By Felicia Lee
Singapore's education system is frequently thought of as a mould that produces the same kind of students across the board.
However, as a tutor who has interacted with numerous students over the years, I've come to realise that students think and behave differently. As a result, they should be nurtured differently to bring out the best in them.
All it takes is a little patience and effort to tease them apart instead of thinking that they are all one and the same. This will help to play to the students' strengths.
Here are five broad categories students fall into and the ways teachers and tutors can approach them:
1. The rule follower
This is arguably the most prevalent type of student that teachers meet. They obey instructions and do not question most of the time.
Their results may be average, but their disciplined attitude is commendable.
How to manage them: Provide clear instructions for them to follow. Let them have a grasp of what is required of them so that they can become more confident and independent.
2. The introvert
This student is shy and timid towards both teachers and peers. Airing opinions and asking questions aloud never crossed this student's mind. Yet at the same time, the hidden gem is not easily uncovered.
How to manage them: Contrary to popular belief that the introvert should be left to his or her own devices, it is all the more important to invest significant time and effort in them. Focus attention on them in small doses. And then give them space to learn and reflect on their own will allow them to recharge.
3. The perpetual sleepyhead
Yawning all the time, looking dazed and responding tardily are symptoms of the sleepyhead.
They get bored and turned off by the overwhelming mountain of homework piling on top of their heads.
How to manage them: Poor time management and incessant distractions have prolonged the working hours of the sleepyhead. Luckily for parents though, this problem can be easily overcome through planning and enforcing a timetable that instills discipline on the sleepyhead.
4. The inquisitive learner
This is the type of students teachers may shower with care and attention since their diligence and natural curiosity have enabled them to ask intelligent questions and achieve good grades. Parents are proud of them and peers look up to them.
Seemingly, they are well-placed to be the future leaders, but are there other qualities they need to learn?
How to manage them: They might need to take a step back and let their peers have a chance to participate. Teach these kids how to give and take. This is a form of trading that will serve them well later on in life. It's an important trait to learn from young.
5. The heedless soul
The lack of interest and attention inherent in this type of students may pose as a daunting task to parents and teachers alike.
How to manage them: It boils down to interests and what can hold the student's attention. Some kids are more likely than others to be practitioners or hands-on craftsman. Being task-oriented, like making something from scratch, might be better at holding their attention.
And the truth is we need diversity in our society. Students are no exception.
At the same time. we should help them to gain a better understanding of the value of knowledge and wisdom, elements that are increasingly indispensable.
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