Secondary School English Tuition – An Overview
Did you know that Singaporeans are spending more and more money on Private Tuition, why? According to an article from TODAY, Singaporeans spent a whopping S$1.4 billion on tuition in 2018. That is a major increase from S$1.1 billion in 2012/2013. Why is that so? What has caused the tuition industry to blossom continuously? Here at Mindflex Home Tuition, we have realised over the years that one of the most common requests is for English Tuition. This is especially pronounced for Secondary English Tuition. Why is there such a pressing need for Secondary English Tuition? Is it just because every student is required to take English from Primary School up to Secondary School?
Speaking is one of the most important aspects of life. It allows us to present ourselves and our point of view. Speaking allows us to amplitude our thoughts to connect and communicate with others. With English being the main language spoken in Singapore, and the second most spoken language in the world, it is also important for students to build up a good English foundation not only purely for academic reasons, but allow for them to communicate with others and build stronger relationships with others. This is especially important in the future when you would like to build relations with your coworkers, friends and family for social and business purposes.
English Can’t Be Taught Overnight
English is a language that cannot be taught overnight, why? Language procurement is a lengthy process. English has various aspects such as grammar, vocabulary, communication, comprehension, writing, pronunciation, spelling and many more. There are many principles that one must follow when speaking and writing in English. These all take time for one to perfect. Time is also needed for students to observe how English is being used whether it is via speaking or writing. By observing, students are able to pick up the language much easier. English has to be learnt while practising. It is only by practising one’s speaking and writing does one learn what is the proper way to use the language.
Students require the right platform and guidance to execute their language skills. As English is so complicated, it is a very time-consuming process for students. That is why parents look to start Secondary School English tuition as soon as possible. With the right guidance, you are able to acquire a good command of the language.
When is the Best Time to Start Secondary English Tuition?
As mentioned above, English requires a lot of time to be acquired. Students need time to learn and perfect different answering techniques for the various components in an examination. All of this on top of learning the language. So when is the best time to start Secondary English Tuition? We strongly recommend students to start as soon as possible as the Secondary School English Syllabus is challenging, and improving in a language takes time. For your O/N Levels Secondary English Examination, there are 4 components:
1. Writing (Paper 1)
This component tests students on their writing skills that total to 70 marks. Students have to complete their Paper 1 within 1 hour and 50 minutes. There are 3 sections – Section A, B and C. Section A is the editing section that is worth 10 marks, where students have to identify and edit grammatical errors in the given text. Section B is the Situational Writing section worth 30 marks. Students have to write 250-350 words on a given situation with the provided visual text. Lastly, Section C is the Continuous Writing section worth 30 marks. Students have to write 350-500 words on one of the four given topics.
To write a proper composition, students require a good command of Vocabulary and Grammar. If a student is having difficulty with this in school, it is up to the student to find other alternatives for additional help. Experienced tutors are able to guide students who have difficulty in school. With 1-to-1 Secondary English Tuition, tutors are able to dedicate their undivided attention to their students to help them improve. By doing certain exercises, tutors are aware of ways to challenge and expand their student’s Vocabulary and Grammar.
Secondary English Tutors are able to help students to write with a smooth flow. The main point of writing is for readers to be able to read with ease. Secondary English Tutors are able to guide students on the proper use of words, phrases and sentences to ensure that their composition has a smooth flow to it. By drafting a framework of the composition, students are able to be clear on what type of direction they would like to take when writing their composition. Secondary English Tutors teach students on the way to create a clear framework in order to help students with their writing.
2. Comprehension (Paper 2)
This component requires students to respond to questions based on different texts. There are 3 sections in Paper 2 – Section A, B and C. Students have to complete Paper 2 within the given 1 hour and 50 minutes. In Section A, students have to answer questions based on a visual text. This section is worth 5 marks. Section B is worth 20 marks, where students have to respond to questions based on the provided text. Lastly, Section C is worth 25 marks where students have to respond to a variety of questions based on a text and write an 80-word response to a summary writing task.
This requires students to be able to read and understand the various texts provided. It is a common problem where students read through the various text passages but do not understand what they are about. Without understanding, students are not able to answer the variety of questions provided. Students have to be able to read the passages provided and break down the relevant points to be able to answer the questions provided. A point student can take note is to look out for keywords that are indicated in the question and refer back to the passage based on those keywords.
Secondary English Tutors are aware of the common mistakes that students make when tackling their Comprehension. They are able to help students avoid making such mistakes and learn from them. One of the common mistakes students make is that they simply copying a chunk of text from the passage as their answer. This shows the examiners that the students do not understand the passage well enough to answer the questions. However, students just simply have difficulty using their own words to answer the questions. Secondary English Tutors know this and practice with the students on how to locate clues in the passage and learn to paraphrase their words to answer the questions correctly.
3. Listening (Paper 3)
Paper 3 is the listening paper that total to 30 marks. There are 2 sections – Section A and B. Section A is worth 24 marks where students have to respond to given questions based on a number of audio recordings. Section B is worth 6 marks where students have to listen to an audio recording and do a simple note-taking exercise.
This component requires students to listen very carefully to a variety of audio recordings and accomplish tasks based on them. As some recordings will only be played once while some will be repeated, students have to pay attention and listen carefully to be able to pick out the correct information stated in the recordings. This exercise tests students on their capability to listen and understand the audio recordings provided.
4. Oral Communication (Paper 4)
Lastly, Paper 4 is an Oral Examination that totals to 30 marks. There are 2 parts. Part 1 is the Reading Aloud Section where students have to read aloud a short text. This portion is worth 10 marks. Part 2 is Spoken Interaction where students have to engage in conversion with examiners on a topic based on a visual stimulus. This portion is worth 20 marks.
This component tests students on their ability to speak and communicate in English. They are tasked to read a passage, together with a discussion based on a visual stimulus. This requires students to be able to pronounce specific words with the correct pronunciation while being able to hold a discussion based on a visual stimulus. Students are challenged to infer from the visual stimulus and explain accordingly.
Many students have difficulty with oral and why is that? Secondary students have difficulty elaborating and speaking under pressure. This may be because they are not exposed enough to a variety of visual stimulus. In school, teachers have to tackle all different components with a whole class of students which may lead to your child not having enough time to practice their oral. Secondary English Tutors are able to dedicate their time to practice with students on their Oral. By having more practice, students are able to familiarise themselves with elaborating and to speak with confidence. Secondary English Tutors are able to guide students with tips on how to pronounce their consonants with clarity, how to use different tones to express emotions and to remember to pause at punctuations.
With this many components, students require lots of time to perfect every individual component. As the format for Secondary is very different from that in Primary, some students may find difficulty in adapting to the new syllabus. In school, some students require more attention compared to others. However, with private tuition, Secondary English Tutors are able to focus mainly on the individual student and his/her weaknesses. This allows for more time to be spent according to the student’s capabilities. Secondary English Tutors can help students build their confidence, as once students have tackled their weaknesses, they are then able to complete their Secondary English Examination with confidence. Thus, you should look for your Secondary English Tuition now!
For more information on the syllabus, you may take a look at this link.
Why is English Is The Most Important Subject When Taking Your O/N Levels?
The final destination at the end of your Secondary education is the O or N Levels National Examinations. English is the most important subject when taking your O/N Levels. You may ask why? When your O/N Level results are returned to you, your grades are accounted to where you are able to proceed on after Secondary school.
To enter Junior College, Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education, students are required to obtain a minimum C6 for English. English is the most important subject as without a pass for your English, you are not able to proceed on from your Secondary education. If you fail your English O/N Levels, the only option you can take is to retake your English O/N Levels. As these are national examinations, they only occur twice a year. Thus students will have to waste valuable time should they require to retake the examination.
English is also one of the main components of the L1R5 or L1R4 requirements to enter local tertiary institutes. It comprises part of the Language (L1) portion, with a choice between using English or your Mother Tongue as the deciding grade. Hence, if you are not strong in your Mother Tongue, it is even more paramount to do well in your English Exams, to ensure that you are able to score a good L1R5 / L1R4 score to enter the tertiary educational institute of your choice.
For more information on the grading system, you may visit Chung Cheng High School’s website here where they have done up a very clear explanation on it.
Secondary English Tuition Is Not Only Important For The English Subject!
In Singapore, our national language is Malay. However due to our British roots and Education System, all examinations in Singapore MOE Schools are taken in English, with the exception of Mother Tongue. With a good command of English, students can then understand other subjects better. There are certain subjects that are heavily based on English. Mainly Humanities subjects such as Social Studies, History and Literature These subjects all require students to have a good command of English. Students are tested on their ability to be able to infer from various texts or visual stimuli, followed by a written response usually in an essay form or structured response.
Other subjects such as Mathematics, Biology, Physics, etc. all require students to be proficient in English to a certain degree to be able to understand and answer the questions accordingly. If students are not able to read and understand what the questions are asking, it will affect their ability to infer the key-points and phrases of question requirements. This will consequently affect their grades for the subject. Thus, to avoid jeopardizing other subjects as well, students who require help in English in Secondary School should get additional help as soon as possible, from school teachers or from hiring a private tutor.
Here at Mindflex Home Tuition, we provide well-qualified and experienced Secondary English Tutors who are able to help students build on their English fundamentals. These Secondary English Tutors are able to tailor their lessons based on the student’s strengths and weaknesses with the language. Having many years of experience under their sleeves, these Secondary English Tutors are very familiar with the MOE syllabus and the way to tackle the questions. They have various exercises that students should do to be able to develop on their writing and speaking to be able to excel in all components of their English examination. Many of our Secondary English Tutors are also equipped with an English-Specialized Degree, such as an NUS Bachelor of Arts (English), NUS Bachelor of Arts (English Literature), and some have additional qualifications such as TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
In Conclusion, is Secondary English Tuition Necessary?
The learning journey towards mastering the English language is a long one that takes time to perfect. If you realise that there are instances where you are struggling with the English Subject in Secondary School, or struggling to comprehend questions of other subjects, it is an indicator that you should seek help as soon as possible, and hire Secondary English Tuition. The Secondary English Tutors at MindFlex are very experienced and able to use various pedagogies to help students understand and master the language. Secondary English Tutors will also be able to give you more customized and personal help, as well as undivided attention during sessions to help you tackle your Secondary English Examinations.
Once again, start early before it is too late as it takes time to improve English, and you definitely do not want to be starting when your O/N Levels are only a few months away! If you are interested in hiring Secondary English Tuition, do feel free to contact us! Our friendly team will be most delighted to assist you with your inquiries and academic needs.