Economics Tuition Methodology

Economics is the study of how society allocates limited resources to the production of goods and services to satisfy unlimited human wants. It is a social science which deals with human behavior. Therefore, there is no one standard teaching methodology which every economics tutor adopts. The following is a brief description of my teaching methodology.

Understanding Economics

As an economics tutor, I do not engage in the teaching of economics. Rather, I make students understand the subject. It is true that making students understand a subject requires teaching of the subject. However, the focus of my teaching is on understanding rather than on teaching itself. The difference between teaching a subject and making students understand the subject may seem subtle to some people. To me, however, the difference is great.

Learning Journey

I focus on the learning journey instead of the learning outcome. This is not to say that I do not care about the examination grade. Indeed, I care about the examination grade to a large extent. Rather, I believe that by focusing on the learning journey, students are more likely to achieve a better examination grade. In this way, a better learning outcome can be achieved in a more enjoyable way. Life is short. We should try to derive joy in everything we do, especially when it is more likely to lead to a better outcome.

Student Focus

Teaching is the passing on of information which involves a sender (i.e. a teacher) and a receiver (i.e. a student). However, unlike many economics tutors who focus more on the sender, I focus more on the receiver. This is so that I do not ‘lose’ the students before I know it. When you go hiking with a group of young kids, it is important to keep an eye on them to ensure they are following you, or rather, you are following them. This is made possible as I know economics very well.

Meaningful Learning

Rote learning is a memorisation technique based on repetition. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats it. I discourage rote learning for economics. Economics is a social science which deals with human behavior and therefore it is far too complex for rote learning to stand the slightest chance of mastering the subject. As opposed to rote learning, I advocate meaningful learning. Meaningful learning refers to a way of learning where the new knowledge to acquire is related to existing knowledge. Within the cognitive theory of learning, based on the theory of human information processing, there are three core processes of learning which include how knowledge is developed, how new knowledge is integrated into an existing cognitive system, and how knowledge becomes automatic. Meaning learning will take a student much further than rote learning.

News Articles

In order to excel in the Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ Level Economics examination, it is important for students to know the current economic issues and events. I provide students with a lot of latest relevant news articles to help them keep abreast of times. These news articles will not only serve to stimulate the students’ interest in economics, they will also provide useful information that the students can use in the examination. This helps them better apply the economic concepts that they learn in essay writing and case study analysis.

Concise Writing

I teach students the skill of concise writing. Given the examination time constraint in the Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ Level Economics examination, the ability to write concisely is of great importance as failure to do so may cost you the distinction, even if you have a good mastery of the subject. Unfortunately, this skill is not much emphasised in many schools which explains why many of the students who sit for the Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘A’ Level Economics examination each year fail to finish their papers.

Concept Focus

Unlike many economics tutors who teach everything in the syllabus, I focus more on the harder and more important concepts. The omission of the easier and less important concepts provides me more time for essay discussion and case study practice. This will not only enhance the students’ understanding of the economic concepts, it will also prevent duplication of my lessons and those conducted in the school to a large extent. Nevertheless, I provide consultation to students on the easier and less important concepts on a need basis.

Question Practice

I possess a large question bank and I go through the questions with the students by dissecting the questions which requires breaking them up into their component parts (i.e. analysis) and then putting them back together (i.e. synthesis). This process enhances the students’ understanding of how the questions are answered in the ways they are answered. As a result, the students are able to understand and remember the answers better. The case study paper requires a great deal of practice to excel in. I give the students in my economics tuition classes a lot of case study questions to practise. I work through the questions with the students with reference to the answer schemes given by the examiners. More importantly, I value-add by improving on the answers, some of them substantially, particularly the evaluations in which some economics teachers seem to have difficulty in providing. I teach the students in my economics tuition classes the skills to answer case study questions such as drawing reference to the extracts and data and the appropriate use of supplementary knowledge. The students are also taught the skills of interpreting and describing economic data. In addition, I highlight to the students in my economics tuition classes the common economic misconceptions made by economics students such as confusion about the difference between ‘change’ and ‘rate of change’. The avoidance of these common economic misconceptions can improve the grade in the examination substantially.

The above is only an outline of my teaching methodology which is a little more sophisticated than what can be described on a web page. Students who are interested in finding out more can contact me for more details.

 

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Economics Tuition Singapore @ Economics Cafe
Principal Economics Tutor: Mr. Edmund Quek