One of the attractions for me about having a Tuition Centre, rather than tutoring ad hoc from home, is the opportunity it creates to gather and surround oneself with resources. Although many resources these days can sit on the computer and take up no room, I do like to have plenty of stock ready for use in printed form in folders – just in case there is a powercut (as in fact there was briefly on Monday afternoon) or other technical failure. I also like the weight, feel and character of books, including textbooks, and to have them available on shelves in abundance.
There is one category of book, however, which, attractive though it will always be to the traditionalist, can be cumbersome to use in tutoring students – and that is the conventional dictionary or thesaurus. I have some bulky Oxfords here, and they are my first choice to consult for my own information, but, when working with students, an onscreen counterpart is unarguably often more convenient.
If you have not heard of it, let me here recommend Artha to your notice. Artha is not an online dictionary, but a free downloadable one. It is unadorned in appearance, and very straightforward to use. For students who are looking for plain meanings or synonyms, or illustrations of how a word is used – Artha (the word is Hindi for ‘definition’ I think) will be excellent. It is an American program, so alertness to the differences between AmE and BrE may sometimes be needed, but the important thing is the overall quality, scope and handiness – it can be summoned up on the screen immediately with a ‘hot key’.
From this term I now have Artha installed on all my computers.