[ this is a continuation of an earlier section, How to Choose a Good Tuition Centre (Part I) ]
Small group tuition is especially important for GP.
For General Paper, sufficient individual attention and personal feedback is key to improvement. This is due to the nature of the subject. Unlike the sciences or math, there are no standardized answers and each student can provide a different and valid response to the same question.
It is also commonly understood that large class size negatively affects students’ academic performance. Qualitative studies consistently support that in smaller classes it is easier for teachers to spot problems and give feedback. Regular and high quality feedback is pedagogically proven to be one of the best ways for rapid improvement.
This is the reason why GP remedial or support classes conducted in school tend to be much smaller than the average sized class. This is also the reason why MOE is consistently trying to improve the teacher-student ratio.
Yet surprisingly, many students go for GP tuition where classes can be just as large than their classes in school. Mass lectures can still work but at the end, your essay or AQ is still very personal. If you need feedback on how to improve, close guidance is still necessary.
In addition to teacher quality, seek out a GP tuition centre that guarantees small and manageable class sizes where the teacher has time for personal guidance and gives consistent feedback.
How Lessons are Conducted i.e What Goes On During Tuition Lessons
The last essential factor to consider is how lessons are conducted and whether time is spent meaningfully.
Students usually approach us for GP tuition due to dissatisfaction in how GP is taught by their teachers. Complaints would include the random discussion of articles, endless video screenings or poorly guided class presentations.
Hence, it is silly if you go to a tuition centre that duplicates the same processes that drove you to seek tuition. A 2 hour tuition session can pass by very quickly but yet with little learning if it consists of much ‘individual presentations’, ‘peer-marking’ or video discussion and with poor follow-up.
Time can also be consumed without much tutoring if the majority of the lesson is spent doing an assignment and the learning or guidance only comes in the last 10 minutes.
GP tuition should be concerned with the teaching of skills and content. These are the foundations. Without skills, you can’t write your essay coherently. Without content, you have nothing to write about.
Yet knowing what is needed is one thing. Being able to apply it is another.
Hence, tuition should also be about helping develop masterful application of these skills. There is no short cut as this is not possible without sufficient practice.
Furthermore, students cannot get the most out of these practices or assignments if the GP tutor utilises a one-size-fits-all approach for responses that are inevitably very personal.
You have to check how does the GP tutor track and help the student. Is there sufficient time for feedback and guidance? How often does the GP tutor mark your work? Essentially, does the tutor provide that additional support that schools cannot do due to the large class size?
Even then, the quality of the guidance matters; being dependent on the tutor’s qualifications and experience.
In the end, it all comes together. A productive, meaningful GP tuition lesson needs to be paired with a quality tutor who in turn should operate in a small sized class environment to provide effective tutoring.