Tuition is Bad When...
There is no improvement in conceptual understanding
The point of education, including tuition, is in increasing the quality of thinking of our students. Should there not be any improvement in the conceptual understanding of a subject, the quality of thinking cannot improve because the students’ thoughts will not be firmly grounded in logic. After all, are we not trying to produce better engineers, better doctors, and better people to serve society in many better ways? While imparting heuristics and answering techniques are important, it must be done after making sure that the student knows the concepts underlying the problem. It makes it so much more exciting for a student to know what is going on in class, rather than worrying about what methods he can apply to whatever devious questions the teacher will spring up. Knowing the fundamentals will help a student think “what concepts can I use here?” or “why would this principle result in this rather than that?” instead of poor quality thinking such as “just let me know the model answer!”
There is no increased interest in the subject
To stretch the mileage of your tuition, the student should have his interest in the subject piqued. This makes the student more excited about his regular school classes, such that he stands to absorb more outside of tuition time. Increased interest of a student can stem from the tutor rubbing his/her excitement and interest in the subject off on a student. The delivery of interesting facts related to the subject is a proven way to inspire excitement about the subject. Similarly, interest in the subject can be continuously piqued when the student scores better in the subject or becomes more confident in handling problems and tests.
There is no improvement in values
To produce better students also means to impart important, timeless values in them. Subject and academic knowledge may not be needed by the student 10-20 years down the road, but they will always need values to guide their lives. As teachers, it is paramount that good behaviours and thinking are praised and rewarded immediately. The timing of reinforcements is extremely crucial, because our reinforcements are more effective if they are provided immediately following the good/bad action. Immediate reinforcements develop the appropriate neuro-associations in the student associated with the good/bad action, so that good actions are linked to pleasure and bad actions are linked to pain. By pain, we do not mean physical punishment, but rather quick reproachments or the losing of certain benefits (e.g. phone confiscated for the rest of the lesson). Through the tuition, qualities such as hardwork, discipline, curiosity and respect must be reinforced and praised. Negative qualities such as laziness, disrespect, tardiness and shoddiness must be critiqued and discouraged. As much as our tutors can try to reinforce the right values in students, parents must play their part in supporting the tutors’ roles.
Tuition should be great, rewarding learning experiences
Tuition sessions can be exciting opportunities for tutors to impart knowledge, skills and values. When the goals of the tuition are set out clearly between the tutor and student, everyone can be more focused on the learning together. With the right mindset and ingredients in place, it is thus easy for tuitions to be great, rewarding learning experiences.
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