The Tuition Industry
Tuition in Singapore is a billion dollar industry. Is this an indication that our education system is inadequate? Or are our children simply incapable of coping with the demands of the system? Whatever your thoughts are on the relevance of tuition, tuition is here to stay, but how should we approach it?
Who benefits from Tuition?
There are generally 3 types of students tutors come across.
Student type Objectives Outcome Performer: Understands concepts taught in class
- Wants to gain extra knowledge outside the scope of what's taught in the curriculum.
- To get a head-start by starting on topics before the school does, so when they approach these topics in school, it becomes revision and further deepens their understanding.
- The tutor's role is also to provide more challenging questions so the student can be prepared for exams papers of any difficulty level.
Students have strong grasp of concepts and are familiar with tricky questions and context based questions, they will outperform typical students during exams. Average: Understands some of the concepts taught in class
- Clarify doubts from school.
- For tutor to summarise concepts taught in school and present to student in a way he/she can best understand.
- They also require the tutor's help in getting exam tips.
These students are normally not interested to learn beyond the syllabus as they are already struggling to cope with the schoolwork. Objectives of tuition tend to be more exam-focused. Distracted: Barely understands concepts taught in class
- Unable to catch up with the school teacher due to poor foundations.
- Usually weak in language and are unable to put ideas into words.
- Have poor math foundation and tend to be insensitive to numbers.
- Tutors have to reteach from the basics, sometimes even concepts from previous years.
- Tend to hold many misconceptions and tutors have to seek out the individual misconceptions and clear one by one.
These students are so busy playing catch-up. While others are revising exam questions, they are still spending time going through the basics. They lack time to work on essential examination skills like process skills and comprehension. Hence, they tend to be able to answer recall questions which require no applications. Exams nowadays tend to be focused on context based questions which require applications of concepts in multiple ways.
In all 3 scenarios above, there is a need for tuition, however the role of the tutor in each case is vastly different, how do you think each of them will fare?
Should I hit the panic button?
First and foremost, the purpose of this post is not about seeking more or better tuition. It is about adjusting the mindset/mentality to that of a performer student. This is definitely possible, and does not involve sending him/her for excessive enrichment or prep classes.
Below are some qualities which set performer students apart:
- Can focus better
- Has an intrinsic motivation to learn
- Questions when in doubt
- Does not take everything at face value
- Is humble
None of the above characteristics require a high IQ, nor hours of math drilling. They are all soft skills which we can cultivate from young.
How can Busy Tables help?
Our upcoming Experiential Learning classes are designed specifically to introduce these learning habits to young learners aged 3 - 4 years old. With each session lasting 90 minutes, learners get to explore topics in depth, with teachers providing the scaffolding to help them achieve their learning goals.
Do get in touch with us to arrange for a trial class, or drop by for a chat to find out how we can help!
Sensory play is one of the best ways to engage little ones as young children are naturally drawn to natural materials. Instead of a typical instructional conduct, our sensory playgroups are invitational - Children are invited to interact with the tubs whenever and however they like. They learn and explore because they want to, not because they have to, don't we always learn better when the motivation is intrinsic?
Today's theme was The Three Billy Goats Gruff, conducted by teacher Ainul. We started off with a short warm up, where teacher Ainul read the story out loud.
We then bring out the sensory invitation tub and retold the story! The scene from the story was recreated and reenacted using toys and other materials, the kids got to interact with the setup and this allowed for a most vivid storytelling.
There are so many learning opportunities in sensory play, here's one where we have the word goat presented in different formats.
After the story, we invited the kids to dig into the tubs scene by scene.
All together now
The aftermath, pretty messy but definitely a fun learning experience for everyone. Do join us for our upcoming session next weekend - Pigs in the mud
At Busy Tables, we have hundreds of educational toys and learning resources, this has proved to be both a bane and a boon. Whilst there are many choices, it is not always easy to pick out a toy to play with.
For a start, we have sorted them into different categories and difficulty levels, we also came up with BusyCards system, and invested in capsule machines to provide some form of gamification to our resources.
Now, we have simplified it further! Here are a few changes.
1: All cards are thematic.
2: All the learning resources and toys are grouped together so you no longer have to search high and low for each of them.
3: BusyCards can now be completed in 1 sitting, you no longer have to bring the cards back and worry about forgetting to bring on subsequent visits.
The tasks on the BusyCards are age-appropriate and as they vary in terms of skillsets utilised, BusyCards provide a fun and easy way to understand your child's proficiency in the various disciplines of literacy, numeracy, problem solving, understand the world around us and so on.
So do try them out on your next visit!
Do you sometimes find yourself struggling to manage your easily-distracted child or does he/she have difficulty focusing on an activity?
Indicative behaviors that a child is unable to focus:
- Very easily distracted by new things every few minutes. Never satisfied or satiated with activities.
- Able to focus on mindless activities (television, mobile games, simple toys) but not on activities requiring higher mental stimulation.
- Lack of noticeable persistence in tasks.
- Does not take heed of instructions or directions
- Impulsivity, acting without thinking
These behaviors might already be a source of frustration for parents when a child is young. As children grow older, the multitude of academic studying and standardized tests require focus and discipline. This will lead to better impulse control, mental regulation, higher-level thinking and a multitude of other benefits. This holistic development is predictive of better academic performance and life outcomes!
Here are our top 4 tips/tricks to help your child develop self-discipline and focus! This is one must-have skill in today’s environment of ever-increasing distractions and information bombardment.
1. Engage in structured play with your child. These are physical or mental activities that imparts new skills through self-motivated play. Table-top play is a remarkable exemplar, encompassing countless puzzles which can help to improve basic knowledge (numeracy, literacy), or physical development (fine motor skills). Together with your child, you can find puzzles or activities that your child would like. After that, work on them collaboratively. Give encouragements and let your child work at it first before giving them a little nudge.
2. Offer a mix of rewards when your child completes tasks. There are 2 different types of rewards: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are simple, such as giving your child a toy or candies when they have successfully achieved something. Intrinsic rewards are psychological rewards from doing meaningful work and performing it well. As parents, we can give encouragements and praises for the effort and results attained. This increases inner motivation for a child, hence allowing them to focus better and persist at the task for longer periods of time.
3. Understand the root of the problem. Keep asking questions to determine the reason for your child’s lack of focus. Eliminate distractions and capture your child’s attention by engaging in activities that you know they are interested in. For example, if your child likes dinosaurs, you can let them tell you a story about them, or count their spikes, or even learn about dinosaur colours. Start small and be creative.
4. Stay calm but firm. Remember that your child is not deliberately being naughty. Avoid yelling or getting angry at them. Keeping cool and stating clear expectations is the formula for success. Stating clear expectations “Today, we will be doing this puzzle. First, I want you to help me match all 10 of these words to the pictures correctly. If you can do that, I will give you a sticker!” would guide the child’s expectations and behavior. It is important to be firm about reinforcements and rewards, letting your child understand that you mean what you say.
Happy new year everyone!
2016 has been loads of fun, we opened our doors on 1st May 2016, and so far it's been a fruitful journey. We are glad to have met and spoken to many of you, from parents with their first newborn, to parents of 5(!!!) kids, thank you for your support thus far.
We are looking forward to many new additions in 2017, some of you might have gotten a heads up from me during our chit-chats, so here it is, the list of the services we will provide in 2017
1) Single Entry - With just 1 entry fee, gain access to hundreds of learning resources and award winning toys.
2) Drop-off - Got an errand to run or need some quiet time to focus on your work? Drop your child off here and we will keep him/her busy!
3) Weekly playgroups - We are not a preschool, nor are we an enrichment centre, hence, our playgroups are non-structured bouts of fun!
Some other additions are:
- Craft corner - Variety of handicrafts for crafty fingers
- Featured-toys section - New section comprising of the latest award-winning toys
- Customised birthday parties - Games and activities tailored for your child's and guests' age, no 2 parties will be the same.
We will be closed on 31st December and 1st Jan for the holidays, and we'll be back 2nd Jan onwards to bring more moments of fun and learning for you and your kids.