5 costly mistakes most PSLE parents make when teaching their child

by Jervin Lim, posted on May 29, 2016

Often parents will guide their PSLE child for math, here are 5 Costly mistakes most PSLE Parents make when teaching their child.

crushed paper

1. Sticking to the same tutor/School supplementary classes after a long period of time
If your child has not been doing well for Math for a long period of time and have been under the same tutor and subject teacher in school, it means your child do not learn well under them. If you are in such situation, it’s advisable to switch tutor and if schools have additional supplementary lessons conducted after school, do not let your child attend. If your child does not learn well under the subject teacher, why subject him to more of the same after school?

‘The primary reason for failure is that people do not develop new plans to replace those plans that didn't work’
- Napoleon Hill

2. Not being familiar with the subject content and how marks are allocated
If a parent decides to tutor his or her own child, and if he or she does not master the content, it will demoralize the child and may even use it as an excuse to not understand the concept. To teach your child, you have to know the content, to be able to teach and coach your child well for the Math, you must be familiar with the answer requirements. Equip yourself with the latest answering workings and techniques in Maths problems. If you wish to guide your child in Science, not only you must know the content, you must also know the topical key words, key concepts and why certain answers will get full marks, while other answers score only partial marks.

3. Not being competent enough to teach your child
A good way to test your own competency is to “sit” for the Exam Papers yourself, within time constraints. If you find that there are many questions you are not able to answer yourself, or if you fail to complete the paper within the time limit, it may be a sign that you are not the best person to teach and guide your child to do well for PSLE. (Some parents will make their own careless mistakes despite nagging at their child not to.)

4) Spamming past year exam paper.
Most parents and this point of time chose to let their child focus on practicing exam paper, especially for Math. However, right now the focus should be building up on areas of weaknesses and not recycle the same mistakes your child makes. A tip is to list out all of your child’s errors after every paper, and find the reason for the mistakes. Here are some of the more common mistakes: Copying the wrong number. Converting to wrong units, Failure to write units, Poor allocation of time etc. Write them down. Find which are the top 3 error types, discuss with your child, ask him how he could avoid them. By doing this a few rounds, the careless errors could be greatly reduced.

5) Not setting a good enough example.
If a parent is teaching the child, but halfway through the lesson, the parent procrastinates and get distracted (e.g. she calls her friend over the phone to have a chit-chat) do you think the child will be motivated to work? If parents do not show full commitment, the child won’t be too committed either


About Jervin Lim

Jervin Lim giving a talk

Jervin Lim is an author, motivational speaker and academic coach. Having impacted over thousands of students through his book, talks and academic coaching programs, he is well sought after for study skills and motivational courses.

Jervin was a typical playful and rebellious child in his younger days.  He spent more time playing than studying.  Thinking he could easily catch up with his school work, he often studied only a few days before his examinations. Of course, this happy-go-lucky attitude had a detrimental effect on his academics as he progressed through his academic journey. Beyond his academics, he was talent spotted and competed at school, club and national level. His hectic training schedule coupled with his slack studying attitude was a recipe for disaster.  He scored poorly in his “O-level” preliminary examinations.

Then came a turning point in his life when he understood that success can only happen with hard work, learning from failures and persistence. Incorporating these values in his study methods, Jervin went on to achieve 6A1s in his “O-level” examinations despite having started studying only a few months prior. His stellar results gained him admission into Raffles Institution (JC), one of the most prestigious schools in the country. With his zest for life, he managed to balance passion with work and also went on to graduate with 6As in his “A-level” examinations.

Now, he is committed to impart his proven and tested study system to both parents and students as he is a firm believer that Academic Success is not a result of one’s individual effort, but a collaborative effort by schools, parents, friends and the student.


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