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Curious Education Strategies In Singapore: What? Singapore’s Very Own “Homework Specialists”?

A few weeks ago, The New Paper ran a special report titled “Parents hire tutors to do kids’ school and tuition assignments” (March 6, 2012). In essence, the commentary detailed how worried parents – who were concerned that their children did not have the time to complete schoolwork and enrichment exercises – had “specialist tutors” on standby not to teach, but to do the assignments on behalf of the overwhelmed kids.

As follows is a screenshot of an interview (with the key points) one of the editors had with a specialist tutor. Economically of course, there is nothing wrong, because it is a straightforward provision of a service that is demanded by consumers; however, morally, I think the practice is deplorable, potentially detrimental, and should not be condoned.

The Importance Of Homework 

Homework is a tedious, but an innately vital necessity in the teaching-learning framework, because the student has to read and process information to guide him through the completion of the assignments. Pragmatically, it allows the individual to gauge his progress and comprehension of the specific subject-matter; most importantly, the quality of the completed work allows the teacher to assess the standard of his instruction, and the specific areas that require more attention in the classroom.

Significantly, teachers who are keenly aware of the nuances of their students and the nature of their submissions would have the ability to spot these anomalies (unless the “homework specialists” are asked to replicate and customise). This is certainly more pronounced for the language subjects, as well as the Humanities.

Morally, getting someone else to plough mechanically through homework is deceit, and dishonesty, plain and simple. There are no two ways about it. It is a convenient stopgap that fails to address long-term concerns – especially if the student demonstrates incompetency – and could accord unfair advantages to students if assessments are spread out across a semester. Should any student be found guilty, disciplinary action is a must.

The Roles Of Parents And Teachers

Engagement of these “homework specialists” may be a handy “solution”, but its employment is fundamentally flawed, and should never be accepted.

Teachers are not inflexible, pedantically unyielding figures; if students take the initiative to front-load concerns – that is, to pre-empt teachers about concerns way ahead of deadlines – arrangements can be made. Schools and educators are cognisant of the plethora of demands or commitments, particularly during periods of competition or school activities. Schoolchildren, at an older age, have the prerogative to question and negotiate, such as in circumstances when multiple teachers overload at the same time.

Parents should only step in if they feel that their child does not have the ability to communicate with his teacher (because of age, shyness, or the lack of confidence). Cooperative relationships with teachers can also be beneficial in the long-run, and they are appreciative if parents take the initiative to sincerely engage in conversations. Discourse of this nature should go beyond the academic-scholastic realm, and should facilitate exchanges on the overall development of the child.

Engagement of these “homework specialists” may be a handy “solution”, but its employment is fundamentally flawed, and should never be accepted.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


4 thoughts on “Curious Education Strategies In Singapore: What? Singapore’s Very Own “Homework Specialists”?

  1. In Indonesia and other “extreme income gap” countries, this is already a norm since 1990s…

    Posted by KAM | March 20, 2012, 8:40 pm


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