Updated: Jul 30, 2020
If you’ve been a student before, chances are, you are extremely familiar with the tuition craze. Even as a parent, you are probably a hopeless contributor to this fad. This popular choice among Singaporeans is a million-dollar money-making industry to help students perform better in their studies. Yet, the decisions which make this industry so successful, are often out of a common misconception, many a time resulting in worry and disappointment.
To simply help students on an average of 2-3 hours a week per subject, it is not a cheap option. It is important to understand the pros and cons of attending tuition classes. As it is for all other choices we make in life, we have expectations, which cloud us from seeing the reality of things. From a tuition centre’s perspective, here is how we have evaluated the reality of students enrolled in tuition.
There are certain expectations upheld by parents or students themselves. Common, but absurd from my point of view, these expectations have stuck with the idea of attending tuition for a LOOONG time, though it has seldom been met. Many believe that tuition is the best source of help and that their grades will improve tremendously. Many also expect tutors to answer every single question or provide a pile of homework for students. If these expectations were true, then everyone would be enrolling in tuition or (in this kancheong society of Singapore) fighting for the best tutor.
While many hold on to the belief that tuition will help a student improve, examinations are always set a bar higher to test student’s abilities. Preparing students for more important exams, schools may challenge students with tougher questions to stretch their thinking and rid of their complacency, driving them to work harder. As a result, grades may seem inconsistent. Most of the time, when students produce poor results, they are said to not have studied hard enough and tutors are accused of doing a bad job. In actual fact, examinations are set at varying difficulties for different purposes and inconsistent results isn’t always a worrying thing.
Moreover, many expect tuition to provide extra homework to supplement a student’s learning. Practice does make perfect, but have you seen the immeasurable amount of homework students already receive in school? Tuition is a platform for students to clear their doubts and ask questions, and extra homework should only serve to strengthen a student’s limited understanding in a topic, and not to add on to the stress brought on by schoolwork.
Despite school being the main educational platform, many turn to tutors for help, as they are looked up to as knowledgeable and having the answer to most questions. Keep in mind, however, that even though they know the syllabus better, they are not a real-life search engine. Independent learning and self-research is important and a student should never fully rely on tutors for answers as it will hinder their ability to think critically.
More challenging questions can equip students with higher level thinking skills, but it also stresses them out. Each student is unique, with different learning abilities, styles and pace. Yes, the purpose of attending tuition is to drive the student to greater heights, and challenging them is one way to achieve this. However, a slow learner with a weak foundation would find it a struggle, being thrown a bunch of difficult questions without proper guidance. Tutors know best and will guide and cater to the needs of each student before building them up. Therefore, trust the tutor and have patience.
Expect the unexpected, as cliche as it sounds. Tuition does play a significant part in a student’s education and it will help him improve. Even though at times its effectiveness may seem questionable, as long as the student works hard and aims to do better, the results will show it in the end. Ultimately, the impact on a student is not determined by grades alone, but in the student’s moral growth and attitude towards learning.