Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Importance of Parent-Tutor Communication

talk!

Ever got into a situation that you found out a tutor has been working on foundation mathematics in a tutorial instead of high-level questions/sums that you have been expecting your child to practise on without knowing that the tutor is trying to work from the bottom first? Here’s where a well-maintained and well-communicated relationship between you(a parent) and your tutor will play a crucial role.

For communication to truly work well between the parent and tutor, it is imperative that conversations are regularly carried out. Face-to-face conversations are the most effective and allows the tutor to convey important information like student’s progress, weaknesses, personality flaws, lesson plan to parents and vice versa. Alternatively, if schedule does not permit, conversations via a phone call (not sms!) should be carried out as frequently as possible. On the other hand, sufficient room has to be given for the tutor to explore various teaching methods suitable for your child. So why is it so important other than simply conveying important information of the student between parent and tutor?

The reason is simple. A tutor commonly conducts tutorials once or twice a week and most of the time spent on the student is on teaching, guiding and clarifying the student’s doubts. For truly effective learning, sufficient preparation work has to be done before/after tutorials. Hence, the role of the parent in taking part in the child’s learning is all the more important as the child has to continue on the preparatory work at home and consistently.

To assist the parent and tutor into putting in place an effective communication channel that helps in preparatory work, various monitoring tools can be implemented like the ConsultAtutor One-to-One Tutoring Monitoring System.

Now that we have shared with you how important parent-tutor communication is. Don’t wait! Start getting more involved in your child’s everyday learning by discussing with your tutor today!

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Know your child’s predominant learning type: V,A,R or K?

Ever wondered why when you are back in Primary school some teachers want the class to read a passage aloud, take part in numerous role plays, learn new words using big pictorial cards and why when you are in Secondary school some teachers seem to “teach less” and allow you and your classmates to take more charge in the learning process by organising more group discussions etc.?

If you haven’t realise it, educators-teachers and tutors love to explore various teaching styles to suit the student’s learning style such that the delivery method and style bring about the most effect in a student’s learning. At various stages of a child’s education, pedagogies like assessment styles and delivery methods differ greatly. Hence, it is important for you to understand your child or student’s (if you are a tutor) predominant learning type in order for learning to be most effective in terms of skills vis a vis academic results.

In general according to Fleming’s VAK/VARK model, there are 4 types of learning styles:
1. Visual learners
2. Auditory learners
3. Reading/ writing -preference learners
4. Kinesthetic learners

In summary,

1. Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing and learn better via visual aids like diagrams, mindmaps, slides, animation etc.

 2. Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening and learn better via lectures, group discussions, audio-cds, podcasts etc.

3. Reading/ writing preference learners prefer to learn by reading or writing and learn better via  jotting down notes, preparing summary sheets, reading prepared handouts etc.

4. Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by experience and learn better via hands-on projects, science experiments, labwork etc.

Teachers who conduct classes for a number of students can identify and implement various methods of instruction to suit the class in general or a ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutor can customise tutorials (delivery methods and teaching aids) specially for your child/student’s learning type after a period of observation.

Know more about your student/child’s predominant learning type today! I’m a V type. How about you? Share with us by taking part in the poll below or if you are unsure, try finding it out by doing this questionnaire before polling.

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How much does private tuition help? – The economist’s view

lineargraphOr  concavegraph  ??

 In Singapore, everyone knows how much emphasis is placed on education and the importance of having a quality education. This results in stiff competition for all major examinations as students work their socks off to vie for places in either top schools or the school of their choice.

Private tuition has already become a social norm in Singapore, but just how much does private tuition help? Well, we would say that it depends on many factors that are unique to each child. In general, some of the factors could be:

1. Character and learning style (visual/ auditory/ kinesthetic)- more on this in the next part of our EduSnips series

2. Level of knowledge in the subject

3. Learning pace

4. Setting (E.g. One-to-One tuition or in class) 

5. Delivery medium or delivery method preferred

Some other factors in rather more “tangible” terms would require backing by research and studies. In fact, a recent Straits Times article by a NUS economist has even looked into how private tuition expenditure is correlated to performance in examinations. Based on  2 separate studies of students in Hong Kong schools and South Korean high school students in national university admissions test, the findings are as summarised:

1. Higher proportion of students in higher forms received private tuition

2. Higher proportion of students with higher-educated parents received tuition

3. On average, 10% increase in expenditure on private tuition improved test performance by 0.56 percentile

4. Based on 2008 PSLE students admitted to secondary schools data, spending on private tuition to increase test score by 0.56 percentile would make a difference between being on borderline and being at top of cohort of admitted students to a particular top school.

(Png, 2010)

This interesting article  reveals studies done by various academics backed with measurable metrics gives a different viewpoint on “exactly” how much does private tuition help. You can read the entire article here and some of the community’s comments here.

Excerpt from:

Ivan Png. (July 1, 2010). StraitsTimes. In Ask: NUS Economists. Retrieved July 13, 2010, from http://bit.ly/cvh6If

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Perapera…kun?

peraperapic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever struggled to flip through that really thick and clumsy Chinese-English dictionary in search for a translation of a word or phrase? I’m sure many of you if you are not using the handheld electronic dictionary, would have experienced the inconvenience of trying to count the number of strokes in a Chinese character and flipping through the pages of the dictionary but to realise that you ended up in the wrong page as you counted wrongly.

With the recent debate on adjustment of Mother Tongue weightage in PSLE, the highlight has been put on the teaching methods, learning tools and curriculum for the Mother Tongue language.  In particular, those students that may find the Chinese language to be especially difficult to learn due to their predominantly English-speaking background certainly feel that a change or improvement is required.

In light of this, as part of our EduSnips series, we shall introduce to you the Perapera-kun translator! So what is the Perapera-kun Translator and what does it do to help students and educators?

 The Perapera-kun translator is a add-on for Mozilla Firefox internet browser, another immensely popular browser other than the Internet Explorer. This add-on is amazingly useful for students who are weak in the Chinese language and would want to improve by seeking for fast and immediate(almost) translation without the hassles of flipping dictionaries or inputting into handheld dictionaries. The Perapera-kun Translator immediately pops-up a box with an English translation as your mouse hover over the Chinese word or phrase. Hence, this tool greatly reduces the time lag and cumbersomeness in trying to translate and comprehend physically via a dictionary or an electronic one. Imagine reading an interesting article with lots of difficult Chinese words that you would want to learn in a breeze! 

Students and educators can definitely use the Perapera-kun Translator to great effect when reading or sourcing for interesting Chinese articles like from our local omy.sg or even tapping into the huge range of Chinese internet resources via baidu.com. And for our ConsultAtutor Chinese Language personal home tutors, you might want to leverage on this tool as a stepping stone to how you can make your Chinese tutorials more fun and enriching to the students in ConsultAtutor’s One-to-One Tutoring Program using the vast resources available on Chinese websites! Be creative and explore to refine and broaden your teaching method and styles!

How to install and use Perapera-kun:

1. Download Mozilla Firefox (if you haven’t)

2. Download the Perapera-kun Translator (version 2.1 ) add-on

3. Download the Chinese-English Perapera-kun dictionary (scroll down the page and look for it)

4. Go to any Chinese websites like Sougou,  ZaoBao or Omy

5. Enable the translator by clicking on the star at the bottom right hand corner and hover across any Chinese word or phrase you would like to translate

6. Enjoy surfing using the Perapera-kun Translator!

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