Another dot in the blogosphere?

Reacting to shadows

Posted on: October 24, 2018

I normally wait for everyone and their grandmothers to have their say on the latest blip in the Singapore schooling radar. This time I waited for the uncles and aunties to weigh in as well.

The usual and time-honoured statements breached like whales, made a splash, and then returned to the deep. Also usual was the response of tuition centres.

Some tuition centres, particularly the chain and branded ones, responded to the Ministry of Educations (MOE’s) new policy of reducing academic exams by maintaining the status quo or providing purely extrinsic rewards. Case in point:

…parents whom he has spoken to were also largely in favour of keeping the centre’s in-house mid-year and end-of-year examinations, which are set by its tutors, even though the schools are removing such examinations for certain levels.

…tutors would turn an assignment into a mini-competition for students during class, with rewards such as snacks given at the end of the assignment to encourage good work.

There were also examples in the report that mentioned the names of centres that would offer or expand their offerings on enrichment. But since I do not wish to advertise their wares, I am not quoting them.

The tired excuse for doing these things: Tuition centre operators are giving in to what parents want. Never mind that these steer everyone in the direction that is opposite to MOE’s.

According to the same article, some tuition centres have embraced formative, non-graded assessment and feedback, and/or actually focus on remediation.

The exam reduction policy has yet to be implemented, but tuition centres have reacted. Some take advantage on what parents know and fear, and offer replacement tests. Others seem to focus on the learners.

Tuition has been called the shadow schooling system here. Like an actual shadow, you cannot actually get rid of it as long as we cast light on schooling. That said, some shadows distort and some are scary.

Cast a stronger light directly at the shadow and it disappears, perhaps taking away with it the associated fears. Just how enlightened and equipped are parents to critically examine what they are sold about tuition in is various forms?

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