A note from Mr Liau
It is a sad fact that while General Paper has the potential to be the most interesting subject for students, it is often so poorly taught that students have come to fear, even hate, the subject. Over the years, I have noticed that such students have become increasingly anxious about their grades, often looking for formulas, shortcuts and tricks that they hope will help them get that ever elusive ‘A’ grade. In the process, they lose all love for reading, writing and learning about the world. Instead, they memorise examples, use formulaic approaches to tackle questions, and put their faith in rote learning rather than their own ability to think and reason.
At the same time, standards at the A-Level examination have been increasing over the years, with the introduction of more complex questions, tougher passages, and stiffer competition among students who are all receiving tuition of one kind or another, mostly to the tune of $500-$700 a month at brand name tuition centres. The end result has been disastrous for students all around.
Students who rely on formulaic approaches quickly find that many of these formulas are useless in the face of rapidly evolving standards and complex testing methodologies employed by Cambridge. They discover, only too late, that the shortcuts and tricks that they had been betting on cannot truly help them become better writers or thinkers.
Those who end up paying expensive tuition fees do not necessarily receive a better education either. Many such former students have described crammed classrooms, didactic one-way lectures, and formulaic approaches that deaden creativity and kill all inspiration. They explain how the GP tutor that takes their class is often a different person from what was advertised and how lost they felt without any individualised guidance from an experienced tutor.
I have a different perspective. I believe that it is possible to help students score well in their examinations and also develop critical thinking skills at the same time. The reason for this is very simple: the GP A-Level examination itself is becoming more and more a test of critical thinking rather than merely of language skills or the ability to apply formulaic methods.
What makes our classes different
To achieve this, our classes follow a structured approach that teaches core skills while also facilitating lively discussion and interaction. We provide students with ample time to share their views, receive feedback on their ideas, and ask follow-up questions. Through intellectually challenging, and at times humorous, odysseys into different fascinating topics of interest, we seek to intrigue, excite and inspire students. Students who attend our classes not only remember what they learn more effectively, they also learn how to think for themselves, express their own views, and engage in vibrant discussions. For those who feel lost, our goal is to keep them from falling behind by engaging them after class and throughout the year as well.
At the heart of My Mustard Seed is the firm and sincere belief that education should always be affordable for all. Our fees are thus pegged at a reasonable level to ensure that no student is denied an opportunity to receive a sorely-needed education. Students on the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) can contact us for special subsidy arrangements.