HK Magazine Archive

The Kelly Yang Project Busts the Tutoring Myth

The Myth: “We need to hire a tutor for every subject”.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 March, 2016, 4:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:59pm

The Expert
Kelly Yang, founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading after-school writing and debating center for students.    

How True is It?
“After-school learning is definitely more the norm than the exception in Hong Kong,” says Yang. “It’s one of those facets of life here that we love to do and love to complain that we do.”

But she doesn’t believe tutors should be seen as a must. “Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or trying to sell you something,” she says. Rather, such lessons should be turned to as a potential way to kindle a child’s passion and thirst for learning. There are times, particularly when it comes to subjects like debate, or Chinese or writing, that a good learning center can provide the right spark.

After-school lessons can also give you more control over your child’s education, particularly when you’re faced with situations such as a bad teacher at school, which you can do little to change.

What To Do
After-school lessons can be beneficial when it comes to subjects difficult to replicate at home, like debate or language courses—and can also incorporate a social aspect. “Some children learn better in a small group environment,” says Yang. “That’s because learning is a social activity and it can be more fun when it’s in a group. Humans are also competitive by nature, so sometimes seeing another kid finish an essay early instills an urge to finish too.”

What Not To Do
If you’re deciding on potential after-school centers or tutors, don’t automatically assume that those charging the most are necessarily the best. “You really have to look at the individual teacher,” says Yang. “Talk to them and get a sense of who they are and why they’re in this.”