In recent discussions and articles in Singaporean newspapers, there have been diverse views on tuition programs. This has led many of us to reconsider the necessity of having tuition in addition to the demanding school workload. Some may question whether tuition truly provides value or hampers students’ progress. In response to these concerns, experts have undertaken research to investigate the effectiveness of tuition.

As a former school teacher who transitioned into the tuition industry, I witnessed firsthand the varying learning capabilities of students in Singapore. There were those who quickly grasped concepts and excelled in their assessments, while others required more time and personalized attention to enhance their understanding.

From the perspectives of students and parents in Singapore, several considerations arise.
1. Can school teachers allocate sufficient time and attention to students with diverse learning needs?
2. While some schools offer tuition programs to support academically weaker students, do these sessions simply become additional practice sessions with more practice papers?
3. Given the large number of students in schools, are teachers able to dedicate enough time to support those who struggle academically?

Evaluating the effectiveness of tuition programs becomes critically important.

Drawing from my background in education, I firmly believe that schools should play a pivotal role in nurturing well-rounded individuals, encompassing both academic and non-academic aspects. Overemphasizing academic performance may inadvertently lead to the “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” syndrome. Striking the right balance is imperative. Considering the high expectations placed on school examinations and further education criteria in Singapore, the significance of achieving good grades cannot be denied.

Who truly benefits from tuition? Do students with excellent grades also require tuition?

To address these questions, we must examine the structure of tuition programs in Singapore.

How are these sessions conducted?
Do they merely replicate regular school lessons, or do they effectively address students’ weaknesses and enhance their understanding of key concepts?

In my opinion, a quality tuition program should complement classroom learning.

When students diligently engage in their school education, a well-designed tuition program that caters to their specific needs can significantly contribute to their progress. Whether students possess outstanding, average, or poor grades, there is always room for improvement. Additionally, an effective tuition program should not merely involve mindless completion of worksheets, similar to what can be found in assessment books. While assessment books can serve as useful learning aids by providing relevant practice questions, tutors should primarily act as guides who support students’ learning processes. Every tuition session should foster effective learning.

Based on my observations, tuition has proven to be instrumental in helping students achieve academic improvement in Singapore. Each student is unique, and with proper guidance and effective learning strategies, every child has the potential to excel in examinations. Thus, having access to a well-designed tuition program undoubtedly offers students an additional advantage.

Teacher Liza

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