The answer is… it depends. Not all students need tuition. Although we are a tuition centre here, there have been many times we advised potential students to reconsider their decision to take up tuition.
It’s not that we do not want the business. It is because effective tuition doesn’t come cheap, and it is a financial burden on the parents.
Here are FOUR reasons why tuition may not be necessary or suitable for your child:
(1) Your child is already doing very well in the school exams
If your child is already doing well, he/she has probably acquired the right method to scoring. All that remains to do well isn’t about acquiring scoring techniques, but the mastery of them.
There was one time where I had a HCI student. She was already within the top 10% in her school, but she wanted to score even higher. She was disciplined, and had clear goals on what she wanted to achieve. I advised her that while I could help her achieve her goals, it is not really necessary to look for me for help as she could easily achieve the same all by herself.
Personally, I attended tuition myself in my secondary school days. I didn’t do too well in secondary one, but I realised that my weak point was in discipline. Tuition for me was merely to enforce discipline to practice. By the time I was in JC, I was sufficiently disciplined and doing well enough not to have attended any tuition, even though my mum was prepared to let me seek help for any subjects I needed help in.
(2) You cannot afford
Effective tuition doesn’t come cheap, even for group tuition. It is a heavy financial burden on the parent, especially if the child needs help for multiple subjects.
But parents, being parents, usually go out of their way to help their children. I have a student whose parent insisted to pay me to help their daughter for the O Level. The parent actually rented out one room out of her HDB to pay for her daughter tuition fee. Fortunately, I managed to help her daughter achieve an A2 for her Pure Physics at the O Level.
There are many such stories, but do not ever feel pressurised to sign your child up for tuition. Grades, while important, isn’t everything. Contact us for advice if you have are unsure whether your child needs the extra help.
Note: Do not ever compromise your child’s grades by going for cheap tutors. Such tutors might actually teach your child the wrong things. Your child, being already poor in the subject, will not be able to tell what’s right or wrong.
(3) You have other children or relatives who are suitably qualified to guide your child
This is the best option. Personally, I coached my younger sisters in Maths and Physics to their As. My parents only engaged an Econs tutor because that is a subject I can’t teach!
Unfortunately, this isn’t a common option to rely on.
(4) Your child is unmotivated to do well
Motivation to excel is the main driver for a student to do well, with or without tuition.
Some tuition centres claim to embed motivational elements into their lessons. In my opinion, that’s dubious and a marketing ploy to get parents to sign up. Motivation isn’t something that can be taught in classes; even if the student becomes motivated, the effects are usually too short-term to see results. Motivation has to arise from within the student.
The motivation to excel arise mainly from the student knowing his/her aspirations, and not something “taught” in class. This is what I discussed futures and aspirations often with my students. Students have to see the reason for excelling, and “my parents want me to excel” isn’t usually a strong enough reason.
When does your child need tuition?
When your child takes the initiative to ask for help, and there isn’t anyone available to give timely help, it’s time to look for tuition, especially if you can afford it. “Forcing” tuition to your child may help in the short run, but it is not a long term solution.