Forum: Tuition makes it hard to tell if school teaching is effective

A class of lower primary students at EduFirst Learning Centre. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

The pros and cons of tuition have been commented on for decades - from when my children were in school to now as I become a grandmother (Too much tuition could do more harm than good, Dec 9).

But there has been little discussion on how tuition masks feedback on the effectiveness of the teaching or teachers.

I mean no disrespect to teachers and believe they all strive to do their best. But my understanding is that tests are meant to provide feedback to the learner as well as the teacher.

How do teachers or the Ministry of Education (MOE) get accurate feedback that the majority of pupils are struggling to understand a particular topic or skill, when so many are taking extra classes? What if a teaching method or teacher is not effective in helping pupils understand the lessons?

Tuition could be making up for the ineffective teaching, and feedback on the teaching is masked by good grades achieved through tuition.

If the sought-after tutors are so effective, should MOE or school teachers consider learning their best practices?

What then is the role of the school teachers, if they can be replaced by tutors?

With today's technology, pupils can easily get online lessons from celebrity tutors, which is already happening in other Asian countries.

Are students going to school only because it is required by law?

Giselle Goh

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2019, with the headline Forum: Tuition makes it hard to tell if school teaching is effective. Subscribe