The method of learning known as interleaved practice is gaining traction in educational circles across the globe, and this includes PSLE English tuition centres in Singapore. As an advanced pedagogical strategy, interleaved practice involves mixing up different types of questions or topics during a study session, as opposed to focusing on just one type of question or topic at a time (known as blocked practice). The underlying principle of this approach is to enhance problem-solving skills and long-term retention of knowledge, thus making students more prepared and adaptable when they face the varied questions in the PSLE examinations.
Interleaved practice in PSLE English tuition is designed and implemented in compliance with the MOE SEAB English syllabus. It is not an isolated approach but an integral part of a comprehensive English learning program. The mixed problem practice aligns with the objectives of the MOE SEAB English syllabus, aimed at developing students’ ability to understand, interpret, and infer from a variety of texts, along with effective oral communication, and good writing skills.
Many forward-thinking PSLE English tuition centres are starting to integrate interleaved practice into their teaching routines. They understand that traditional teaching methods, which often involve blocked practice – focusing on one topic until it is understood before moving to the next – may not always be the most effective way to encourage deep, lasting learning.
These tuition centres using interleaved practice are keen on fostering dynamic learning environments where students encounter diverse question types and topics within a single study session. One moment, students may be discussing the themes and messages in a comprehension passage. The next, they might be analysing the structure and language features of a model composition. This could be followed by an exercise on vocabulary and idiom usage, then a brainstorming session for essay writing.
The use of interleaved practice in PSLE English tuition centres caters to the wide-ranging topics and question types prescribed by the MOE SEAB English syllabus. From listening comprehension to oral communication, writing, and reading comprehension, the curriculum is vast and varied, necessitating an approach that can encompass this breadth and depth. Interleaved practice offers just that, providing students with a more holistic understanding of the English language.
However, implementing interleaved practice effectively requires expertise and a thorough understanding of both the MOE SEAB English syllabus and the learning capacities of primary school students. Tuition centres need to ensure they are not overloading students with information, which can potentially lead to cognitive overload. There is a fine balance to strike – making learning sessions varied enough to challenge students and enhance their problem-solving abilities, but not so complex that students become overwhelmed and disengaged.
Experienced tutors at these PSLE English tuition centres will monitor and guide students closely through this learning process, providing support and feedback to ensure students’ comprehension and abilities are progressing. They adapt the pacing and content of each session according to individual students’ learning speeds and styles, making the most of the interleaved practice approach.
To further optimise the benefits of interleaved practice, tuition centres often complement it with other effective learning techniques, such as spaced repetition (where reviews are spaced out and become less frequent over time), and retrieval practice (where students practice remembering and retrieving information from their memory).
It’s also worth noting that while there are PSLE English tuition centres utilising interleaved practice, not all do. Interleaved practice might not be explicitly mentioned, but if a centre uses a varied approach to teaching and encourages a comprehensive understanding of different topics in each session, it is likely applying this method.
Interleaved practice is a powerful pedagogical tool that can greatly benefit students preparing for their PSLE English examinations, and it is being utilised by an increasing number of tuition centres. As with any learning method, the effectiveness of interleaved practice will depend on the student’s individual learning style, the expertise of the tutor, and the overall learning environment. Therefore, it is important for parents to do their research and choose a tuition centre that not only uses interleaved practice but also aligns with their child’s learning needs and preferences.