Teachers, tutors play different roles

We send our children to school to get an education.

We wish them to acquire mastery of basic mathematical and linguistic skills, while developing emotional, physical and self-realisation.

Teachers must help in all these, even as they operate under the constraints of a rigid curriculum and key performance indices.

Tutors, on the other hand, have far simpler roles to play ("What makes a 'super tutor' super?" by Mr Kevin Lim Fung Ming; May 26).

They don't need to provide an all-encompassing and edifying experience.

They have a specific task - to help in the mastery of some parts of the curriculum. They fill in gaps of knowledge and reinforce what has already been taught in school.

Doing well in mainstream examinations is not difficult. Most will do well enough with the right amount of diligence on their own and a little extra help from their school teachers.

Those who determinedly abhor the educational system will gain little from school or tutor, super though either may be.

This is where the recognition of other forms of intelligence may come into play.

My best teachers in school never espoused mastering a topic by mugging the 10-year series, and always eschewed spotting questions - a proven tactic of successful tutors.

Doing well in examinations is essential, but learning and imbibing correctly for life is far more important.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)