SpiSE has a highly structured tutoring system which it has used for 20+ years to help students excel in Science. This system consists of:
Teaching & Study Techniques
I. Primary, Form 1 -3
Experience and research findings show that students at this stage of their development learn best by first exploring the topic, copying notes from the board and then consolidating that understanding before ending the class. This coupled with examples in everyday life and carefully structured practicals help students to both enjoy Science and come to terms with the need to be concise and precise. For example, few students forget the concept of fractions after slicing cake, sharing chocolate bars, peeling a Portugal (tangerine) and sharing a pizza! Plant propagation is easily taught by going in the garden looking at the various types of plants.
II. Forms 4-6
1. Thorough in-depth coverage of the syllabus
2. Students develop strong, independent study, revision and examination techniques
Specially prepared comprehensive notes, handouts and references will be distributed one week before the tutorial.
Using 1) students must prepare thoroughly for the tutorial by: a) using active learning techniques go through each section of the notes, identifying the significant facts, definitions, theories, examples and exceptions (if any); b) re-draw drawings, diagrams, graphs etc. in the accepted manner; c) identify questions to ask the tutor during the class.
Each session will have two parts: i) the questions students have from 2); and ii) each student will be asked to explain the various aspects of the topic in detail, sketching the relevant diagrams, tables etc. on the whiteboard.
The tutor will summarise the main points of the topic, advice on areas of special emphasis and provide further information/explanations as necessary.
Two files are to be maintained. The first file should contain the comprehensive notes, handouts etc given in 1) and notes made during the class. The 2nd file is to be a summary of the contents of the first file plus notes made from the references. The textbook(s) are not to be copied verbatim. The second file is to be completed 2 weeks after the relevant tutorial with answers to homework questions.
Failure to do the required work will entail either repeating it several times or coming on Sundays. Admittance to the class will be at the tutor's discretion.
The CXC examiners aim by using multiple choice, structured and free response questions to test every part of the syllabus. Therefore it has to be completed before the examination. However, there are some topics that they ask more questions on than others. Analysis of several years of past papers shows which they are. These topics are revised thoroughly starting with those students find most difficult. The revision includes doing past paper questions etc. The other topics are normally covered during January to April when past papers are done to time. SpiSE has developed strategies which ensure that students who use them revise effectively and efficiently.
Effective examination techniques that enable the most challenged student to do their best! This requires the opposite approach to revision. For revision, it is worst first and more time. For examination, it is best first and less time. This means that all the questions on a paper are to be attempted. Leaving the most difficult to the end means that maximum marks are obtained under the circumstances. Being able to utilise such a strategy in an examination takes a lot of discipline and has to be practised before the examination. For up to 5 months for CSEC and two months, each for Unit 1 and Unit 2 of CAPE past papers is done to time. The results are treated as an analytical tool to identify weaknesses that students need to strengthen. This requires coming on Sundays and going back through all the topics and ensuring that they are understood and mastered. Generally, the marks obtained increase steadily. This system in addition to the study and revision techniques has helped all SpiSE students who have used it to excel from Primary school right through to a PhD.
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