Hey! Didn’t I advocate no tuition for my kids? Didn’t I say I place absolute trust in MOE teachers to teach our kids well enough to excel in PSLE? Well, indeed I did and we are still going the NO-TUITION way towards PSLE, just in case you wonder. But while we are doing the revision on our own, it is a good opportunity to review an Enrichment Centre’s program to learn good tips and tricks so that we can use them at home, just like what I shared about the MCE workshops’ precious takeaways!
Heard of Eye Level? Let me introduce to you that Eye Level originates from Korea 30 years ago!! What a long history and still going strong must show something for sure! There are 18 centres in Singapore islandwide. It specialises mainly on Math and English. Eye Level caters to all students of different learning abilities and pace. That’s one thing I like about the flexibility of progressing according to the students’ needs. Eye Level also encourages self-directed learning and one will see that the students here are encouraged to be independent and everything is kind of systematic and has its own place.
Eye Level’s curriculum takes students from the basic motor skills needed for reading and writing, through the building blocks of Grammar, to the more complex concepts that allow the mastery of verbal and written communication.
What Makes Eye Level English Different?
– Fundamental Language Skills : consists of basic language arts and reading with vocabulary.
– Individualized Program : allows students to begin at the point where they are able to work independently with confidence.
– Interesting and Fun : helps to foster students’ interest in reading, writing effectively, and approaches it in a fun, creative way.
Eye Level English guides students in the mastery of English language proficiency through in thematic approaches, repetitive practices, and strategies that combine listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Here are the topics the English program covers:
Eye Level Centre at Square 2 is located at Level 4. It has 2 rooms, one to conduct Math lesson and the other for English. There is a waiting area outside with benches for parents to lounge around waiting for their kids. Not only that, it has a low shelf with toys and books to entertain little ones too. I think that’s very considerate.
Prior to the first lesson, Missy 12 and Master 10 had to take a diagnostic assessment test on a booklet. This is to gauge their level of competency to determine which level they should start with.
Each Eye Level lesson has a duration of maximum 45 minutes. I am totally pleased with this duration as I have learnt from my #30minrevision that kids’ attention span is really just that short. Eye Level recognises that and thus 45 minutes is sufficient to grasp the kids’ full attention and efficiency in learning.
On our first lesson, we signed in attendance via the Tablet at the reception. We were greeted by the friendly Teacher JDrea whom my kids took an immediate liking already when we first met for diagnostic test. She spoke clearly and softly and has a warm smile. I liked her instantly too! I always believe if the kids like the teacher, they will tend to excel in the subject. Considering this is the first time the kids attended an academic enrichment class, I was glad that they had a good experience and thus, would continue for the next 7 sponsored classes. My worries about their reluctance to go for their first academic enrichment class were unfounded!
The kids were brought into 1 of the 2 rooms in the Eye Level Centre at Square 2.
All students have to take off their shoes upon entry and the next thing they do is to find their marked workbooks from previous lesson from the shelf with their names. Then they will each go to their respective study desks which are divided by partitions for privacy. They listen to audio and do assigned exercises.
There is an English curriculum to follow through. Every lesson targets to complete 2 exercises per workbook which is to be brought home as homework. And each workbook has 4 topics and that makes it 1 workbook to be completed within 2 lessons.
During the 45 minutes of lesson, each of the kids is assigned another booklet to be used in class. They are to complete the selected exercises and go to Teacher JDrea to go through their mistakes. This is a 1-1 session of 5-10 minutes whereby the student will have full attention of the teacher to guide him/her through the topic to ensure the student understands the mistakes made. This is akin to what I have done during our weeknights’ 1-1 #30minrevision where I assign Missy 12 to complete some exercises and go through her mistakes right after that. But the difference is that we have now a proper English teacher to help her in her English as opposed to me, an amateur, self-taught English tutor!
Feedback to Parents
You know what? I love to talk to educators, instructors, trainers and facilitators! I get to learn lots of knowledge and even get refreshed and corrected on what I had learnt before! Each time I talk to Teacher Jdrea, I learnt something new in English. I never knew I have got some simple Grammar rules wrong! Sometimes, I feel a tinge of regret that I had not read enough books and spent more time on language. But, it is never too late to learn now, alongside my Missy 12!
When the lesson ended, Teacher JDrea would give me a summary of what the kids had learnt for the day. She bothered to explain in details on each topic of English Grammar that they had covered. I find that very useful to me as I got feedback on which areas each of the kids was weak in and needed more practices. With that, I am able to focus more on their weak areas during our own home revision.
As Eye Level encourages self-directed learning and independence, naturally there will be homework to do. To be frank, the kids were not so keen to do the homework assigned. Who loves homework anyway? They found that there were many Comprehensions to do in the workbook. As much as I could feel for them, I appreciate the many Comprehension practices because it helps to train the kids to understand Comprehension passages and learn how to answer them. By reading more passages, it helps to boost their understanding and exposure to sentence structure and Grammar rules. Only by doing more of such Comprehension practices will one improve the Comprehension segment of the exam paper.
I have heard of many enrichment centres dishing out expensive rewards. I am not so sure if that won’t make the kids materialistic and consequently send the wrong message to these young ones. But Eye Level did it just perfectly. Each of the students is given a reward sticker board. They need to collect about 20+ stickers before they can fill up one board and get to choose a reward gift on the gift shelf. I look through the rewards and they were mainly practical stuff like stationery and small toys. The value of these rewards is not too pricey but enough to motivate the kids to work towards collecting them. I am definitely not for expensive rewards and find such high value rewards tend to desensitise the kids’ idea of what a reward should be. Even for me, I give my kids a small gift of their choice that is within the budget of $20-$30 for the hard work they put in for the whole academic year. I don’t believe in expensive rewards as a motivator.
Before a student proceeds to the next level and a new skill set, an Eye Level instructor will give the student a level test to evaluate if they have achieved mastery of the current material. This constant monitoring of the kids’ competency with close teacher’s guidance during the 1-1 sessions, allowing learning at the kids’ own pace, plus the Feedback from Teacher to Parents and vice-versa are really the strong building blocks to effective learning. Many Enrichment Centres hold big classes which makes learning at own pace impossible. Further, 1-1 sessions are limited or none. With such comparisons, I come to appreciate Eye Level way of helping the students to learn effectively.
Well, stay tune for my next post on more information on Eye Level English Curriculum as well as our verdict of Eye Level Centre!
More information on Eye Level Centre:
Disclaimer: We were invited for 8 English lessons for the purpose of this review. It is a good first time for the kids on academic enrichment class and we have many takeaways in terms of gaining knowledge and intangibles which I shall share in my next post. All in all, I am glad that they have a good experience with Eye Level!