A new OECD report, based on results from the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment survey, has a somewhat surprising answer. Quality Time for Students: Learning In and Out of School finds that 15-year-old students in countries that perform well in PISA spend less time, on average, in after-school lessons and individual study, and more time in regular school classes, than students in countries that are poor performers in PISA.
Read the blog post: After-school lessons: A good investment?
Tell us your experience as an educator or parent if you think after-school lessons are a good investment or not.
These findings could put a lot of after-school programs out of business.
I have found that one-to-one extra tuition can help get over a particular learning stumbling block, but it should not be systematic.
It's nice to know we don't have to feel guilty about spending our money and time rather on more fun and cultural activities.
This would certainly support the growing belief in the expat community in France that parents should release some of the pressure on kids with regard to academic performance. We already know that French kids spend more time in school than most other countries. We also know that most kids in 11th and 12th grades have extra support in maths and sciences to get through their BACs (particularly if they are following the science BAC). I knew no child who did not have after-school lessons when my daughter was preparing for the BAC (in an elite high school), and to the teachers, this was absolutely normal (which was not normal to me - for as the PISA report seems to indicate, after-school lessons can lead to a greater socio-economic divide - which is on the rise in France, according to PISA 2009).
I understand that parents want to give their children the best possible start on life, but I rest convinced that children in high academic performance situations need to have time to read for pleasure, do sports, listen to and practice music, and decompress. I remain to be convinced that greater learning comes from more hours of cramming.
In sum, I heartily agree that the answer lay not in providing great after-school lessons, but increasing the quality of courses inside the classroom.
I completely agree that the quality of in class/school education is the most important, particularly when school is from 9-4:30pm or 8:30-4:30pm from Kindergarten and up. However, I do believe that, as someone mentioned previously, that after school tuition should be used as and when needed to get through stumbling blocks. My nephew was struggling with is mathematics, and a semester of Kumon tutoring after school helped significantly. Also, I believe that after school extracurricular activities, which are sports/arts/culturally oriented, as long as they are meant for recreation or cultivating a skill, ARE important to the development of the whole child, especially if these activities are not covered well in school.
It is true that out-of-school lessons can make a significant difference but there's also a risk of overburdening kids with long days and extra homework.
It would seem, then, that what is most urgently needed is a vast improvement in the quality of school lessons.
There is much more to life than success at school - so it is good to know that spending time on non-academic activities is not only life-expanding but can also help boost school results!
This really is up to whether that students is doing activities that are what people call "life lessons" I guess
Tutoring in individual subjects according to the student's need is a good idea. But systematic after hours learning in all subject matter - for the sole purpose of doing well on a test (and keeping the kids out of their parents' hair) - is not.
I find those findings really surprising. Do the Shanghai students who outperformed all others in the latest PISA findings spend less time in after-school lessons?
Or, are the students in the better performing countries spending more time in school than those in the countries that didn't do so well?
I have seen too many cases of non-qualified 'techers' passing themselves off as the answer to a child's academic miseries. This serves essentially to empty parents' purses and can also add to a child's sense of failure. So, high quality teaching, restricted to short periods can be helpful. But subject many parents to what their children are enduring and I'm sure they'd soon put a stop to extra-curricular coaching!
This topic really fires me up because I AM one of the students taking after-schools lessons.
I'm not all optimistic about the after-school lessons. I learn a lot from it. I live in South Korea by the way. And I have also lived in United Kingdom for about a decade.
In my experience, moving to Korea has made my school time table a lot longer. I used to finish school by 3pm but here, I have to study atleast until about 11pm. First, I thought it was too harsh on the students but after a few years, I got used to it and comparing to the schools that are not taking after-school lessons, we accumulate more knowledge. Especially Mathematics and Science. Some of the negative opinion I see is overburdening children and over excessive homework. However, in every child, one has the stamina to learn more and by taking after-school lessons, you will get LESS homework because you would have finished your homework you have received fundamentally in your normal lessons.