Economics tuition field seen through the eyes of the tutor
Economics, being a social science, differ from the physical sciences (such as Physics and Chemistry) in that there is no single law to ensure that a certain outcome will occur. This intrinsic feature of Economics carries forward into the way the subject is tested. For example, Cambridge has recently shifted its approach towards assessing students on their critical thinking and higher-order analytical skills. Questions that used to be straightforward are now re-worded into forms that only students with a more flexible appreciation of the subject can fully comprehend.
To keep up with the increasingly rigorous examination requirements, students can no longer rely on pure content-memorisation or regurgitation of model essays. Instead, Mr Koh focuses on a CAM approach to developing a student’s proficiency in the subject. Lessons start with the “Content” foundation which forms the basic layer of understanding that students need to have in order to answer exam questions. Where possible, acronyms or mindmaps are designed to help student break down and internalise the content more easily.
From the content, we distil out the “Parachute Concepts”, which refer to underlying themes in the content that are usually tested in examinations. Mr Koh’s teaching mantra is that while Cambridge can vary the way their questions are phrased, they cannot test students on concepts which are not in the syllabus. Hence, being able to see through a question to pick out the focus, and subsequently apply the underlying Parachute Concepts is important.
With the main content parts distilled out, “Methodologies” are shared to help students answer related questions more intuitively and more quickly. These methodologies can be thought of as “pre-packed recipes” which contain content, contextual and conceptual analysis and evaluative components to help students achieve maximum marks in their answers. In addition, these structured frameworks help students save time in choosing or planning their answers, which will give them an added advantage in an extremely time-sensitive environment.