Category Archives: Edu-snips

The Art of Learning: Note Taking Skills

notetakingGood learning skills can be cultivated from young. By knowing how to approach each new lesson or topic appropriately and by understanding thoroughly how you (one) yourself learn best, “learning how to learn” becomes a habit if practiced over time and could produce good results depending whether the correct field to learn is chosen in the first place of course.

In this series, we shall share with readers “The ‘WHYs’ and ‘HOWs’ of Note Taking”.

Importance of Taking Notes

  1. Organised notes will help identify core of important ideas in lessons.
  2. Documentation creates a permanent record to learn & remember later.
  3. Lessons may contain information not available anywhere else and its the only chance to learn it especially when tutors are sharing it from their personal experience.
  4. Lesson is where we learn what the tutor thinks is important and will facilitate learning more efficiently.
  5. Underlying organisation and purpose of the lesson will be clearer.

Note Taking Strategies

  • Before
  1. Make preparation to predict the organisation of the lesson (if possible)
  2. Check the lesson plan to check if the tutor will be going through the topic so as to convert information you have read into questions to ask.
  3. Complete outside reading or supplementary materials readup.
  4. Review any reading notes given prior to lessons or materials given and tasked to readup in prior lesson.
  5. Sit as near to the tutor in front as possible to eliminate distractions.
  6. Copy everything on whiteboard/transparencies especially the outline. (If its too much, ask tutor whether a copy could be passed around or emailed).
  7. Listen well with proper attitude.
  • During
  1. Write down the title/name and date of the lesson.
  2. Watch and listen to the tutor carefully.
  3. Listen carefully to the introduction whenever there is a new topic.
  4. Be brief in note taking. *Important: Understand what tutor says but not exact what tutor says. Understanding is the crux!
  5. Recognise main ideas by signal words e.g. importantly, especially, take note etc.
  6. Give special attention to details not covered in textbooks as they might help in your understanding.
  7. Copy down main points in summary to check whether you missed out or disorganised your notes.
  8. Ask questions about points you do not understand. *Remember: There are no stupid questions, only stupid people who remain stupid since they do not clear their doubts.
  9. Be attentive, listen, take notes until dismissal to prevent missing out any important points.
  • After
  1. Revise notes as quickly and as frequently as possible. Especially within the 1st 24 hours. Why? Check out the graph below.

    Forgetting Curve

    Forgetting Curve

  2. During 1st revision, compile and document reading notes and lesson notes.
  3. Review at least once a week and before next lesson. It takes hard work alright.

Now that you know better about good habits and good learning skills like note taking, be sure to stick to it and pick it up if you haven’t. If you are a personal home tutor at ConsultAtutor.com, try to inculcate it in your teaching method so as to cultivate good learning skills in your students!

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April Fools’ Joke in Math Class?

Think that April Fools’ Day is only for the cheeky and foolish ones? Wait a second, April Fools’ Day in school is a good day to exemplify to students how creativity simply do not have any boundaries, a little humour in class simply make lessons much more fun and interesting too!

No matter whether you are a tutor, parent, teacher or a mentor to someone, you can make a difference by being a cool educator. Enjoy!

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Edu-snips Series: Nurturing Bilingualism

What??

In recent years, the Singapore education scene have seen numerous debates on the emphasis on Mother Tongue languages in the education system vis a vis the practical use of our mother tongue languages in everyday use including the underlying societal and cultural meaning of practising them.

Generally, mastery of a language can be classified into 3 major categories- reading, writing and conversing. It is perhaps important to note that dialects do not apply as they are generally focus more on the conversation part of a language. It is understood that of the 3 categories, new learners are likely to exhibit difficulty in either one or two or the areas and strength in a minimum of one area. This is due to the learning style preferred which is unique to everyone.

By identifying your tutee’s or child’s learning style in languages would certainly be a good first step in trying to lay strong foundation in future learning and practicing of the language. However, it is important to understand that different teaching pedagogy would usually overlap one another in trying to achieve a same result i.e. a certain method or exercise that is used to stimulate say, the reading skills or the ability to recognise words would probably achieve the same objective as listening to the word and spelling it out on paper, although the latter is focused more on writing.

Now we understand how complex learning a language can be, let’s put down some structure with some suggested tips to nurturing bilingualism in your very own household!

Tips

1. Practice makes perfect, arrange for your child to speak both languages regularly. Create a conducive bilingual environment by making your child speak to Dad in English and Mum in Mother Tongue or vice versa. You surely wouldn’t want your child to speak solely English both in school and at home right?

2. If you think that English can be emphasised greater, given that all Maths, Arts and Sciences subjects are all set in English, head down to the library weekly as a family outing for some books picking! Choose more English books and get better by improving comprehension skills.

3. Want some balance to Mother Tongue, a good step to improve Mother Tongue language is first to understand and appreciate the language as a cultural ballast, especially in multi-racial and cosmopolitan Singapore! Immerse your child in the appreciation of the arts related to the Mother Tongue language by going for activities like Chinese Caligraphy or Indian heritage tours in musuems to drum up interest.

4. To set a good example for language proficiency, be a good role model as a parent or as an educator by speaking accurate and fluent English or Mother Tongue. Of course, an occasional “lah” or “loh” serves no harm since its how Singaporeans identify themselves with as long as its kept out of the composition papers.

5. In an unfortunate scenario that bilingualism is seemingly too difficult to master? Well, don’t stress up the children or students too much by enforcing a one-for-all approach, adopt a customised-for-one approach instead and perhaps allow emphasis to be on the conversational ability of the child first before moving on reading and writing when there are improvements. Passion makes all the difference, most of the time.

Last of all, start early as its usually the formative years that matters the most.

Now that we have 5 tips about nurturing bilingualism, do you have any to share?

Feel free to share by submitting your comment!

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Using Apple’s iPad as a Teaching Aid

Ipad teaching

iPad as an Education Tool at Wake Forest University, US by Ken Bennett

Apple’s iPods, iPod Touch and iPhones have revolutionalise the way we lead our lives side by side with smart electronic gadgets. The design and ingenuity of a platform created by AppStores have created a new phenomenon of Apps or applications that basically bundles up mutiple uses of every single app into a one stop shopping gateway for features, utilities, games you name it. In the advent of the iPad, life with such smart gadgets has just gone up another level.

With the introduction of Apple’s iPad, new ways to teach and educate our young has emerged-in a wave. Schools in various parts of the world have started pilot projects on using iPad as a teaching aid, leveraging on its large screen, intuitive interface, portable slim design and of course, the multitude of application softwares that are accessible with a touch on the screen. No more CDs, no more bulky desktops, no more oversized monitors that obstructs teacher-student’s view and best of all, convenience.

If you are an educator like a ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutor at ConsultAtutor.com, think of whether you can customise your lessons further according to the students’ needs and make lessons more interactive, fun and enriching using teaching aids like the iPad and its various wonderful apps that are increasing by the day. The pedagogic potential of iPad with its apps is immense and this is probably the beginning to how enhanced learning will become in the future.

Well, just an interesting point to note- the iPad’s isn’t the first and it definitely won’t be the last innovative education solution. The “Pad” term coined by Apple isn’t new either, our very own Singapore schools have in fact, once pilot tested iPad’s so-called “predecessor” albeit to a lesser extent- the EduPAD.

The EduPAD

Find out more about the iPad and its educational Apps or EduApps that you could employ/ customise here or here and start making a difference to your students’ learning experience!

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Preparation for PSLE starts now!

PSLE Boy

Success can be sweet.....if you are well prepared

It’s the beginning of the school year and an exciting learning journey lies ahead!

For 2011 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) students, it is a pivotal year that will determine which secondary schools to spend the next 4 years and a whole lot difference in learning experience depending on choice after the examinations.

With less than 11 months counting down to the PSLE, it is of paramount importance that preparation is made now if not preferably earlier during P4 and P5. Nevertheless, it’s still not to late to make up for lost time and prepare for that run down to the finishing line.

Here are some tips for you as a parent or a ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutor alike to make preparations for the PSLE:

  1. First of all, assess the weaknesses in terms of subject or individual topics of the student. Attempt to understand or analyse the reasons that contributes to the weakness including inappropriate learning styles, poor exam time management or lack of basic foundation knowledge.
  2. With that (point 1) in mind, set a realistic target in terms of grade or raw score including interim ones i.e. SA1 for all subjects. Write it out large and clear on paper or print it out in colour on an A4 sheet of paper. Paste it using Blu-Tack or glue in front of study table so that every time the student studies, he will be able to see the goals right in front of him.
  3. Next, analyse in detail previous two major exam papers to identify any trends in the marks scored per section and answering techniques used. E.g. high score in MCQ but low score in Open-Ended. Combine analysis with reasons identified earlier in point 1 and try to come to a conclusion on how to improve.
  4. Come up with a relatively detailed lesson plan that maps out every lesson to be covered according to the conclusion made and source for proper lesson materials. Exploration of teaching styles in the first few lessons could be made too to see which works best for the student based on judgements made in point 1.
  5. Make sure that enough practice is completed and corrections in particular are to be clarified and gone through. In fact , to a certain extent the total amount of time spent to prepare for a subject is proportional to the final attained raw score (grade) of that subject. Remember, practice, practice and practice is important!
  6. If required, it is advisable to help the student set a timetable to manage time well in order to ensure sufficient preparation before the PSLE. Stick to it and be diligent!

Last but not least, ask a ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutor for Homework Help in order to clear any doubts fast, encourage the student to think deep in order to fully understand the topic and keep learning from mistakes made in practices!

As the saying goes, “good preparation is equivalent to half the battle won”. Be prepared and any student could fulfil their potential and do well in PSLE!

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Edu-Snips Series: Type of Tutors available at ConsultAtutor.com

choosing teachers

To choose a suitable personal tutor for your child, it is best to understand what are the different classifications of tutors available before selecting one that is most suited for your child’s learning needs.

In general, there are 4 types of tutors with varying qualifications and experience- 1. Undergraduate tutors , 2. Part-time graduate tutors , 3. Full-time professional tutors and 4. Current school teachers

In detail, here are some of the descriptions and information you would require to make an informed decision. 

1. Undergraduate tutors: Tutors in this category are mostly tertiary students in polytechnic and universities. As they are still pursuing their education, they are able to understand the present demands of the competitive education environment very well and are usually able to form a close rapport with the student. They are clear about the latest syllabus and model their teaching style well according to the latest trends e.g. incorporating e-Learning as teaching aids during lessons.  Undergraduate tutors mostly have minimum above average qualifications to scholars on the top end. In general, they teach on average 1 to 5 students a year and have teaching experience ranging from 1 to 5 years accumulated from peer tutoring experience in schools, private 1 to 1 tutoring or from teaching in tuition centres.

2. Part-time graduate tutors: Tutors in this category are mostly qualified graduates/ professionals who teach part-time tutoring 1 to 1 or in tuition centres. They are generally more experienced than undergraduate tutors in terms of number of years taught and are clear about the latest syllabus granted that they have been consistently teaching after graduation. Also, as they are more mature, they are able to effectively act as a mentor to some students and even share their real-life working experiences if relevant to subject taught. Excellent ones usually have stellar track records with previous students. Part-time graduate tutors have minimum qualifications of a diploma, degree, Masters degree or Doctorate.  In general, they teach on average 1 to 3 students a year and have teaching experience ranging from 1 to 5 years accumulated mainly from private 1 to 1 tutoring or from teaching in tuition centres.

3. Full-time professional tutors: Full-time professional tutors mainly consists of ex-school teachers and full-time graduate tutors. They teach private tuition as a profession and are highly experienced. They communicate with students very well and are able to identify learning styles or weaknesses in different types of students easily. As they focus only on teaching unlike school teachers who have to handle administrative tasks, full time professional tutors are highly focused in providing the best customised curriculum to each student as they spend all their tutorial time teaching. They know the latest syllabus like the back of their hand as they teach day in day out usually to quite a number of students of the same level and subject. Qualifications-wise, they range from Diploma holders mainly teaching Primary students to Graduates, NIE trained Graduates and Doctorates who teach Primary, Secondary, Junior College and Tertiary students. In general, they teach on average 8 to 15 students a year (1 to 1 not incl. small group tuition or class tuition in tuition centres) and have teaching experience ranging from 3 to 30 years accumulated mainly from school teaching (ex-school teachers), private 1 to 1 tutoring or from teaching in tuition centres.

4. Current school teachers: Current school teachers are teachers teaching in schools but give tuition enthusiastically to a selected few out of their free time. They are familiar with the trends such as syllabus and examination settings changes. They are trained in National Institute of Education (NIE) and have been certified to possess relevant skills to teach effectively.  In general, they teach on average 1 to 2 students a year due to their busy schedule and have teaching experience ranging from 5 to 30 years accumulated mainly from school teaching and private 1 to 1 tutoring.

Just a point to note: The rates of the tutors are in general increasing in order from 1 to 4.

Now that you are clear on the type of tutors available, we hope you will be able to make an informed decision at ConsultAtutor.com!

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Passion to Teach!

Most, if not all teachers, tutors or educators alike aim to inspire their students and to make a difference in them and their future.

As quoted by wiki, “Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.”

And this noble duty to be able to impart knowledge to our young requires….. PASSION!

A tutor with the student in mind and tries to understand their learning habits or what makes them learn is definitely a good example of how putting yourself in one’s shoes definitely helps. Students hate boring lectures read seemingly from a script or rote learning in your typical primary or secondary school. Good tutors makes a point to inject what is required into an otherwise dead and dry topic to make the subject alive!

Here’s a video of MIT Professor Walter Lewin which very much exemplifies how being a passionate tutor can make a difference in your teaching style and more importantly, in your students’ lives.

As quoted by Professor Walter, a physics professor..    “If you don’t love physics, it means you’ve had a bad teacher!”

Whether you are a school teacher, professional lecturer or a ConsultAtutor Personal Home Tutor, now you’ve got the message, think of how you can inspire your student and you can very much make a difference

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