smartification tutor

TUITION. The billion-dollar industry that everyone is talking about.   Advertisements of an extremely wide range of services from academic coaching to enrichment to subject-specific bombard parents so much so that parents are fearing that if they do not send their child to any of these services – their child and they will lose out in the end. When I spoke to some parents on why they send their children for tuition, answers range from “So that they can enrol in the Gifted program” to “I don’t think he can self-study without supervision.”  But how do you know if your child really needs tuition?

There are 3 major fields of tutoring:


If your Child needs a Subject Specific Tutor

SmartificationThe biggest warning sign is when one of your child’s teachers expresses concern about her progress or about what her final grade might be.

If your child struggles with a particular subject, it can be a variety of reasons. The most common reason is probably that the teacher may be teaching too fast as he/she needs to cover a number of topics within a given (usually short) time frame. Most children really need more practices and reviews but somehow the teacher has already move on with some of the classmates. If your child is poor in expressing themselves, they will find it difficult to formulate her questions and thus face trouble getting help from a particular teacher.

Another possible reason is that while your child is able to keep up with class discussions and projects in a class or receive good grades on homework and project, they are still unable to see it in a “big picture” manner (how one topic links to another part or ‘piecing the jigsaw’) and thus, tend not to do well on tests. This happens when questions are often tweaked slightly from a different perspective and lo and behold! Your child finds that somehow, they are unable to answer that question even though they seem to have talked and practiced it a thousand times before.

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If your Child needs a Organisational  Tutor

smartificationThere are some students who always seem perpetually ‘lost’.

Somehow when it’s time to study, your child just can’t find the information in her/his notes or even loses her/his assignments. Their homework is often in a mess and incomplete but somehow she/he can never find the time to finish them. They hardly plan their time. They don’t know how to review their tests because he/she waste more time studying content they already know instead of what is needed for the test or assignments. These students either have disabling organisational styles or exhibit a divergent style of thinking (Visual Spatial aka CREATIVE). What they need is really an Academic Coach who is able to teach them planning and organisational methods as well as study skills. This helps them to juggle both time and understand how studies really work.

(Please note that some children are messy but are still able to do well in their studies.).

Most times, parents of these children will go “I know they can do it one but they are just not paying enough attention.” They may not identify what is the real issue their child may be facing.

What they really need is someone who can teach them how to organise their thinking, schedules and notes.

RELATED: 6 Reasons why MotivationalCamps for Children do not help – backed by Science


If your Child needs a Special Education  Tutor

smartificationIf your child continues to do poorly even with tuition, your child may need a little more guidance. If your child’s teacher comments that your child seems to know the material during class discussions but does poorly in tests, it may be due to the strong anxiety that your child feels as they don’t feel secure about what she knows in class.

One thing that most parents don’t realise is that topics don’t exist in isolation. A topic is usually linked to several topics and your child may have trouble pulling together multiple ideas in his/her written work. This results in your child having issues working

Another possible reason that your child may be suffering from poor grades may be due to difficulty with reading comprehension. Once this happens,  this can affect his/her grades in multiple classes or subjects since reading is involved. This can couple with your child’s unclear understanding of their weaknesses and they may not know strategies on how to work around them. For example, those who are more diligent may continue studying without breaks when they need them.

When your child suffers from such strong anxiety, this makes it very difficult for them to learn or the be able to navigate life well if obstacles come across their way. This is when parental support is extremely vital and parent-bonding courses are required because once anxiety takes root in your child, anything can be a trigger and leads to drastic consequences.

When Parents Push their Children Who are Already Scoring Well

There are some children who are pushed by their parents to go for additional classes – believing that it will help to stretch their children. One thing to note – these courses are only successful only if your child enjoys going for these lessons as learning takes place only when it is fun.

However, there are those who go for extra tuition just to maintain their As. When this happens, the message that we are telling these students that they cannot be happy anywhere but at a small, selective group of colleges or universities. When this occurs, any deviation from their As may results in tragic results. Doing so may encourage impatience with their development and gives the wrong impression of what success in their lives should be. These students may not be able to realise the full potential of their abilities and interests.

If you need advice or have enquiries regarding the above post, please contact me at


  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. Types of tutoring available
  4. Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  7. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  8. Types of Teaching Methods