Does Your Child Really Need Tuition?

In Singapore, nearly eight in ten households with primary school children have tuition. Do you belong to the minority who doesn’t send your child to tuition?


Does Your Child Really Need Tuition?

As part of our Shareables Series, we will be sharing various insights to answer the burning questions parents have. In this particular set of four articles, you will learn about the factors needed for a child to study independently, beyond the school system, to determine if the child requires a tuition environment to fully realise their potential. At the end of it, you will be able the answer these questions:

  1. What are the pros and cons of conventional schooling?
  2. Am I good enough to teach my child?
  3. Finally, Is my child well-positioned to perform independent study outside of a tuition environment? Does my child really need tuition?

The answer to the final question helps to determine if you should start scouting for tuition programmes. We, too, are parents. We, too, are constantly plagued by doubts. We, too, often wonder whether there is anything more we can do to ensure our children have the chance to develop their potential. However, our experience in the education industry offers us several insights that few parents have the opportunity to attain, insights that we wish to share with you.

To start off this series of articles, let us discuss 3 things:

  1. Your child’s conceptual understanding of the syllabus taught in school
  2. Your expectations for your child
  3. Your involvement level in helping your child to revise

Asian school kid lying on the floor


1) Your Child’s Conceptual Understanding Of The Syllabus Taught In School

Does your child truly understand the concepts taught in school? Or are they merely memorising the answers provided by the teacher? One simple method to confirm your child’s level of conceptual understanding is asking them to explain how they derived their answer. If your child has a strong understanding of the concepts taught, they should be able to easily identify question requirements and therefore formulate a correct answer. With a strong foundation, they will be able to tackle questions of increasing difficulty as they continue to progress.

If your child struggles to explain the concepts, you should quickly ask more questions from the same subject; it might be a possible indication that they are experiencing difficulties with the subject. As the syllabus will only grow increasingly difficult, they will face even greater challenges if they possess conceptual weaknesses that undermine their core fundamentals.


2) Your Expectations For Your Child’s Improvement

How realistic are your expectations for your child’s improvement? Is your child able to meet your expectations? This is something you need to discuss with your child so they are aware of your expectations and can assist in adjusting or revising them.

If you are able to establish open, transparent communication with your child, you will find out if you are overly ambitious, or if you are setting goals which are too easy to accomplish. Goal-setting instills purpose, challenge, and meaning into an otherwise mundane task1, and therefore serves as an effective motivator. However, goal-setting must be done in a precise and realistic manner.

Ideally, your aim should be to push them slightly beyond their comfort zone, as too ambitious a goal might be demotivating, while too lax an objective would be ineffective for stimulating improvement.

Speak at length with your child, let them review their performance and assit them in setting goals. Your role is to push them further if they are undervaluing their capabilities, but keep in mind that an improvement in examination grades is not the sole objective; you may also want them to explore the possibility of stretching their capabilities in the pursuit of achieving a goal they set for themselves.


3) Your Involvement In Helping Your Child To Revise

How many hours do you spend revising with your child per week? Do you keep track of your child’s progress? We understand that in today’s competitive and fast-paced, efficiency-driven societal environment, it is difficult to find the time to guide your child’s revision. However, revision is ultimately a matter of efficacy, not duration. What counts is not how many hours you devote to revision, but rather how much revision you can facilitate within those hours.

One way to make learning more effective is to keep track of your child’s homework and identify their weaker topics. With that information, you can focus primarily on topics your child is weak in, instead of superfluously reviewing topics which your child has already mastered. This form of targeted revision will help to improve your child’s examination scores at a much quicker pace.

Ultimately, it is not about how many hours you put into revision; but rather, how much revision you put into those hours.

Once you have had the opportunity to assess and refine these factors, you are on the right track to helping your child improve. The next step would be to evaluate and decide if the conventional schooling system is enough to help your child improve. In order to assist you in this evaluation, our next article will discuss the merits and demerits of conventional schooling.

1 Latham, G. P.. (2004). The Motivational Benefits of Goal-Setting. The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 18(4), 126–129. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4166132

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