PSLE Preparation Beyond Drills

thumb psleWith the milestone national examination barely 6 weeks away, many Primary 6 students islandwide should by now be geared up in their momentum in preparation for the D-day, 27th September.  Preparing for PSLE, or for that matter the many more examinations that our children will go through, goes beyond the endless working on practice papers or workbooks. Click here to read more.

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Word problems - understand problem context first

Solving_thumb.jpgIN the wake of newspaper reports about the relative toughness of the recent PSLE maths paper, an onSponge workshop coach noted the critical need to first understand the problem context. Once that is achieved, applying the method (procedural learning) to derive the solution becomes relatively manageable, and would be similar to other problems tackled in the classroom.

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Tuition Options

thumb tuitionA snapshot by George Campbell, a freelance writer from Birmingham, England, UK. on the various options opened to parents in search of tuition services for their children. George has been a teacher for four years.

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What Makes A Good Story

So what makes a good story ? Read this 2-part essay to understand how students can become better writers and story-tellers. In this, they are advised to follow a narrative structure which all good stories possess, and how they can also find their personal voice to write with confidence and ease.

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Why Students Write Poor Composition

Parents often lament that their children score poorly in composition examinations. Naturally, most of these parents are anxious to try to find out why their children are simply not scoring in their compositions despite the regular library trips or getting supplementary help through various writing workshops and tuition classes. There are several reasons which can account for the poor results suffered by these students.

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Tuition: Choice or necessity?

Tuition_thumb.jpg"IT just makes me feel that I have done my best to prepare my children for stressful examinations", says a parent. No matter whether it is mathematics or Mother Tongue or perhaps every other subject, parents want the best for their children, especially when it comes to' education. This feature story brings together perspectives on tuition from education stakeholders like the Ministry of Education, parents and tutors, why parents hire tutors, and what makes a good tutor. See also story on Tutor hunt: What can you do first as a parent.


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Conquer primary maths problem sums effectively!

IN A recent Singapore Straits Times story, ThinkingMath lead panelist Ammiel Wan shared how he wanted his two sons, aged five and seven, to think critically. This provided the inspiration for the 2006 teacher's guide, Challenging Maths Made Easy published by the Ministry of Education's Teacher's Network. Subsequently, in order to benefit students, onSponge collaborated with him and a panel of consultants to develop the ThinkingMath programme that came online in 2009. This programme for primary school students comprises hardcopy books, electronic and interactive learning.

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Bringing Up Boys

Title: Bringing Up Boys
Author: James Dobson
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
First Published: 2001
Price: US$16
Reviewer: E Charles

Dr Dobson, a leading American child psychologist lays out the role of parents on bringing up boys in this way:

Their assignment during two brief decades will be to transform their boys from immature and flighty youngsters into honest, caring men who will be respectful of women, loyal and faithful in marriage, keepers of commitments, strong and decisive leaders, good workers, and secure in their masculinity.”



This is an objective that few parents would disagree with. But how do we achieve it?

The key lies in the need to understand and respect that boys in general are fundamentally different from girls. Dr Dobson draws attention to this gender difference and what it entails. Boys act the way they do (unlike girls) because of the different way they think about risky behavior. Girls tend to think hard about whether or not they could get hurt, and they are less likely to plunge ahead if there is any potential for injury. Boys, however, will take a chance if they think the danger is worth the risk. Impressing their friends (and eventually girls) is usually considered worth the risk.

In typical uncompromising fashion, Dr Dobson informs parents to accept this fact that “boys are like this because of the way they are wired neurologically and because of the influence of hormones that stimulate certain aggressive behaviour.”

However, Dr Dobson sees the confusion of the role of men in society today to make it ever more challenging for parents and teachers, putting them at a loss about how to bring up boys. He believes that prevailing culture has vilified masculinity…with the result boys are suffering.

This is compounded by the disengagement of parents in our fast-paced and dizzying world through divorce and career demands."

Boys "typically suffer more" from parental neglect and mistreatment than girls "because boys are more likely to get off course when they are not guided and supervised carefully."

In the book, he devotes whole chapters to the importance of healthy father-son and mother-son relationships, the special challenges facing single mothers, and the value of good relationships between children and grandparents.

A culmination of four years of painstaking research, and written in his frank and authoritative manner, it is an advice-packed, sobering but encouraging reference for the parents of boys.


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