter; it’s about knowing how to learn the material for a particular course.

Consider allowing a native speaker of English to tutor in an English as a second language course. This assumes that they deeply understand grammar, possess a wide vocabulary, and can help to bridge any gaps in knowledge from their tutees. In practice, this is a lot harder than it may seem.

In part, this has to do with the curse of knowledge, which makes it much more challenging for experts with long-standing knowledge of a subject to be able to explain the material to a novice in a way they easily understand.

As explained at the link above, the curse of knowledge means “the more familiar you are with something, the harder it is to put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s not familiar with that thing.” It’s why “sometimes students get stuck or feel lost in class, despite an instructor’s best attempts to explain the material” or why help from a peer who’s taken the course can help in a way that a native speaker might not.

Our Conclusion

Overall, foreign language tutoring is not a big percentage of tutoring activity on Knack, but we hope this sheds light on why we do not consider being a native speaker an exception to our recommended tutor requirements. We believe firmly that the best tutors are course-specific, since they understand how to navigate learning the material.

For more information and support, check out our Help Center or chat with us by clicking the bubble in the bottom right corner of any page.

Did this answer your question?