For a tiny island, Singapore has a very high literacy rate. Achieving this has been the result of a world class education system as well as the relentless focus of parents on the academic performance of their children. Parents often try to ensure that their children do not lose out to their peers and take tough measures to maintain their children’s academic records. But when is it too much? Are we putting unnecessary stress on our children at too young an age?
Growing up, many of us personally endured endless hours of tuition and remedial lessons. We know first-hand the horror of assessment books and ten-year series. We need to ask ourselves if we could still have been successful without the countless hours of tuition and revision, and did it really benefit us to have had our play time restricted?
A Culture of Tuition
The tuition industry is a booming one, with more than SGD $800 million spent on it every year. Parents are willing to spend money just so that their child does not lose out to other children academically. It is a growing fear in a very competitive country, and children who seemingly do better at school almost always do better in life. With so much emphasis placed on getting good grades, it is no wonder that there are more tuition centres than there are primary and secondary schools put together.
In the past, tuition was mostly used to help children with their weaker subjects. In today’s context however, tuition is an additional tool outside of school to make sure that our children perform better than their peers in school. Children are spending more time in classrooms than at home or with friends. Homework from both school and tuition pile up for these children, and there seems to be no end. Should children be subject to so much pressure and stress that even sleep is compromised in order to complete their assignments?
How Much is Too Much?
When do we know our children are overloaded? Many children would not speak up against the idea that they need tuition, for fear of upsetting their parents. For those who do, parents may or may not listen, as they may feel that they know what’s best for their children. It is unwise to say that tuition is altogether unnecessary, but it is not always true to say that tuition is necessary. Tuition can be an effective way to bring up a child’s grades as well as to recap on the things your child may not have understood in school.
Creating a Dependency
Excessive tuition can have its negative impact on a child’s developmental years when they are in their early adulthood. While tuition is an effective means of education, over using it not only stresses out your children, but may also make your children over reliant on their tutors for information. Excessive tuition may remove the aspect of self-discovery and curiousity needed for a child to be successful in their later years. What is important is to encourage a desire to learn.
Tuition is not a negative tool and should not be seen as such. However, too much of a good thing is ironically, a bad thing. Trust in your children’s academic prowess and make good decisions in helping them grow and learn. Be reasonable with your children when signing them up for extra lessons, taking away time for them to develop physically through play can take a toll on their morale and enthusiasm for a subject. Never kill the joy of learning and natural curiosity of a child’s mind.
Don’t burden your child with too much tuition. Be sure that they receive ample time for rest and play to develop in their own natural way.
Be reasonable when it comes to tuition, your child may not need coaching in every subject, monitor their results and make the right decisions and choices for them.
Over coaching can dwarf your child’s capacity to think for themselves, leaving them vulnerable in later stages of their lives.
Adapted from an article first published on the National Family Council Website.