Tuition is costly! I know it! I am a parent too! Therefore, it is so important to learn how to choose the right tutor or tuition programme.
Tuition is also an investment for our children. As with all costly investments, one should carefully research and consider various factors.
So how to choose right tutor or tuition programme correctly? We’ll explain it further in this article.
First Of All: Assess The Quality Of The Tutor Or Tuition Programme
The first thing to consider in your lookout about how to choose the right tutor is the quality. Quality is extremely important. This is for our children’s future! Do we really want to settle for something inferior? That will be costlier in the end!
However, assessing quality is not so easy. Why?
- In economics, we call this “imperfect information”.
- Quality is multi-faceted, and one indicator alone cannot tell it all.
- Tuition is such big business nowadays that there is so much persuasive advertising out there that can distort information and cloud our judgement. The ill effects of persuasive advertising are also covered in economics.
“So one should really check for quality and not merely level of academic attainment.”
In this post, I will focus on quality in terms of whether the tutor is a subject expert.
Let’s put it this way; it is not easy to be a subject expert. Many times we think we know something, but we actually don’t really know.
Hence we end up making errors in explanations and applications. It requires years of learning, training and application to be an expert in anything!
Don’t Be Fooled By Academic Qualifications!
The most convenient way to answer your query about how to choose the right tutor or tuition programme for your children is by looking at the academic qualifications that the tutor has.
But nowadays, many tout “Master’s degree”. Some even tout a string of degrees!
That’s not a bad thing, but it does not really signal top quality. Many graduates, if they wish to, can easily continue to study for another year or so to obtain a Master’s degree. In fact, some may do it in order to cover up for poorer grades!
Let’s take an easy example of hiring a maths tutor for a Primary 3 child.
- Tutor Alfie has University degree qualifications but with mediocre grades for PSLE, O, A Levels and in Uni.
- Tutor Bianca has only A-level Maths qualifications and is among the top in the cohort for PSLE, O and A Levels.
All else equal, who do you think can better help the P3 child?
It is quite well known that only a very small percentage of each cohort will graduate with a First Class Honours degree. Together with consistently superb grades throughout the different academic levels, you can be more assured that you are looking for someone who has a top quality to help your child!
So, if one wonders how they can choose the right tutor for their children, they should really check for quality and not merely the level of academic attainment.
Finally, the university is also very important. Obviously, there is a whole range of quality out there. Should you merely check based on Uni rankings? No! Uni rankings are a very crude overall measure. To be more accurate, you should check based on the Uni rankings for a particular subject.
You can check out this site: https://www.topuniversities.com/subject-rankings/2022
For economics, you can use this: https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2022/economics-econometrics
NUS is ranked 20th in the world for Economics. Someone asked me about Murdoch University. It is not even on the list! It’s also not even in the top 20 in Australia!
Focus On The Tutor’s Ability To Teach
How important is the ability to teach, and why does it matter when choosing the right tutor? Nigel Rohan of SJII pointed out that one can have sterling qualifications but may not have the ability to teach.
That is absolutely spot-on!
Teaching is not reading from notes or slides!!! That can be left to a robot!
An excellent tutor must be able to explain a difficult concept in many different ways so that he can help his students relate and understand.
He/she should also possess excellent oratorical skills, so his/her explanations can be clearly understood.
I would like to add that the tutor must also have the ability to engage the students and fire up their interest to learn.
Perhaps many highly qualified tutors may not have these skills?
It took me years to hone these skills, and I utilise “trade secrets” acquired from training top corporates to teach my students today.
So now the question is how can we wisely choose the right tutor that can really teach and engage?
Below we’ll list down what you should do to find the one that addresses your concern.
- Ask for a trial lesson.
However, the highly established tutors and tuition centres are usually packed full, so they may not entertain such a request.
(Doesn’t this already mean they can teach? Quite likely. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.)
- Comb through the testimonials.
Do they consistently highlight the tutor’s ability to explain difficult concepts and fire up a passion for the subject?
Please do not fall for “friendly”, “caring”, or “provide snacks.”
These usually suggest that the tutors are trying to make up for their deficiencies!
- Finally, check for Quality & Experience.
We get better at something the more we do it. Also, if a tutor is highly experienced, he would have come across many different types of students and many queries from students etc. So that gives him a lot of experience in trying to explain something.
Check also for real-world experience. For example, if an economics tutor has actually been involved in policy-making or real entrepreneurship (besides tutoring), then you can be sure he can make the subject come alive and have many insights to help fire up students’ interest and can explain things even better having been a practitioner.
Qualifications are important. But you need to FACT CHECK! Make sure you can tell it is of top quality (for example, 1st Class Honours and not just any Honours or Master’s degree) and from a top-notch university for that specific subject. Also check that the 1st Class Honours is for the particular subject you are seeking tuition for! We know of cases where the tutor has top-notch qualifications but they are not for the subjects that he or she is offering tuition for!
You should now understand how to choose right tutor or tuition programme that helps your children ace academically. Don’t fall for the ill effects of persuasive advertising that distort information and cloud your judgement!
- Quality is key.
- Academic results are more important to determine whether or not the tutor deserves to be regarded as a subject expert.
- Quality of grades is far more valuable than merely the level of academic achievement.
- You should always do a credibility check based on Uni rankings by subject.
- Teaching is all about delivering complex concepts in an engaging way; make sure the tutor has this skill!
About The Economics Tutor
Founded by Kelvin Hong in 1998, The Economics Tutor is one of the leading economics tuition in Singapore. We provide a comprehensive program to guide students in understanding complex economic concepts and applying them through case study analyses, essay writing and discussion of real world events.
For 24 years, the way we teach JC Economics Tuition (A Level Economics Tuition) and IB Economics Tuition classes helped learners appreciate economics and everything it entails on a much larger scale. We take things step-by-step, implement effective techniques in memorising frameworks and give every student the chance to nurture their ideas.
We don’t just solely focus on helping you get stellar grades and perfect scores. We make sure that we also hone the critical thinking skills and investment / business decisions you can use outside the four walls of your classroom.
Looking for a fun, engaging and probably the best economics tutor in Singapore? Look no further—check out our extensive and high quality economics resources on the website such as our IB and A Level Economics Publication. Click here to order.
Book your lesson today and master the nuances of economics in our next class!