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Teachers’ perceptions on the effectiveness of private tutoring in Malaysia

Cet article est une traduction de :
Comment les enseignants perçoivent-ils l’efficacité du tutorat privé en Malaisie ?

Résumé

This paper examines teachers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of private tutoring in Malaysia. Drawing on survey data from Perak, Selangor, and Wilayah Persekutuan, the findings suggest that teachers perceive tutoring to be effective both in increasing academic performances and also in other respects such as developing learning strategies, confidence levels, and critical thinking. However, the data suggests that that the frequency of tutoring does not mean that society does not trust schooling. Teachers perceive that they are making positive contributions in students’ learning, such as making a positive educational difference in the lives of their students and helping even the most unmotivated students learn.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

1Private tutoring is becoming a common phenomenon in Malaysia. In line with the work of Bray (1999), private tutoring is here defined as supplementary instruction outside the formal schooling system, and where a tutor teaches academic subjects for a fee. According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, in 2013 there were 3,107 registered private tutoring centers in Malaysia, with 3.2 percent of the total number of (primary and secondary) students enrolled and 11,967 teachers (MOE, 2013). However, official statistics are not available on those involved in tutoring services outside registered premises.

2Unlike other countries where there have been attempts to ban private tutoring, Malaysian school teachers are allowed to tutor outside school hours to supplement their incomes (MOE, 2006). Previous studies have not focused on the perceptions of teachers on private tutoring. The data from questionnaires presented in this paper provide indications of the ways in which the teachers perceive the effectiveness of private tutoring in various respects. In addition to its focus on academic achievement, the paper also addresses learning strategies, confidence levels, and critical thinking.

Factors that drive private tutoring in Malaysia

3 Private tutoring is becoming a common practice in Malaysia. Kenayathulla (2012) examined data from the 2004–5 household expenditure survey, and found that 20.1 percent of households indicated expenditures on private tutoring. Tan (2011) surveyed 1,600 Form 1 students in eight schools in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur and found that 88.0 percent had received tutoring during their primary schooling.

4Strong interest in private tutoring in Malaysia has partly been a response to the large class sizes that have resulted in less individualized attention by teachers. Many parents believe they have no choice but to send their children to private tutoring to better understand what is taught at school (The Star, 2005a, 2005b). Additionally, the emphasis on examinations encourages the growth of the tuition industry (Arshad, 2004). Cultural factors also contribute to spending on private tutoring. Embedded in the Confucian tradition, Malaysian Chinese parents greatly emphasized learning and academic performance (Agadjanian and Liew, 2006). In this case, they might view spending for tutoring as an additional investment for their children’s academic success. In addition, the existence of affirmative-action policies that prioritize the Bumiputera ethnic group (Malay and indigenous) in educational opportunities contributes to Chinese and Indian parents investing more in private tutoring to ensure that their children excel in examinations to gain entry to local universities (Jelani and Tan, 2012).

5There is a strong perception among parents and students in Malaysia that private tutoring is efficacious (The Star, 2005a, 2005b). In a survey conducted in 1991, about 82.2 percent of students responded that tutoring had allowed them to gain more knowledge, and 62.4 percent indicated that they obtained higher marks as a result of tutoring (Chew and Leong, 1995). However, tutoring might have wide variations in its effectiveness due to the differing natures of the students who attended these classes (Zhang et al., 2013).

Methodology

6Questionnaires were distributed to 2,833 teachers from three states in Peninsular Malaysia’s the Central Region: 220 teachers in Perak, 2,073 teachers in Selangor, and 540 teachers in Wilayah Persekutuan. These questionnaires have been adapted from the research conducted by Bray and colleagues in Hong Kong (Bray, 2013). Stratified sampling was used to distribute the questionnaires to schools in all three states.

Empirical results

Table 1: Demographic information about teachers

 

No.

%

Gender

Female

2,056

73

Male

777

27

Race

Malay

1,854

65

Chinese

550

19

Indian

387

14

Others

42

1

Location

Rural

434

15

Urban

2,399

85

Total

2,833

 

Table 2: Teachers’ evaluations of the effectiveness of different types of private tutoring

Type of private tutoring

Percentage (%)

Mean

No Effect

(1)

Small Effect

(2)

Medium Effect

(3)

Large Effect

(4)

Private one-to-one

2

2

31

65

3.59

Small group

0

3

60

36

3.33

Lecture by tutors (live)

2

21

57

19

2.94

Lecture (video recording)

7

49

36

8

2.46

Internet tutoring

10

45

37

8

2.43

7Table 1 represents the demographic information about the sample. Table 2 shows the teachers’ perceptions of different types of private tutoring. Teachers in all three states perceived one-to-one tutoring to have a large effect. Similarly, small-group tutoring is considered to have a large effect. These types of tutoring are usually more costly and common among those from wealthier families. Internet-style tutoring and lecture-style tutoring either live, by a tutor, or by video recording, are considered to have a medium effect.

Table 3: Teachers’ perception of the effectiveness of tutoring in large classes

Percentage (%)

Mean

Never

(1)

Seldom

(2)

Sometimes

(3)

Often

(4)

Always

(5)

Tutoring helps students to raise exam scores

0

3

39

43

15

3.70

Tutoring improves students’ ability

0

4

41

42

13

3.62

Tutoring focuses on exams

0

3

21

50

26

4.00

Tutoring provides exam tips

0

4

28

45

23

3.87

Tutoring provides exam drills

0

3

26

46

24

3.91

Tutoring helps to build students’ confidence

1

6

36

37

20

3.70

Tutoring helps students to develop learning strategies

1

8

35

40

16

3.63

Tutoring promotes students’ critical thinking

3

15

36

31

15

3.40

Tutoring helps students to cover material that is not covered in class

2

9

35

37

17

3.59

8Table 3 shows the perceptions of teachers on the effectiveness of private tutoring (large classes or tuition centers) in various regards. Teachers perceive tutoring in tuition centers to be often helpful in raising exam scores, improving students’ ability, providing exam tips and exam drills. Teachers perceive that tutoring often or always focuses on exams. Teachers also perceive that private tutoring often helps build students’ self-confidence, develop learning strategies, promote students’ critical thinking and encourage students to cover material that has not been covered in class.

Table 4: Teachers’ perceptions of their contribution as “teachers”

Percentage%

Mean

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

I am making a positive educational difference in the lives of my students

0

2

76

23

3.20

I am able to help even the most unmotivated students learn

0

7

73

20

3.12

I am successful in helping the students in my class learn

0

2

73

25

3.22

I am able to make students follow my instructions

0

2

68

30

3.28

9Table 4 shows that teachers perceive that they are making positive contributions in students’ learning. Teachers agree that they are able to make a positive educational difference in the lives of their students, able to help even the most unmotivated students learn, are successful in helping students learn, and are able to persuade students to follow their instructions.

Table 5: Teachers’ perceptions of their accessibility to students

Percentage (%)

Mean

Never

Seldom

Sometimes

Often

Always

Students are willing to ask me when they have difficulties in learning.

0

4

32

45

18

3.77

When students are not able to catch up, I am willing to provide free after-class lessons.

2

6

36

41

15

3.63

For students who are interested in the subject I am teaching, I am willing to provide free after-class lessons.

3

6

34

40

18

3.64

10Table 5 shows the teachers’ perceptions of whether they are willing to provide additional classes for students who need extra coaching. Teachers perceive that students are often willing to ask when they encounter difficulties. Teachers perceive that they are often willing to provide free after-class lessons for those students who are not able to catch up and those who are interested.

11The findings of this study show that teachers consider themselves as positively contributing to students’ learning. In addition, mainstream schoolteachers are willing to supervise students who need extra coaching. Teachers also perceive that students are willing to approach them when they encounter difficulties. The findings of this research imply that the frequency of tutoring does not mean that society does not trust schooling. Students are still willing to ask their teachers, and teachers are willing to help their students. But teachers consider tutoring as a supplement to mainstream schooling that can help students to excel in the examinations.

12Overall, the data suggests that that the frequency of tutoring does not mean that society does not trust schooling. Teachers perceive themselves as contributing positively to students’ learning. Findings also show that teachers perceive tutoring to often or always focus on exams. With respect to academic performance, the majority of the teachers agree that tutoring often helps students to raise their examination scores, improve students’ ability, and provide examination drills. Although private tutoring explicitly aims to improve school grades and students’ performance, this study also analyzed teachers’ perception of the effectiveness of private tutoring in other aspects. The results indicate that private tutoring often develops learning strategies, builds students’ self-confidence, and promotes students’ critical thinking.

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Bibliographie

Agadjanian, V. and Liew, H. P. (2005). “Preferential Policies and Ethnic Differences in Post-Secondary Education in Peninsular Malaysia.” Race Ethnicity and Education, 8, 2: 213–30.

Arshad, M. (2004). “Amalan Tuisyen Dalam Sistem Pendidikan.” Portal Pendidikan Utusan. http://www.geocities.com/pendidikmy/berita/berita012004.html.

Bray, M. (1999). The Shadow Education System: Private Tutoring and Its Implications for Planners. Fundamentals of Educational Planning No. 61. Paris: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP).

Bray, M. (2013). Benefits and Tensions of Shadow Education: Comparative Perspectives on the Roles and Impact of Private Supplementary Tutoring in the Lives of Hong Kong Students.” Journal of International and Comparative Education, 2, 1: 18–30.

Chew, S. B. and Leong, Y. C. eds (1995). “Private Tuition in Malaysia and Sri Lanka: A Comparative Study.” (Project Directors: T. Marimuthu; W. A. de Silva). Kuala Lumpur: Department of Social Foundations in Education, University of Malaya.

Jelani, J. and Tan, Andrew K. G. (2012). “Determinants of Participation and Expenditure Patterns of Private Tuition Received by Primary School Students in Penang, Malaysia: An Exploratory Study.” Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 32, 1: 3551.

Kenayathulla, H. B. (2013). “Household Expenditures on Private Tutoring: Emerging Evidence from Malaysia.” Asia Pacific Education Review, 14, 4: 629–644.

Ministry of Education Malaysia (MOE) (2006). Bil. No. 1 Year 2006. “Garis Panduan Kelulusan Melakukan Pekerjaan Luar Sebagai Guru Tuisyen atau Tenaga Pengajara Sambilan.”

Ministry of Education Malaysia (MOE) (2013). Private Institution Statistics. http://www.moe.gov.my/bps/.

Tan, Peck Leong (2011). The Economic Impacts of Migrant Maids in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Waikato.

The Star (2005a). “Big Business for Teachers in Urban Areas.” (November 9.) http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/11/9/nation/11580662&sec=nation.

The Star (2005b). “Turning to Tuition Centres.” (November 9.) http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/11/9/nation/11580649&sec=nation

Zhan, S., Bray, M., Wang, D., Lykins, C., and Kwo, O. (2013). “The Effectiveness of Private Tutoring: Students’ Perceptions in Comparison with Mainstream Schooling in Hong Kong.” Asia Pacific Education Review, 14, 4: 495–509.

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« Teachers’ perceptions on the effectiveness of private tutoring in Malaysia », Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres [En ligne], Colloque : L’éducation en Asie en 2014 : Quels enjeux mondiaux ?, mis en ligne le 27 mai 2014, consulté le 22 novembre 2017. URL : http://ries.revues.org/3801

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