With the myriad of tuition centers out there, what are the few considerations you’ll need to take in order to pick the best tuition center for your child?
Consider these factors:
The reason why you are looking for a tuition programme for your child is either because you want your child to get that extra help, or you want your child to reach his/her potential. Either way, you want your child to be given extra attention. Therefore, try looking for classes with not more than 8 students. The bigger the class, the less attention the teacher can render for your child. That being said, a very experienced teacher with excellent classroom management and high energy will definitely be able to handle a larger class.
And that leads us to the next point.
The experience and qualification of the teachers employed in the center are very important too. The best player may not be the best coach. The same goes for teachers. A scholar may not be the best teacher unless he/she is a scholar in pedagogy (teaching methodology). It is therefore, very important to enrol your child in a center that emphasizes teaching methods and child psychology because such a center will surely produce teachers and a curriculum that really help to develop your child.
However, most centers focus instead, on employing teachers who are MOE-trained and/or scholars. Having experienced teachers who are also trained in child psychology will be the most ideal. ILLAC is one center that focuses on employing not just teachers who are MOE-trained, ILLAC also develops and trains their teachers in child psychology so they are equipped with the knowledge of helping students overcome their weaknesses and develop their strengths.
Tuition is a billion-dollar industry in Singapore. It is inevitable that centers are run by profit-oriented people who are inexperienced in education. When looking for a center, pay attention to the management team. A profit-oriented management team will focus more on profiting than on developing your child to reach his/her potential. i.e. A huge classroom is a result of trying to profit rather than teach optimally.
Singapore’s curriculum for the primary level is actually very unique. The PSLE is entirely developed locally, unlike the O Levels or A levels that are developed overseas and used internationally. Therefore, when choosing a tuition center for your child, ensure that the curriculum is designed by and developed for locals.
For example, some may think that we should send our children to native speakers of the English language to learn proper English. If the objective is to learn proper pronunciation and intonation, yes, that is agreeable. However, if it is to learn proper grammar and sentence structure, a native speaker will not be the best teacher because they grew up speaking the language without such difficulties. They will never understand why our children cannot understand the difference between “I have done my homework” versus “I had done my homework” because the difference is obvious to them.
Another example will be imported centers. A foreign curriculum, even when translated, will not teach Mathematics the same way we do in Singapore. Singapore’s Mathematics emphasizes a lot on model drawing and these techniques are not commonly learned in other countries. Therefore, a foreign curriculum will unlikely cover model drawing as a problem solving method in their curriculum.
To summarise, the best tuition center for your child should have a low teacher-student ratio of less than 1-8. Secondly, the teachers should be experienced not just in teaching, but trained in child psychology to be able to develop your child to reach his/her potential. The management team that manages the center should be trained in pedagogy to be able to make the best decisions for their students. Lastly, the curriculum that the center uses should be developed by locals.
Good luck in finding the best tuition center for your child!