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A necessity or a luxury?

Dear Kru Nan,

I've been married for the past 15 years and I have 2 kids. The first one is now turning 13 while the second one is 10.

As you can see, my kids are growing up and, like many other kids, they like to go to tutoring.

My first child, a boy, wants tutors for extra English and Maths courses. To be honest, I'm not quite sure about this.

Back in the old days, like many of my old school friends, I didn't go to tutors. I just paid attention to what the teachers said in class and studied hard at home.

The results were great: I went to a good school and graduated from a good university with high scores.

Hence, I don't see how paying for tutors is necessary. Could I be wrong? I know it's so competitive in today's world, but wouldn't it be enough if the students study hard in school and at home? Are the existing curricula in school no longer sufficient? Has this become an added expense that all parents need to shoulder?

My husband is the only breadwinner. Sending both of our kids to tutors is an additional burden. What should I do?


Dear Khun Tim,

After reading your letter, I am touched by the feeling that you're very maternal towards your kids.

I fully realise your concern because a lot of parents have been consulting me with the same problem as yours.

Going to tutorial school is not "a must".

The most effective but simplest method of learning for students is paying attention in class, asking questions when they don't understand and then noting significant points to review.

However, I would say that tutoring is like vitamins. Though vitamins are not a necessity, you still have to take them sometimes to avoid nutrition deficiency. Thus, tutoring still plays an important role in Thai education.

Because of discrepancies in teaching methods and extra-curricular activities in different schools, students from different schools achieve varying levels of knowledge though they have taken the same subjects.

Tutoring has become a way for students to intensify their preparation for exams in a short time, with the help of lesson summaries and special techniques from tutors.

However, tutoring is not a magic potion that gives instant knowledge without any effort from the students themselves.

Ask your kids what they are worried about and why they feel they need to go to tutorial school. Let them know how much you care about them and really want to help them get through their problem. You should be open and share with them your family's financial status as well.

If your kids fall behind in class, you might suggest they pay more attention. You may help them with good books and help them search for free tutoring programmes, available all year round. The tutor channel programme, for instance, is one of the TV programmes that provides free tutoring in many subjects. They can also learn from many online resources by using the internet.

Watching English movies, listening to English songs, reading English books and joining English language activities such as speech clubs can help them improve their English skills. Above all, these activities don't cost much; sometimes they're free!

Last but not least, don't forget to encourage them to have faith and confidence in themselves that they can achieve everything if they try hard. You may give examples of famous people like Bill Gates, or Gandhi to make them have a clearer picture.

Cheer up, Khun Tim.

Kru Nan


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