Finding Effective Enrichment Classes [Part 2 of 2]


Dear Parent,

A few weeks ago, we wrote about what really matters when you're choosing a tuition or enrichment centre for your child. You enrol your child in an enrichment class to see a difference in his or her results; and the three most important factors are dedicated and skillful teachers, small class size, and well-designed learning materials.

Knowing what impacts your child's results is the first step.

The second step is knowing specifically what to look out for in each factor.

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(1) Worksheets that tie the means to the end

When scrutinizing a set of worksheets, you should be able to understand the learning objectives of the lesson and the means used to achieve them. Here's an example from our creative writing class - The Thinking Writer.

Almost every creative writing class will ask students to use "vivid descriptions". Giving Primary School level students a loaded instruction such as this is not very useful. Few students intentionally write descriptions that aren't vivid. What we realised was that we have to break the idea down further into several concrete components, such as emotions and sensory details.

Most students have been exposed to the idea of using the "5 senses" technique in their writing, so why don't students routinely employ this technique? Oftentimes, this is the result of poorly-structured or even unstructured ways of doing so. So we designed a series of lessons for The Thinking Writer that explicitly provides guidance to students on what they could write about for each sensory detail. For example, when painting a visual landscape, a writer could choose to describe the facial expression and physical appearance of a character, a striking element in the setting, or a dramatic action that is being performed. When describing sounds, a writer could highlight the tone of voice, or the volume and pitch of a noise.

Tying the means to the learning objective ensures that students achieve the maximum benefit from every lesson.

(2) Dedicated and focused attention