My nephew has three children, a Sec 1 girl, boys Prim 2, 5. The wife complains tuition fees come to $2000 per month. I see the wife hurrying daily to bring the children hither and thither - always in a hurry. Another thing I dislike is the very often canning to make sure the children would keep up with their homework, quick to complete any daily task like bathing, changing clothes, putting on shoes, eating - and eating has now being "upgraded" to be a task! (At this very moment of my typing, the mother is caning, shouting ... mei you yong xin zhou ... Ahh .. Ahh from the second son) And the silly counting - 1,2, 3...10! I can't imagine such style of bringing up children (fortunately, the three children are good samples).
Tuition is basically drilling and it definitely can help getting high scores in exams - it is a well established fact by the Chinese in the Mainland, the Koreans, Japanese. But there may be a great difference between tuition and education. Education is long-term strategy for "survival" in life, tuition is like immediate gratification. This niece of mine has a good friend who has 2 children at the top % of their schools - she tutors the children herself. Once they come and stayed for lunch. At the table this woman was preparing two plates of rice for her children. One plate is round plate and the other is squarish.
Elder daughter: "Mum, which of the plate is mine?"
Mum: "The circle one"
Me: "It is the round one"
Mum: "Oh yes! It is the round one. It is an error"
It would be bad etiquette if I were to correct her "error" with : "Not an error, just a mistake". As can be seen, this woman has her head filled very much with tuition terms - circle, square, triangle, error, corrections...
One of the greatest - or the greatest - mind in human history is Isaac Newton. He had no teacher. He only started learning higher mathematics at a very advance age of 20. By age 26, he was one of the best mathematician of his time. When he was once asked why he is good in solving problems, his answer:
I think unto them
Mathematics and science is all about mental concepts to be manipulated and understood through the use of the thinking - the key is thinking. I have one learning tips for the sciences to share with the "tuition" world of ours.
TIPS TO SCORE TOP MARKS
1)Start learning a new topic by starting a new chapter of a textbook. The usual style (at my times) would be some explanations and solved problems as examples. Then, there would be the "crucial" exercise with many problems.
2) The student attempts some of the problems - meets with difficulties - but finally solving the "difficult" question. He goes to the next problem, the next, ... and is happy. WRONG!
WHEN YOU ATTEMPT A PROBLEM AND CANNOT GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME EASILY - IT IS A VERY, VERY RED FLAG. YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE TOPIC IS VERY MUCH LACKING.
No A-level topics in science should be considered difficult - it is not like James Clerk Maxwell creating his electromagnetism - an original piece of discovery. Most students, when finally able to solve a very difficult problem will just end it by going to the next problem. WRONG!
The SECRET to score top marks is to STOP and THINK.
When finally solving a difficult problem, the student should enquire why at the first attempt, he failed to get it right. (in the examination hall, you are not give unlimited time, but you have the MOE constitutional right to unlimited use of all knowledge and smartness you have gained through your own effort). The reason of facing difficulty comes from only two sources:
1) understanding the language and expression. We assume you are not set a question by a dumb examiner who cannot express things clearly- without ambiguities.
2) lack of understanding. Failure to actually have a good overview of the new topic. It is very important for the student to know the gaps he has in his understanding and to make sure he patches all those gaps in his understanding of the new topic. It is only in this manner that a student can perform well in exams - but don't guarantee a future Nobel Prize.
I will give a simple example in physics. The whole of Newtonian mechanics is based only on Newton's three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. From these, we could predict the paths of planets and the complex behavior of gyroscopes. Authors could then expand these into a 500 page book on classical mechanics. In the case of A-level mechanics, I think all problems revolve around the conservation of energy and momentum - just two concepts!
tution is good and bad i guess... helps if the child/us are really into it
Once, my father said to me: "Well, sweety, the tutors are the ones who will go travel this summer, not us". And it was really embarrassing. Now, I finished my college, I'm working at greatest educational platform in US and I can finaly help my parents to travel at least ocne a year for a couple a weeks. Although, I can help millions of school students to get better education and save some money for themselves! So, yes, tuitoring is good things for some reasons, but on the other hand it can be damaging.