Pupils who go to tutorial classes after school have a lower reading ability and understanding of their subjects than pupils who do not go to tutorial classes.
This is one of the surprising findings of a study conducted in Macau by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Centre for Advancement of Chinese Language Education and Research, where 865 Primary 4 pupils, 1,087 Primary 6 pupils and 744 Form 6 secondary pupils took part.
The results were announced Thursday at the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DESJ).
Prof. Tse Shek Kam, who headed the study, said that pupils usually have to do their homework, revise the things that they have learnt in school or simply prepare for the next day’s lessons, so instead of actually understanding the materials, Tse indicated that pupils might grow bored of reading and learning.
He added that many secondary school pupils do not have time to read because of the increasing burden of homework, spending too much time revising for tests and exams and extra curricular activities.
He also said that many parents don’t spend time reading to their children. “Parents do not really show that much interest in their kids’ reading abilities especially when they are at kindergarten age, but this period is the most crucial,” said Tam.
Tse suggested that in order to develop more academically bright pupils, Macau’s education system should focus more on developing a pupil’s creativity and critical thinking.
The professor also advised teachers to focus less on textbook material when teaching pupils because textbooks are full of information, which teachers tell pupils to memorise rather than thoroughly understand.
“For example, after teaching new materials [i.e. in history], a teacher can try to use new methods to let students understand the subject such as having pupils re-enact the materials [i.e. stage plays] rather than having them write reports,” Tse was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying.(macaunews)