Are you hiring a competent tutor?

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Are you hiring a competent tutor?

Postby mrswongtuition » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:49 am

[Editor's note: Topic selected for Portal publication.]

Just to share my experience so that parents can take note also.

I currently have a few P6 students whom I'm giving private tuition to and this incident is about another tutor whom the parents of one student hired as additional help to the child.

From what the parents and student tell me, this tutor is a young tutor who is doing her diploma currently. She claims that she is very good in Maths and can teach the student 'shortcuts' to answering questions. She goes to their place on weekends to help the child with work that he does not understand.

I was very happy for this student as I know they have limited budget and the parents managed to get more help as I personally feel that the student really need alot of help. I did offer free lessons at my home for him (my place is a few bus stops away from theirs) but the parents refused as they do not want him to travel just for tuition (I can understand because travelling can cause the child to be quite tired).

I really thought that this tutor is a blessing to the student until I marked this student's assignments (worksheets that were given by me), and I got a shock! The questions were all answered using simultaneous equations (not suitable for primary school and definitely a longer way to answer the questions I gave). And when I asked my student if he understood the method she taught him, he said that the tutor told him the questions I gave are for secondary school, not primary school!

The maths syllabus has changed and now they use calculators at P5 and P6 and they also learn more topics in depth (area of circle, algebra). I was shocked that the teacher said that to him as the questions I gave are definitely P6 maths questions which my ex-colleagues (current P6 teachers in top schools) told me that such questions may come out at PSLE.

And due to her comments, this student now thinks that all questions are too difficult for him and he is not able to understand. Those are basic speed and distance questions which I have taught him before. He managed to solve the question correctly the first time with the method I taught him but the tutor told him it's wrong and taught him simultaneous equations (but the final answer is the same). Using simultaneous equation can be accepted but based on this student's level of understanding, he cannot comprehend how simultaneous equations work!

And this tutor also taught him a few other questions on area of hexagons in which she even got the method wrong. The worst part was her teaching him percentage and she simply deducted the percentages although they were percentages of different items!

I was quite upset that the tutor taught the student the wrong methods as it now means that he is very confused. I did feedback to the parents and they were not aware that the other tutor taught him differently and even told him that those were secondary school questions and he should not be doing them.

As a tutor, I will advise all parents to screen your tutors carefully. Check on your child's progress and work done during tuition. Do not leave it 100% to the tutor. If there are questions that the tutor claims cannot be done using techniques which are taught to P6 students, get your child to bring the question to school to ask the school teachers.

Do check carefully and hire a competent tutor for your child. Else, it'll be a waste of money, time and effort for your child to learn the wrong techniques.

mrswongtuition
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Postby kitty2 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:34 pm

mrswongtuition,

Thanks for sharing.Your students are very blessed to have such a dedicated tutor like you.
:celebrate:


I must say,some parents are not well educated so they depend on tutors to teach their kids.My friend's one example,she doesn't know whether the tutor's teaching her kids well or not.She just ask her kids whether the tutor's good.Some tutors are not qualified , they're liar and cheat just to earn money.The poor parents have to pay for nothing!!!!

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Postby pexpress2002 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:06 am

mrsongtution, where are you located, please contact me at patrickpeh@ymail.com

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Postby James Ang » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:30 am

yes, check that competent tutors have good degrees from local Universities so that one day the students can follow the path of their tutors to become University graduates themselves. :D

Even if the tutor is not a degree holder, check the tutor's educational qualifications and certs on their first day of assignment to make sure that you are recruiting a suitable tutor for your child. In some cases, parents ask to check the tutor's I/C to make sure they are getting the right person to teach as claimed.

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Postby JonC » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:12 am

It's not just about having qualifications.

The above case mentioned by Mrs Wong is a tutor doing diploma and of course has an 'O' Level.

Even if a tutor is graduate but did not know the syllabus or use wrong method due to inexperience, it is still useless. I know of someone who is a Master Degree Holder (really one stupid / stuborn donkey), who even tell his/her own kid that their school teacher's method is wrong, he/she himself/herself if wanted to join MOE to be teacher is more qualified than the teacher in school.

There is no such thing as educated or non educated parents, its only hard working or lazy parents. Most Singaporean would have reach Sec 4 or Sec 5. There is also some small number would have "completed" (but fail) PSLE and did not go Sec but at least they should have continue with ITE. The purpose of education is to trained you to have the attitute of continuous learning, especially for your kids, to learn about what they do in school, do own research, asked people if you do not know.

With the kind of "pressure cooker" kind of education system we have, there is now not much point to discussed if tuition is needed or not. Get a good tutors, preferred those who still keep abreast to with the education system (teachers or former teachers) is the safest choice.

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Postby rains » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:40 pm

Actually, the tutor is competent. She's able to help the boy solve the problems, albeit using a different method. Not too long ago, some parents were advocating the use of algebra on one of the threads here if you remember it well, and simultaneous equation is using algebra to solve problems.

What this tutor lacks is knowledge of the syllabus, and it's not her fault that she's ignorant of it. The parent paid her for her qualifications.

rains
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Postby hquek » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:50 pm

Having relied majorly on tuition teachers for maths in primary/sec schools. My idea of a good tutor is someone who can help me make sense of what I should know. O'levels, A's, degree or even PHD is but a piece of waste paper if that person cannot pass on the knowledge.

Feel in this case the tutor is a bit dodgy. Yes, all roads lead to Rome; but if the school teacher is going to mark wrong, I can't see how this helps the child. And the child seems like still has no clue how to solve such a question if left on his own.

I know all this boils down to the fact parents should exercise awareness when they hire a teacher. Unfortunately, for clueless ones like me, i won't have much of a clue what is in syllabus or not (my kid yet to enter Pri school - hopefully by that time, I will be more enlightened).

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Postby JonC » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:54 pm

If you are able to read english and surf the net, you can always go to the MOE website to take a look at the latest syllabus.

Follow by reading up your kids text, get assessment questions text which has some form of working example to start you off and bravo you can start to teach you kids.

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Postby atutor2001 » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:41 am

JonC wrote:If you are able to read english and surf the net, you can always go to the MOE website to take a look at the latest syllabus.

Follow by reading up your kids text, get assessment questions text which has some form of working example to start you off and bravo you can start to teach you kids.


Initially I too thought it was like that. However, only came to realise that it wasn't so easy after teaching my own 3 kids (they are old now).

For science, we need to know the "key words" and the "expectations", based on the why the question is asked.

For math, we need to know all the "normal" question which constitute about 75% of the marks and the shortest way to solve them.

The requirement that "a good tutor must know the syllabus" is not enough. A good tutor is one who knows the type and way questions are asked and prepare the kids for them.

A really good tutor is one who can adjust the method of teaching according to the nature of the child and his/her background. Top tuition centres need to select kids because their way of teaching may be suitable only for kids with certain kind of attributes - using the smart and diligent types.

I can rattle on but will bore you to death. It takes years of experience to handle kids. To sum it up, motivation is the key to success. Easier said than done.

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Postby JonC » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:51 pm

My point about knowing the syllabus and the method is not so much as to teach the kids most of the time yourself, more for pre-exam tuning and sometime when tutor not around.

I am refering to at least we parents must know what the tutor is teaching, else kanna smoked by tutor also do not know, like the case above.

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