Category Archives: Misc

Really busy revamping my resources

I did not have much time updating my website as currently I am busy lecturing and conducting lessons during day time and giving private tuition in the evening and weekends. Basically I am physically in a lesson for more than 40 hours a week, excluding all the time spent during my “free” time preparing for lessons.

Currently I am busy revamping my H2 Math worksheets, trying to create worksheets through my own coaching style and selecting questions from various top school’s tutorials. I am not sure if this new style of worksheet will help alot in student’s learning but the initial feedback from my students have been positive.

Basically instead of just arranging questions based on level of difficulty, I am creating worksheets with questions whereby similar questions are grouped together. This set of worksheets serve as a quick refresher course for students, especially on the topics that hasn’t been covered for some time, before venturing into exam level questions.

For example, I will group all the questions in vectors related to calculating angles in one section. This is to let students see what are the possible questions about angles that can be asked (angles between vectors, lines, planes and mixture) and also to see that certain concepts are actually almost identical, hence there is no need to memorise blindly as if they are totally different.

It is actually a challenge to prepare students for exams in just 4 to 6 lessons when there are still ongoing topics in school and students basically forgot the stuff taught ages ago. So hopefully my refresher worksheets achieve the objective of “effective revision of fundamentals in the minimal time possible”.

One should have dreams and also the courage to pursue it.

This is taken from Straits Times Youth Forum:

My opinion is that if you have a dream you must also have the courage to work for it. Having a dream but being scared to pursue it will not result in success. So what probably schools can do is to encourage and equip students with skills to pursue their dreams. However we should not “blame” the ministry or schools if we lack of the courage in the first place.

Again this student is just 14 years old and has yet to see things in a broader prospective of the country’s needs and why academic excellence has still got its importance in this society.

Ethics and values are more important than grades.

Time for a life lesson you will never forget, Amos Yee.

It is fine to want to be famous. But one must do it in an ethical way and responsible way. Some may say he is just a kid but at 17 years old he should be sensible enough to bear consequences for his own actions.

Not sure what will happen to him, I think making him to do many many hours of CIP in public is a better option than simply throw him into boy’s home.

I refused to watch his video as I think it is a waste of my time and an insult to my intelligence. I believe whatever argument he wants to bring out is merely parroting what people have said online, he is not mature enough to even understand local issues.

Respect is not just about making physical appearance

What matters more is that we continue to take good care of Singapore, carry on the principles of doing what’s best for the country and practice them, pass them on to the next generation.

Visiting him but making a mess is not a form of respect in my opinion. A citizen who never visit him personally at the Parliament House but makes an effort to make Singapore a cleaner place is showing more respect IMO.

JC or Poly?

New Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation

**Images courtesy of PJC and Ngee Ann Poly**

This question has been on the minds of students, especially those who received their O level results and are eligible for both options. Even students who enrolled in to A level course recently may wander if they should switch to polytechnic to join the October semester.

As a former JC Math teacher and current polytechnic adjunct lecturer, I believe I am in a good position to provide some of my personal opinions on the differences between the systems to let you decide which course suits you or your child best.

1. Nature of course

A level course focuses more on general theory of each subjects, with little practical applications for the Sciences through lab sessions. Polytechnic focuses more on practical applications using industrial technology and work skills one would need in the practical world. They do teach theories but on more focused topics that are required by each diploma.

E.g. In terms of Mathematics: A level students learn a variety of topics t, such as sketching of curves involving transformation, to the loci of complex numbers. Polytechnic students will not study much of curve sketching nor will they study loci of complex numbers. Instead engineering students will focus more on calculus which is beyond JC H2 Math syllabus, such as second order differential equation (H3 Math) or using Laplace Transform (Uni year 1).

2. Specialised vs General certification

From point 1, due to the nature of the syllabus, a polytechnic diploma is a more specialised certification compared to A levels. That is why students with diploma certificates are actually “work ready”, especially when internship is a must for most, if not all students. A level students will be trained to have a wealth of knowledge but probably not in how to apply them in real life industries or work.

This also leads to the point that a diploma holder may have less options in the choice of university courses as they have sufficient content for their diploma course but may not have sufficient knowledge for another course. A level students, having vast knowledge across many subjects may have more options to choose their course. Hence I believe the “myth” that A level students has a higher chance of making it to university is true to a certain extent.

3. Quality of certificate

A level certificate is issued by Cambridge, one of the top authority in the education field. While polytechnic diplomas are awarded by individual polytechnic. In terms of grading, A student scoring an ‘A’ may be the real deal as this ‘A’ is awarded based on tens of thousands of students taking the same exam and graded together. For polytechnics, the grades are awarded most likely based on the cohort in the same course only, also the grades are controlled by the polytechnic (where moderation is common), hence a student scoring an ‘A’ may not be as good as a student scoring ‘A’ through A level system.

This is partly why more vacancies may be allocated to A level students (at least for the Big 3) compared to polytechnic students having equivalent grades, and also why university requires polytechnic students to be scoring a relatively high GPA before they can qualify for the university course.

4. Exam system

A level system works by a student study for 2 or 3 years and sit for a 1 time exam and the grades depend on that 1 sitting. This meant that a student has alot of content to prepare but also more time for the exam. It is a “do or die” system since each student has only 1 chance.

Polytechnic system works in the same way as university whereby each student takes approximately 5 modules and they will sit for an exam after 4 months. Every exam will be counted towards their GPA. This meant that each student may have less content to prepare for each exam (compared to A level student) but they have less time to prepare also. Students striving to do well must be consistent in their 3 year course compared to the 1 chance 1 sitting system.

5. Environment

JC / MI is a uniformed institution and hence the level of discipline there will be much higher than in polytechnics. E.g. students must wear their uniform neatly, not allowed to wear make up, dye hair etc. Compared to polytechnic students who basically can wear whatever they like and put as much makeup as they want. This has a big impact in the study environment and the upbringing of the student.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that polytechnic students are worse than A level students, just that I have seen a fair share of polytechnic students simply not bothered to come to school, despite their parents paying thousands a year. In JC / MI, the teachers will play a bigger role of monitoring the students’ behaviour and enforcement of discipline and upbringing.

6. Conclusion

Some people have the “myth” that polytechnic is a good place to “escape” and slack compared to the A level system. I think which system suits a student depends on whether 1) Is the student a “theory” or “hands on” type. 2) Does the student clearly knows what he wants to study or work in the future. 3) Can the student cope with “volume based” examination (A level) compared to modular system? 4) Is the student mature, self – disciplined and independent to ensure that he / she study well and not be strayed away?

There is no clear cut answer but hopefully after my sharing you or your child can make a better decision.