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Tuition: a necessity?
Tuition in Singapore has always been a hot topic. An article on AsiaOne reports a statistic that seems shocking at first: our tuition industry alone is worth more than S$1 billion. However, the statistic becomes less shocking when we consider the fact that tuition is viewed as a necessity in Singapore, and for good reason too. With increasingly difficult examinations, students often find themselves swamped out without tuition. Tuition is now, more than ever, a necessity.
Therefore, as parents it is important that we know how to find the right tuition centre to aid our children’s learning. Here are seven things you should look out for when choosing a tuition centre:
1. Class Size
Why is class size important? With a smaller class, students will find it easier to get their questions answered, and teachers will be able to cater to each student’s individual needs more easily. In other words, a smaller class size means that your child will receive more individual attention, and hence experience a more conducive learning environment. In large classrooms, there is frustration for both teachers, in the form of managing such a large group, and students, in the form of getting their individual doubts cleared. A small class size mitigates these two issues and ensures that your child will experience more effective tuition!
2. Tutor’s Background
Next up, you will want to look at the tutor’s background. For the most part, you’ll find that teachers and ex-teachers will be the most effective tutors, given their professional training in teaching. An ex-teacher has the industry experience and ‘feel’ that other tutors may lack. Experienced tutors will also be more able to impart knowledge quickly and efficiently. In addition, an ex-teacher, with a more intimate knowledge of the education industry, will be able to better predict and spot examination questions correctly! Hence, the tutor’s background is a very important point to consider when choosing a tuition centre.
A tuition centre may provide you with information that looks good on paper, and that’s great. But what you are really interested in is whether they can actually deliver! This is where testimonials come into play. What better way to learn of a centre’s effectiveness than to read what other parents/students have to say about it? In this way, you learn about the tuition centre’s perks: the attributes that make parents/students satisfied with the service. A good resume is great in theory, but knowing that the centre is able to perform in practice is even better!
4. Tutor’s Ability to Connect with Students
This is not something that’s easy to spot at first glance! (That’s also why testimonials are important! They show the relationship between tutors and students.) A truly good tutor doesn’t simply teach; he/she also connects with the students, motivates them and cheers them on. There is no limit to what a student can achieve if he has someone rooting for them and pushing them on along the way! Furthermore, a good ability to connect builds trust and confidence, helping the student and teacher to work in tandem as an effective team. Indeed, the benefits of having a tutor who can truly touch the hearts of students are immense.
5. Type of Notes
In choosing a tuition centre, it’s also good to know what type of notes will be issued. Are they made personally by the tutors? Are they specific to that particular tuition centre? In general, notes that are self-made tend to be of a higher quality. Not only that, since they are likely to only be circulated within the tuition centre itself, they will give your child an extra edge in the form of notes that he/she has that other students don’t!
6. Teaching Style
Children have three main learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. In learning what your child’s learning style is, you will be more able to pick the tuition centre that best fits your child’s needs. For instance, if your child is a kinaesthetic learner, he may prefer more hands-on activities. If your child is a visual learner, he may prefer drawn explanations such as infographics, animations, videos, etc. And if your child is an auditory learner, he will benefit greatly from a tutor who can verbalise and explain concepts clearly. Since the visual learning style is the most common one, it should be your first focus. A great tuition centre usually has all three covered, so that each and every child will benefit, no matter what their learning style.
(P.S. Recently, a new learning style has been added to the model: the read/write learning style. But since the bulk of our Singaporean education system consists of reading questions and then writing out the answers, I’m certain all tuition centres will have this covered.)
7. Your Child’s Needs + How the Tuition Centre Addresses Those Needs
Finally, we come to perhaps the most important point: knowing your child’s specific needs. A tuition centre may be great, but if it doesn’t fit your child’s needs, then it is pointless. To truly pick the right centre, you need to know the areas where your kids will need specific help in. A good tuition centre will have tutors who understand how to tackle your child’s specific problems and create a custom teaching experience that will suit your child best. The ability to pinpoint the exact point of contention and address it accordingly: this is one of those traits that truly separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to tuition.
Congratulations! You are now well-versed in the art of choosing tuition centres!
In this day and age, tuition is more of a necessity than ever before. We hope that this article will give you the information you need to pick a tuition centre that will fulfil you and your children’s dreams!
About the Author
Mr. Joel has been teaching chemistry tuition in Singapore for more than 10 years.