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Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby Unfinished_Math » Tue May 21, 2013 1:47 pm

The advantages of face to face tuition are well known but with the increasing cost of tuition (around $50 an hour) and question marks over the 'standards' of tutors in the market (many seems only interested in making a quick buck), what other options we do have?

I considered several parameters - effectiveness, convenience and cost.

1. Assessment books. Solutions for questions may be provided, but I feel many a time, children are not motivated to attempt the questions. I am sure most of you have piles of assessment books lying around your house, with only a few pages attempted. In other words, there are no / little 'teaching elements' in asking the child to attempt assessment books and it is not an effective / productive way for the child to learn (either from their mistakes, etc)

2. Recorded lessons. (With a 'real' teacher teaching - not animation, java, etc) There are abundance of such lessons on Youtube and various websites. It combines tradition with modernity, suitable for students these days, who are familiar and comfortable with technology. Many prestigious universities around the world are also sharing their recorded lesson, the aim I believe is to share the best teachers or lesson so as to motivate and inspire more students to achieve better results.

Here are some of the examples I found online (free)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-cGr18e ... nfP_qQbuqd
- http://www.xueersi.com/
- http://www.youtube.com/user/EducatorVids?v=9pW3Ds4d5Vo.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby senseimichael » Wed May 22, 2013 12:15 pm

I would say that the interactive component is missing. There is no avenue for the child to ask questions. Recorded lectures are useful when the child is already high-functioning (i.e. already among the top students).

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby Unfinished_Math » Wed May 22, 2013 1:04 pm

Haha, I kind of expected this reply. (Lack of interaction)

I have seen clips of experienced teachers, when they are teaching, they teach with 'audiences in mind'. (Students in this case). They capture the attention of these students using their passion of wanting to impart their knowledge. These teachers also ask questions that will instigate the child to think out of the box and most importantly, have pauses for the child to answer. - I have seen school teachers / tuition teachers simply 'teach' by reading off the slides or textbook. Some are too strict during lessons? Will there be interaction? I am not sure.

One must remember. For the teacher to have their lessons recorded, it takes a certain amount of courage. Unlike classroom teachings / one to one tuition, there is no one to correct the teacher should he/she makes a mistake. There is also no measure to gauge if the teacher explains the concept / method in a manner the children can understand.

I admire those teachers / tutor who dare to have their lessons recorded and share their great teachings to all the students out there, and I am sure not many would have the courage to do that, simply because of fear.
台上一分钟, 台下十年工。

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby senseimichael » Wed May 22, 2013 1:42 pm

Unfinished_Math wrote:I have seen clips of experienced teachers, when they are teaching, they teach with 'audiences in mind'. (Students in this case).


No doubt they do so, just as when I teach in the classroom, I teach with my students in mind (the girl who always asks interesting questions, the boy who really likes Pokemon, the girl whom I must call out or she will never raise her hand, etc).

The point I mentioned in my previous post was that the "blind" lecture method, without knowing your audience, is useful for high functioning students, who are generally already at the middle to top. These are the students who shall benefit a lot from those pre-recorded lectures.

I have seen some of these marketed as DVD packages, and have even bought some back to Shanghai for my children, when I used to work there. I have no doubt these are very outstanding lecturers, with strong pedagogical and content knowledge, and are very passionate and experienced in what they are delivering.

The lack of TRUE interactive components however (not like those you see in Dora the Explorer) makes me doubt its effectiveness if used by the middle to lower ability students. Of course, there is no empirical studies made of this that I am aware of, so what I offer is only my personal opinion as an educator for 16 years, 3 of them in MOE primary school, 6 of them in an international school.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby Unfinished_Math » Wed May 22, 2013 6:11 pm

I would think from another aspect. Recorded lessons MAY be more useful for lower ability to middle ability students.
They would not be distracted by 'pokemons' topics raised in class. (Friends - especially those that distracts the child from learning in a class) I feel if the child view the lessons in an environment with minimal distractions, it will allow the child to focus and learn more effectively. More importantly, in a class with children with different abilities, with recorded lessons, weaker students can 'replay' the part of the lesson they could not understand and view the teachings again.

On the other hand, I feel higher ability students will be better off in a classroom environment style learning as they are more outspoken and would not will left out in the class. Moreover, recorded lessons may be too boring for them.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby ngl2010 » Wed May 22, 2013 6:56 pm

Unfinished_Math wrote:The advantages of face to face tuition are well known but with the increasing cost of tuition (around $50 an hour) and question marks over the 'standards' of tutors in the market (many seems only interested in making a quick buck), what other options we do have?

I considered several parameters - effectiveness, convenience and cost.

1. Assessment books. Solutions for questions may be provided, but I feel many a time, children are not motivated to attempt the questions. I am sure most of you have piles of assessment books lying around your house, with only a few pages attempted. In other words, there are no / little 'teaching elements' in asking the child to attempt assessment books and it is not an effective / productive way for the child to learn (either from their mistakes, etc)

2. Recorded lessons. (With a 'real' teacher teaching - not animation, java, etc) There are abundance of such lessons on Youtube and various websites. It combines tradition with modernity, suitable for students these days, who are familiar and comfortable with technology. Many prestigious universities around the world are also sharing their recorded lesson, the aim I believe is to share the best teachers or lesson so as to motivate and inspire more students to achieve better results.

Here are some of the examples I found online (free)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-cGr18e ... nfP_qQbuqd
- http://www.xueersi.com/
- http://www.youtube.com/user/EducatorVids?v=9pW3Ds4d5Vo.

It will not work for Primary School children. You can create a poll and see what parents choose/think.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby KimMills » Wed May 22, 2013 7:07 pm

Of course in face to face tuition you get the opportunity to interact with the tutor and the child performs better but with the chnaging times and dearth of able teachers the online tuitions are getting popular day by day. But if one talks about little toddlers and preschoolers then the daycare centers are the best. There's no option for an online class.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby senseimichael » Wed May 22, 2013 8:18 pm

Unfinished_Math wrote:They would not be distracted by 'pokemons' topics raised in class. (Friends - especially those that distracts the child from learning in a class)


My experiences have been that topics linked to a child's interest improve their retention of what was taught. It is interesting to note that in your classroom (you are a teacher too?) it creates a distraction instead. I guess our student population must have been very, very different.

I feel if the child view the lessons in an environment with minimal distractions, it will allow the child to focus and learn more effectively. More importantly, in a class with children with different abilities, with recorded lessons, weaker students can 'replay' the part of the lesson they could not understand and view the teachings again.


I agree that minimal distraction is good, but a pure "lecture" online means that the weaker child is likely to "zone out" and be distracted by the things around him. Again, it is the children who already have the ability to concentrate and the motivation to do so, that benefit. And these are already high-performing children.

On the other hand, I feel higher ability students will be better off in a classroom environment style learning as they are more outspoken and would not will left out in the class. Moreover, recorded lessons may be too boring for them.


*All* children benefit from such a learning style, not just higher ability students. Higher ability students already have multiple learning styles and can adapt to them. Their ability to focus and distill information is also much stronger, and so the recorded lessons, although less beneficial than a classroom environment, are still of great benefit to them.

As I have argued before, from my experience, it is really not easy to get those middle to lower ability students to focus on lectures. They learn much better from documentaries and "Magic-Schoolbus" types of cartoons than a lecture.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby Unfinished_Math » Thu May 23, 2013 10:07 am

Some of us may find online recorded lessons as a resource that is probably far-fetched and not a 'method' a child can benefit from.

A reason for starting this conversation is because of an interesting portion in the Singapore Budget announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman sometime earlier this year.

It can be found in the following website: (Part D32)
http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budge ... tement.pdf

Image


I am guessing, in the near future, online recorded lessons will become 'the way' our kids learn in schools. The future of education I guess.

Maybe only when MOE implements this system into schools, will people accept this form of learning. Only then, it will become a 'norm' for our children to learn and study.

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Re: Face to face tuition vs online tuition

Postby slmkhoo » Thu May 23, 2013 10:59 am

Age of the student is also a factor. I think recorded, non-interactive lessons are not likely to work well for most younger kids, probably up to lower sec. Even for older, more disciplined kids, there needs to be some kind of monitoring and assessment to check if they have actually paid attention! Only the most highly-motivated can learn well through non-interactive means without some degree of monitoring.

My kids have been doing 'internet school' for the past few years, starting with grade 7 (sec 1). One daughter has done 4 yrs and the other 2 yrs. The lesson webpages are text and graphics, with occasional video but not of a teacher/class, and also links to other sites. Teachers set deadlines for assignments and will alert parents if work is not submitted on time, and short skype calls are scheduled about once a month per subject. My experience is that the less-motivated one (my elder) had to have me breathe down her neck for most of the first 2 yrs before she got better at coping. My younger one is a more highly-motivated student, and so managed without much supervision (also she probably heard all the scoldings the older one got and decided to avoid the scoldings!). So my conclusion is that no matter what resources there are, supervision by teachers and parents is still necessary, probably until the student reaches at least upp sec age, and for many students, beyond.

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