Before parents decide to send their child to tuition classes (whether Chemistry or other subjects), one of the questions that may pop up in their minds will be the effectiveness of group tuition versus private tuition. Even with group tuition classes, the size may vary from 3-5 students to a class of more than 10 students.
The advantages and disadvantages that accompany the different tuition class setting may seem apparent to many parents but may sometimes be deceiving as well. Having a tight purse-string may mean that sending your child to Chemistry group tuition class is a more feasible option but your child may encounter similar problems that any large group classes face, regardless in school or at tuition centres. The lack of personalised attention and the need to ensure minimum disruptions in a large group tuition class will result in students becoming unable to focus on the actual lesson. Another obvious issue will also be the different pace of learning of individual students that may make tutors cater to the average standards of the majority. If your child is one of the unfortunate few to be in the minority group where he or she is unable to keep up with the Chemistry tuition lessons or that the lessons are too slow for your child, then the group tuition class will not be suitable.
This, however, can only be picked up later on after your child has sat in for months of classes before you find out that your child’s grades are stagnating or turning out for the worse. That will be precious time and money “wasted” and you will have to put in some time and effort to search for a more suitable tutor or tuition centre. Even that itself is not a guarantee but a chance, albeit a higher one, that you have managed to find a Chemistry tuition class that is a better fit for your child.
One of the ways to try to mitigate this potential pitfall early on is to be in constant communication with your child to find out how he is faring in his tuition lessons and request that your child provide ample feedback. Understanding your child’s personality also helps for you to make the better judgement on what type of classes are suitable for your child. Being in a group tuition class is not necessarily bad as your child may stand to benefit from positive peer influence or if the pace of learning is conducive for your child, thus making the returns of your investment in your child’s education worthwhile.
For parents that are less budget-conscious, they may decide to employ private tutors or do not mind paying a slight premium to have small tuition classes since there will be more direct interaction with the tutors in question. This is particularly important for Chemistry, since many concepts may seem foreign to students when they first start on the subject and are not easy to comprehend, therefore any doubts should be resolved early on before they start to pile up. Private tuition has an additional perk of being able to reschedule classes if your child has other commitments and the postponed tuition classes will carry on from where your child last left off since it is catered entirely to your child’s pace. Small group tuition classes may still pose a risk of your child missing a lesson and end up lagging behind his or her tuition classmates in terms of syllabus.
So how are tutors conducting private tuition, small or large group classes differently and as a parent, what can you expect from the various settings?
Let us start off with a Chemistry tutor who is involved with teaching a class of more than 10 students. He or she will have to stick to a less flexible curriculum in order to finish the syllabus with a timeframe that closely aligns with the school syllabus. This will inadvertently lead to less time to clear up each and every student’s questions and these unanswered questions may pile up along the way.
You may start to wonder how this setting differs from the conventional teaching in schools then. An effective tutor who is familiar with conducting Chemistry tuition classes in a large group setting will always be able to find pockets of time to answer relevant questions from students, either during the class itself or outside of the tuition hours. A good tuition centre who specialises in providing large group tuition will also likely have similar classes conducted at different timeslots so your child can always hop in to do a make up class at a different timeslot, subject to the availability of spaces since each class has to have a limit to the number of students who are present.
Effective Chemistry tutors also understand that they have to do things in a different way from school teachers even in a large group setting. If not, why will parents put in the extra time and money to send their child for tuition in the first place? Therefore, there are successful tuition centres in Singapore who will hire the right tutors with a strict criteria so that they are able to provide good tuition services to parents and parents do not mind sending their child even if the travelling time is substantial. However, such successful examples are far and few between.
For students who are already falling far behind in their school learning for Chemistry, hiring a private Chemistry tutor may be a more suitable option since they will likely not be able to keep up with the pace of Chemistry tuition group classes and having to repeat the torture that they face in school, during their group tuition classes may just put off and demotivate students altogether. 1 to 1 tuition also provides the flexibility of arranging for extra classes to help accelerate the student’s learning journey for Chemistry.
At the end of the day, private tuition will always have a higher price point over group tuition and small group tuition classes will likely be slightly more expensive than large group tuition classes. Hence, parents will have to weigh out the different options thoroughly to decide what is best for your child.