1-1 or group tuition classes? [Question]

So should I (my kid) get 1-1 or group tuition?

This is a question a lot of parents, students ask when looking for tutors for the additional academic help.

There is certainly no right or wrong way to approach this.

However, in my opinion it is much better to go into a group tuition rather than 1-1. There is a caveat to this but I’ll explain it a little bit more later.

As an educator, I don’t recommend long term 1-1 tuition.

I would only prescribe it as a short term measure to get a new student ready to join a group class.

Other situations in which 1-1 works is before important exams or a quick review after poor exam performance.

Why group tuition? The learning environment!

Usually, the tutor goes to the student’s residence.

Answers to other frequent questions.

Although the student will have the full attention of his/her tutor, frequently, the learning environment is not ideal.

The mom is in the kitchen cooking, someone is knocking on door, the telephone rings, there is TV noise and foot traffic around.

Even if its quiet at home, it is harder to get tools tutors can deploy to help their tutees understand the subject matter.

In group class setup, I can readily give my students some hands-on to aid in their understanding of complex material.

This is using physical items like lego bricks, ropes as well as colored candies to digital animations projected over a sound system.

Even taking time for individuals within the group to air their views on contentious issues of a concept.

All the resources can deploy easily and optimally because of the classroom setup. This is just not possible for 1-1.

Why group tuition? The teaching tools

Also, there is the matter of economies of scale.

It is much more affordable to attend a group class rather than a 1-1.

Even if money is not an issue, the extra money can be better spent elsewhere such as investing better quality food and rest.

I am a proponent of a multi-disciplinary way of preparing a student to ace in the exams.

Content mastery is not enough in exam performance.

Why group tuition? Inter-motivation and big data

Some educators make magic happen in the class, students react, getting a light bulb moment.

This creates the energy that drives the students which in turn drives the teacher.

The effort snowballs resulting in a dynamic and enjoyable class.

That enjoyment stimulates the students to think about the subject matter as well as motivating the students.

It also help them retain the content better. And it is tough to re-enact this on a 1-1 as the energy levels is solely dependent on the 1 student fully.

Also, when learning in a group, each individual benefits because other students bring up unique questions.

As the tutor collect more and more of these questions, they get a bird’s eye view of where are the common problematic areas.

This allows them to respond by simplifying particularly tough concepts, refine materials, or dedicating a bit more time.

Which subsequently creates a better teacher and students benefit from the foresight.

Why group tuition? Support

I also encourage my students to help each other.

When they feel that they are not alone, the camaraderie drives them to do better.

Look at the successful dragonboat teams (for that matter any other successful sports teams) and you’d begin to realize that strong camaraderie is common.

Someone shouting after each member of the team, edging them on when someone has given up.

Somehow, that helps to grow grit referencing Angela Duckworth’s work on this subject.

This also helps them develop soft skills.

Such as being emotionally sensitive to classmates, social communication and dynamics – which are are crucial to a work life after the studies.

Also it allows them (since students come from different schools) to be able to pool resources for all their subjects.

I further encourage collaborative learning by setting a group goal before the reward is unlocked.

All of these are not possible with 1-1 tuition.

Bottomline on group tuition

Some people will say but isn’t the school precisely the place where group learning should happen?

Well ideally yes, however, teachers are likely over-worked (just talk to some of the school teachers). So they may not have the time to be able to curate the best learning experience.

And also the caveat is that if the teacher do not appreciate the power of group learning and conducts the class as per routine then the opportunity is lost.

The last point of which should help a parent or a student identify which group classes and tutors to look out for.

Finally, tell me if this has been useful.

Parent/student questions sitemap:
Should I repeat A levels?
I want a career in medicine
1-1 or group tuition classes?
Must I participate in CCA in JC?
Choosing A level tutor [checklist]
Lousy prelims, what should I do?
Lousy JC teachers, what should I do?
I failed my promotion exams, so how?
Should I consider overseas universities?
Which subject combination for A levels
Why is Singapore-Cambridge A levels so hard
Can I do H2 Biology if I didn’t do O levels Bio?


  • On January 25, 2016