My views are naturally biased, since I'm a part of this love-it-or-hate-it industry. Some students found great benefit in tuition, because it's a much more effective means of getting to master subjects. Of course you can explore yourself to reach the same mastery level but it'll take time, and tuition can help students reach this level in the shortest time possible. But some people complained why teachers cannot do the same thing in school? After all, the kids spend more time in formal lessons in school than in tuition, so shouldn't more learning be done in school than outside during tuition?
|Tuition can break your piggybank in Singapore|
I think there are a few reasons why school teaching is less effective:
1. There are many more students in school classroom than in a tuition class. If you join a tuition class with as many students as there are in school classroom, you should seriously consider finding an alternative. I think teacher-student ratio is the main reason why tuition centres are flourishing. It's quite impossible to learn when you have a teacher juggling with different learning capabilities of 40 odd students in class, within say 30 mins a lesson. It's possible to do it, but it's rare to encounter it.
2. There are many distractions in school. Kids behave differently in the company of their friends and when they are in the presence of 'adults'. Put 40 kids together in a room is bound to be a testing experience for any teachers. I believe a lot of time is wasted doing disciplinary actions and on administrative matters. What about tuition? You go in, you start a lesson, you end it, you go home.
3. This point boils down to the teacher-student ratio again. If the ratio is high, meaning there are more teachers than students, there is more attention. After so many years doing this, I find that the greatest advantage of tuition lies in 1-1 kind of setting. When someone experienced is there to observe the student's reaction to the things said in the textbook, the learning is made more effective because adjustments can be made on the fly. Basically I spend a lot of time observing how the student react to a question and when I impart content to them. From their observations, I will change my teaching on-the-fly and make decisions as to whether to elaborate more, or give more examples, or go back to the previous chapters to revise certain materials before moving on. It's different from asking the student to read the textbook himself because the teacher in the classroom cannot possibly help out the individual needs and concerns of every student. A small class size of maybe less than 5 in tuition can do the trick too.
As I was reading the letters, the first thought that came to my mind was that if my career is going to be jeopardized. If so, I will need a backup plan. As I talked with my gf and analysed the situation, I find that it's hard to do away with tuition, at least not in the next 5 yrs. Perhaps more regulation in the sense of asking tutors to register with an association might be in the pipeline. So what can I do in the event that the whole industry - my livelihood - is threatened?
No way I'll be an engineer. Most likely I'll join a formal institution to carry on what I've been doing all along.