Patient tutors helped him to focus

In his early secondary school years, 17-year-old Loke Jia Jun had problems concentrating in class and would often daydream when his teachers were not looking.

As a result, the Normal (Technical) student at West Spring Secondary School in Bukit Panjang did poorly in his exams, averaging Cs and Ds for his subjects.

Hoping to improve his grades, Jia Jun enrolled in the tuition programme offered by the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), a community self-help group, in 2011.

He would attend the small-group tuition classes - of about 10 students each - for English and Mathematics at West Spring Secondary School on weekday evenings, where he would seek to grasp key concepts and clear misconceptions.

"In the past, when I had problems with my schoolwork, I had no one to approach for help. The school teachers were often busy," he said.

"But at these sessions, the tutors would patiently explain to us what we were unsure about and they gave us the attention we needed."

To combat his restlessness during tuition lessons, Jia Jun's maths tutor of two years, Ms Kwek Wan Ying, 39, would use examples from everyday life to keep him interested in the subject and help him learn concepts with ease.

Ms Kwek, who is self-employed, noted that despite having a short attention span, Jia Jun was a hard worker. She added: "As tutors, we need to encourage our students and continually motivate them to study, even when they feel like giving up."

The Secondary 4 student now averages As for Maths and Bs for English. Earlier this year, he received two awards at the CDAC Tuition Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony for his progress.

Jia Jun, who is waiting for his N-level results, said that before the national exams, his tutors would even offer students exam tips.

"It gave me more confidence to sit the N levels, knowing that my tutors were behind me, supporting me."

This article was first published on Dec 7, 2015.
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