Primary School Tuition
The attention problem
Primary school tuition for P1/2 students may be tricky, as some of them may have problem sitting still for 1.5hrs. But tutors find 1hr lessons not worthwhile for the costs involved in travelling for the tuition lesson. Experienced full-time tutors and MOE teachers whom we have spoken to advise preparing up to 3 sets of different learning material which they may switch between should the student lose too much interest. Alternatively, they may propose to tuition 2 different subjects if only 1 subject was originally requested by the parent.
How strict need I be?
Parents regularly ask us to find tutors who are strict enough to control their child. We agree that strictness is needed in the enforcement of completion of homework and in terms of giving due respect to the tuition teacher. However, beyond these, it is more important to build a strong bond with the student. Having a strong bond with the student provides a natural incentive for the student to complete their homework and look forward to every new lesson. This is because to the student, it is like meeting a good friend every week.
How do you build a strong bond?
Does the teacher-student relationship naturally comprise a strong bond? This is usually not the case, especially if you consider the situation of Professor Snape and Harry Potter. A strong bond is grounded in the principles of listening, understanding, encouragement and appreciation.
Most students nowadays do not only want to listen to the teacher, but they want to be listened to by the teacher. It is important for the teacher to listen for tuition and subject related queries in their interaction with the student.
Based on what is heard, the teacher should try to form a mental picture of the level understanding that the student has regarding the subject, the world and the studentís life. A trick to increasing your empathy for the student is for us to remind ourselves of how we ourselves were when we were the studentís age. If we were in the studentís shoes (perhaps lost and confused), how would we have wanted to be treated (scolded harshly, brushed aside impatiently, or given a fresh perspective)?
When we do exceptionally well in certain tasks, we want to be encouraged. Similarly, when we have given our best effort to an endeavour yet we failed to achieve what we wanted, we want to be given pat on the back and have someone analyze with us what went wrong.
In the same light, we want people who appreciate our effort and accept us for who we are, even though we might not have been top-scorers or the best pal of our teacher. We would definitely have appreciated someone who bothered to invest the time and effort in helping us find our way.
You may find all these principles very familiar, because they basically refer to the Golden Rule; to treat others as we want to be treated. By applying this mentality to your students, your primary school tuition may become more fruitful and enjoyable.
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