3 things to consider before sending your children to enrichment or tuition classes
As parents, we are concerned about our children’s education and want them to be able to score better. Many times, we are not sure of what is the best way to support them – enrichment or tuition? Education experts from Marshall Cavendish Education answer these questions from readers of theAsianparent.
When it comes to our children’s education, we parents want to do all that we can to ensure that they get the best options and score well.
To help our children in this quest, we often turn to tuition and enrichment centres for help. The question is, do our children really need those lessons?
According to the experts from Marshall Cavendish Education, there are three things to consider before deciding if our children need enrichment or tuition classes
The panel of experts includes: Lee Knight, Chitra Pillay Chua, Dr Yeap Ban Har and Michelle Choo.
#1: What kind of support is the school providing my children?
Children’s academic grades are often the deciding factor for parents to consider enrichment or tuition classes. When grades decline, 2 reasons that come to parents' mind are usually:
- My children do not understand what is being taught
- My children are being tested for something that the teacher has not completed teaching
For a start, you could take the time to understand how your children’s current school has addressed these concerns by attending the Parent Teacher Conference (PTC) and speaking directly to the teachers. Find out how well your children are coping in class and reason why they are still not doing well and what the school or the teacher has been doing about it. With this feedback, it will be easier to determine which is the best way forward to help your children.
You will also be heartened to know that the Ministry of Education, Singapore (MOE) has in place a system to ensure that no child gets left behind. Apart from the many initiatives that have been implemented to support your children, MOE has also taken measures to ensure that teachers do not merely cover syllabus but also have more opportunities for students to explore and enjoy the topics taught.
The “Teach Less, Learn More” (TLLM) movement introduced in 2006, allowed for more student-centric learning where content has been reduced across subjects, and lessons are differentiated to provide more time to engage students in their learning.
The class size has also been reduced to 30 for Primary 1 and 2 since 2004 and allied educators have been introduced in schools to help students who have learning needs to cope with their work.
With the present system and support in place, students should be able to thrive with the support provided by schools as they abide by MOE initiatives to become ‘Every school, a Good School’.
#2: The real reason behind your children's struggle with homework
Children’s ability to independently complete their homework is also another indicator that parents look out for. Homework allows your children to practice applying the concepts learnt and methods imparted in class.
There might be some challenging questions which may require your children to think about, but those questions are definitely within the syllabus covered.
You can try and understand the genuine reason behind your children’s difficulties by finding out:
- Their learning style
- Your children may be an auditory learner but have only been exposed to learning things visually.
- Their performance in the subject thus far
- Do not assume that they are weak in a particular subject if they are only weak in one or two topics from the subject
- Their interests
- Help them see the relevance in learning their least favourite subjects. It can motivate them and help them strive for better results
- If they have approached the teacher for help
- If they have language issues trying to comprehend the questions
What are some of other concerns that parents have regarding enrichment classes and tuition for their children. What do our experts have to say? Head on to the next page to find out.
#3: Enrichment or Tuition classes?
First thing that you need to do before you decide which is better for your children is to understand the difference between the learning objectives and environments of an enrichment class versus that of a tuition class.
Enrichment classes usually offer more varied programmes to cater to the different interests that your children may have. Enrichment lessons aim to deepen children’s learning in both academic and non-academic areas.
Lessons are carried out in a non-routine manner, which exposes children to knowledge outside of the classroom and provides them opportunities to pick up new skills.
Academic enrichment lessons are lessons that indirectly aid in the understanding of subjects learnt in school, and include:
- creative writing (languages)
- speech & drama (languages)
- reading programmes (languages)
- learning journeys (Science, History and Social Studies, Math)
- arithmetic (Math)
- holiday camps / workshops (various subjects)
Non-academic enrichment lessons include:
- art & craft
- digital media (e.g.: animation, photography, videography, etc.)
If your decision is to send your children for enrichment lessons, it is always good to understand what they are interested in.
This makes the learning journey enjoyable for your children. What’s more, when children learn on their own accord, the possibilities of resistance are lower.
Tuition classes, on the other hand, focus on academic learning and help children to ace their exams. The objective of sending children for tuition would be to:
- Strengthen understanding and reinforcement on subject matter (because your children need extra practice to be aligned with the syllabus)
- Accelerate learning (being exposed to more challenging problems or tasks that are above the child’s level, e.g.: P3 but learning P4 content)
Tuition classes tend to have more drill-and-practice activities than enrichment classes.
Before considering any form of tuition, have an open discussion with your children about the problems they are facing in school. This will help you get a better understanding of their learning needs and thus allow you to select a learning centre best suited to their needs.
Tuition may seem to be the go-to solution for any challenges in school. However, in order to avoid tuition from becoming a mere security blanket, tuition can be seen upon as a way to explore and learn further.
Look out for learning centres that offer opportunities for your children:
- to develop divergent thinking
- improve analytical skills and general knowledge
So what is the verdict? Tuition, Enrichment Classes or neither? Click on 'next' to find out what our experts have to say.
When is it ok to put your child in tuition:
After considering all of the above issues, you can perhaps consider tuition if you still
- Think that the school is still not able to address your concerns at a personal level for your children.
- Find that the class size is still not conducive enough for your children’s learning, or your children can learn better in a smaller group and needs the extra support even though he has paid attention in class
When is it not ok to put your child in tuition:
You should not look at sending your children for tuition if:
- You realise that the root of the problem of your child not doing well is probably his discipline issue and that after communicating with the teachers a collaborative effort with the school has helped to improve him in his subject areas.
We hope these answers have been insightful for you, parents. Education is a lifelong journey and should be a positive one for the children to benefit in the long run.
With over 40 years of experience, Marshall Cavendish Education, has played a pivotal role in providing high quality educational solutions that sync with the Singapore’s education system. With comprehensive teaching resources, educators are able to better teach learners through effective usage of materials. Schools in Singapore have been embracing Marshall Cavendish Education materials, which are the trusted source for both teachers and learners.
If you have questions to check with our education experts about, feel free to post them here. Selected questions will be picked up and answered in our upcoming articles. Stay tuned!