Most people will be familiar with the idea of private tuition. The typical model involves a tutor coming to your home and working one-on-one with your child. The advantage being that the tutor can tailor their lessons to suit your child’s individual needs, something a teacher responsible for educating an entire classroom of students cannot afford to do.

At SchoolViews, we have extensive knowledge of and experience with private tuition and want to highlight why you might consider such an option for your son or daughter.

1. “When in Rome”

Like it or not, private tutoring is the norm in Singapore. Like many Asian countries, Singapore’s culture places a high value on academic achievement. Most parents strive to provide their children with the tools and resources needed to help them achieve their full potential – and this often includes hiring a private tutor.

Not surprisingly, private tuition is big business in Singapore. A Straits Times article from 2009 reported that the overwhelming majority – 97% – of the student population, in Singapore, receive private tuition of some sort. A 2015 article reporting the results of a survey of 500 parents living in Singapore stated that 70% enrolled their children in extra classes.

The culture of prioritising academic achievement paired with the increasing competitiveness of education means that parents are turning to private tuition to help build their children’s academic confidence and turbo-charging their learning. The reality is that most of your child’s classmates will likely have a private tutor at their disposal.

2. Helping to fill in gaps and build on strengths

Like adults, children have strengths and weaknesses, both personal and academic. Private tuition can be an excellent way to focus on a subject that is challenging for your child so that they don’t fall behind, relative to their peers.

For example, imagine if your child, through illness, missed two weeks of Math classes, on ‘fractions’ and is now struggling to catch up. A classroom teacher just doesn’t have the time to work one-on-one with your child and go over the same ground covered previously with the rest of the class. A private tutor can provide the crash course needed to get back on track.

Alternatively, a private tutor can help your child build upon an existing strength, placing them even further ahead of the pack. Maybe your son or daughter has a talent for creative writing and aspires to be a journalist or novelist. Providing them with a private tutor can help hone and polish their writing skills so they outperform their peers on English A-levels at 18 or 19. A competitive edge like this can increase your child’s chances of being admitted to the university programme of their choice.

3. Optimising exam prep

Most education programmes use an exam-focused assessment strategy and many students struggle with exam performance, even when they know the material being tested. The truth is, it’s not just about intelligence or knowledge; there is a skill to studying and passing exams, and not all children have a natural ability to prepare themselves in the optimal way. Fortunately, a private tutor can help your child develop that skill.

The best tutors are intimately familiar with the exam formats the major education programmes use and can help your child:

  • Prepare for the exam format and the type of questions they are likely to encounter
  • Develop strategies for memorizing details like mathematical formulas and historical dates
  • Manage their time effectively when studying and completing exam papers
  • Learn techniques for reducing exam-related anxiety, which can be a major barrier to performance

Some tutoring agencies have a specialty focus in helping students prepare for specific exams. Some examples include:

  • 11+ exams in the UK for grammar or independent school admission
  • SATS for university admission in the US and Canada
  • Oxbridge entrance
  • Subject-specific A-levels offers a series of articles to help you choose a private tutor that meets your child’s academic needs.

4. The possibility of introducing a new subject early

Sometimes children develop an interest in a subject that their school won’t be covering for another year or two – seeing your child eager to learn is a wonderful thing, and you want to encourage it. Jump-starting your child’s education on a topic before it’s introduced at school can give them a competitive edge.

An example of a subject that your child might be interested in exploring is computer programming. Technology is evolving rapidly, and coding is definitely a growing field. In recent years, a number of great coding schools have launched in Singapore which offer an alternative to 1-on-1 private tutoring on coding. Either way, these days programming is a life-skill and any support you can give your child here won’t go to waste.

We recommend you review SchoolViews’ article Three of the Best Coding Schools for Kids in Singapore for more information.

5. Boosting your child’s performance in Mandarin

Expat children living in Singapore have a fantastic opportunity to learn Mandarin and many curriculums include up to five hours of instruction per week.

Mandarin can be a challenging language to learn for English native speakers. On the plus side, sentence structure is similar to English and grammar is actually simpler, because there are no unique forms for singular, plural, masculine, or feminine. Pronunciation tends to be easier for people whose first language is English than for people whose mother tongue is Latin-based.

So what’s the problem? Well, the concept of characters throws a lot of English speakers. They are used to a 26-letter alphabet, and a brand new and very large set of characters can be quite daunting.

A private tutor can help your child build on the instruction they’re receiving at school, assist with homework, and allow them to capitalise on the unique opportunity to learn Mandarin while living in Singapore. Be sure to consult for a list of local tutors specialising in Mandarin.

Wrapping up

Private tuition offers some clear benefits, and these are just some of the reasons you should consider hiring a private tutor to supplement your child’s education. There are a number of options available to your family, so be sure to Like our Facebook page and stay updated on our next article, Top Five Private Tutors in Singapore, coming soon, to help you make an informed choice.

By – Sandra Parsons