Dana’s TLL English Folder, adorned with stickers from her TLL teacher each week!
Towards the third quarter of Primary One last year, we realized Dana was under-performing in English. She couldn’t thread together a fluent, engaging piece of composition and was struggling with spelling. Tried as we could, we were not able to translate her voracity for reading into good writing. She was starting to lament that she was lousy (in English).
We decided we had to do something to raise her morale before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We enrolled Dana in The Learning Lab’s English class after reading glowing testimonials on their website and interacting with the team at a media event.
Fast-forward half a year later, I can safely say we are pleased with our decision. Her recent piece of writing (a piece of homework which she wrote at home unassisted) incorporated many good phrases and skills she had picked up from her TLL English class. In fact, when Dana first showed me that composition, I even asked if she had copied it from somewhere. (How faithless I was!). Turned out, it was her own effort, 100%. She is still far from being a prolific writer but we are happy that in less than a year, she had improved leaps and bounds.
Words of encouragement from the TLL teacher and intrinsic motivation go hand in hand…
A browse through her TLL folder shed light on why TLL continues to be the industry thought leader in offering premium enrichment lessons. The content is rich and directly relevant to the current affairs happening in the world. This prepares our children to be world-ready. The TLL curriculum also introduces students to great authors and great books systematically to inspire the love for lifelong learning. I commented to David that many of the skills taught in TLL are far more advanced than what our daughter would have exposed to in the ordinary classroom. I especially like the fact that TLL devotes substantial time and attention to Grammar and Language Mastery in their curriculum, helping kids like Dana get their foundational building blocks right from young.
For parents who are keen to know what every P1-2 child learn at a TLL English Class, here’s a glimpse:
For composition, they were taught how to plan and organize their essays; how to inject expressive vocabulary by using their 5 senses and to incorporate the use of literary skills such as personification and onomatopoeia to add depth to the descriptions. At the end of each composition exercise, they would be given a suggested response to read and conclude their own reflection points. I find this really helpful for young children.
Learning to use idioms in the composition writing…
For comprehension, they are taught how to deduce the meaning of new words from context, and develop skills of prediction by bracketing clues and making inference. I am most happy that Dana is exposed to expository texts focusing from current affair issues and excerpts from well-known literary texts.
Using language as a means to make sense of what’s happening in the world around us…
For oral skills, they are given ample opportunities to develop good presentation techniques and confidence in using pitch, pause, expression and clear enunciation. Just last week, Dana presented on the topic of “Our Family’s Favourite Cuisines”. There is strong emphasis given to strengthen students’ mastery of grammar in every lesson.
Grammar and vocabulary as fundamental building blocks of literacy…
We are not surprised Dana looks forward to her TLL lessons every week. The smaller class size enables the teachers to give the students individualized attention (even the remarks on the homework are so encouraging). Every lesson is so interactive and stimulating, building on the resources specially curated and produced by the TLL team. We are constantly impressed by the quality of learning materials she brings home every lesson.
Many friends have asked us for our feedback of TLL. We’ve decided to shed some insights of TLL’s pedagogical approaches with you in this post, from the ‘inside-out’: we asked some of the common questions parents have of TLL and share with you replies right from the mouths of TLL’s curriculum planners and teachers.
From The English Curriculum Unit About TLL
1. What differentiates TLL from the other enrichment/tuition centers?
We nurture the love for learning in our children, and go beyond academics. With dedicated curriculum teams that write material from scratch, we update our materials every week, injecting current affairs and iconic figures so as to expose the children to global affairs, and to also keep it relatable and applicable for them. Our students tend to also be more interested and engaged because of this aspect.
2. What are TLL teacher’s qualifications?
They are all university graduates from top schools both locally and overseas – amongst them are several Ivy League graduates. They bring with them extensive experience. Our teachers undergo a rigorous in-house training program, and are mentored by senior teachers throughout their career.
3. Where do TLL primarily get their teaching materials?
We get inspiration and content from renowned news publications that include New York Times, Washington Post. We also use excerpts from good storybooks.
Using reputable publications to stimulate students’ interest…
4. Is Learning Lab for everyone? If yes, how does TLL ensure that every child in the class is on par? If not, at what point should I consider TLL for my children?
Yes, TLL is for every child. At TLL, we adopt a customised system where teachers will customise the pacing of the lessons according to individual class needs. Ultimately, our goal is for the child to reach his/her full potential.
5. How does TLL engage their students to make learning fun?
We inject current affairs, what’s trending in Singapore, and around the world. Students are engaged in various lesson elements that include: presentation skills (emphasised every lesson), relevant videos / media studies, storytelling and role play. Our nurturing TLL teachers play a big part in delivering the best lesson experience to the child too.
Appreciating poetry and learning to write one…
6. What competitive edge do TLL students possess over their peers?
TLL students will develop a lifelong love for learning, and graduate with exceptional academic skills. A TLL student is confident, inquisitive, and does well in school and in everyday life.
7. Do you still run pre-enrolment assessment tests?
Yes, we do. Applicants who are unable to provide us with any school exam results will need to sit for our Pre-Admission Quiz. Our Pre-Admission Quiz has been designed to ensure suitable class placements, and an assignment of teachers who will be able to adequately address your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
From Dana’s P2 English teacher at TLL
1. How does TLL’s EL curriculum complement MOE’s?
Our curriculum is designed to reflect the latest trends in school examinations and we ensure that all components of importance that are tested in MOE schools are covered in our curriculum.
2. What are the core language competencies a P2 student will develop at TLL?
A P2 student at TLL will be able to develop a strong grammar foundation, key writing techniques in both school compositions and creative writing, oral communication skills, as well as comprehension skills and cloze passage skills.
Using contextual clues to predict words in cloze passages…
3. What are your favorite EL lessons taught in TLL?
I enjoy conducting every English lesson actually as they are always fun and current. I think I would have to say I enjoy teaching cloze passages to my students, especially where we have taken an excerpt from a book. It is a great way to introduce them to new authors and genres as well as go through some vocabulary and grammar skills. The students get excited and can’t wait to go and borrow the book.
One memorable lesson that I taught my P2s was on canine blood banks. The students found it quite interesting and they had so many questions. The students had to answer if they had owned a dog, would they take their dog to donate blood and to give their reason. They were very compassionate in their answers, worrying about their dog’s safety or trying to help as many dogs as possible.
Using multimedia to inject realism and fun in the classroom…
Come speak to TLL at Smart Kids Asia 2016!
The Learning Lab will be participating in Smart Kids Asia 2016.
Come on down to immerse yourself in The Learning Lab Experience. You will have the chance to speak with the senior teachers, curriculum specialists, TLL parents, and TLL alumni. There will be exciting activities for your children too at SKA:
1. Fun puzzles and games in every subject.
2. TLL Stage Game – “Are You Smarter Than A TLL Kid?” Come challenge yourself with examples of the TLL curriculum questions and win exciting prizes!
3. The Learning Lab Lesson Experience – Let your children experience an hour of a TLL class. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1QV31Pe
Enrol in classes during the event to enjoy event-only exclusives such as complimentary Kidzania SG tickets!
Register now – http://bit.ly/1V65E0C and receive an exclusive e-book of essays written by TLL students! You’ll also stand to receive a TLL goodie bag if you’re one of the first 500.
Disclaimer: The choice of sending children to enrichment classes is a very personal one. Some parents are against it and we totally respect that. We have seen Dana’s progress under TLL’s tutelage and are merely sharing our honest, personal opinions.