For UAE parents, high quality education is a big deal. Ensuring children are equipped with the best skills they need to pursue their future ambitions can mean much more than a good school, with students often having to go the extra mile to avoid learning gaps – a common result of shifting schools or switching curricula, which can cause confusion and dips.
To accommodate the differences between educational frameworks, many parents choose to enrol their children in tuition centres. “It’s easy for fundamental skills to fall through from a child’s education when families have moved from one education system to another,”says Simon Hetherington, director of Kip McGrath Education Centre.
“Sometimes, there’s no indication that this has happened until much further down into students’ education. For example, during exam preparation, where difficulties appear in answering higher-level questions. The problem often lies with deep-routed gaps in knowledge, core literacy and numeracy skills,” adds Hetherington. “The good news is, with the right expertise, these problems are fixable and learning becomes enjoyable and attainable for the child in no time, making them forget that they had ever struggled with the curriculum.”
So, what are the key points to look out for which may indicate that your child is stressed out? Experts agree that disengagement with the subject, getting upset or frustrated with school, an unexplained drop in grades, reluctance to tackle homework and, in some cases, unusual withdrawn behaviour are all factors which can all point to a possible conflict within a student.
“It’s key to act as soon as something arises rather than waiting until the problem gets worse. For struggling students, an important boost in confidence is key and a track record of success gives previously under-performing students a positive educational result, creating a momentum of its own,” explains Hetherington.
Extra tuition isn’t solely for students who are having trouble with a particular concept. “A good number of enquiries to the Kip McGrath centre are from students who are already excelling in their subjects, but want to push themselves to achieve even more. For students who are already doing well, tutoring can offer a scope for fine-tuning exam and revision techniques to help them achieve even more success,” he adds.
What parents need to keep in mind, however, is that it’s important to research wisely. “Many services are offered in Abu Dhabi, but using private tutors is illegal and potentially dangerous. I can’t stress the importance of finding help from good quality, international centres which employ fully qualified teachers who are experts in their subjects enough. Otherwise, the problem can become deeper-routed, the student more frustrated and a great deal of time and money is wasted,” Hetherington highlights.
Another factor to keep in mind is that tuition is a long-term investment. “The gap takes time to address before that ‘eureka’ moment where the subject starts to make sense and students can easily slip back to old habits. A child attends classes depending on their needs, but once or twice a week is best to avoid losing the benefits,” he says.
Look out for:
• A fully qualified teacher who is a specialist in their subject
• Proven results
• An internationally recognised brand is ideal to ensure quality
• A rapport between teacher and pupil
• A professional attitude
• Achievable and realistic goals over a period of time
Whether it’s to help your child with school work or strengthen comprehension, choose a centre that will boost their confidence, always keeping their preferences, and the most solid options, in mind.
Kip McGrath Education Centre, Block 11, Dubai Knowledge Park (04 514 6940). Al Raha Mall, Al Raha Mall, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi (02 558 8505).