The journey of a child from Primary 1 to Primary 6 is filled with rich and varied learning experiences. The goal of primary education, according to MOE SEAB, is not just to equip children with basic literacy and numeracy skills but also to develop their potential and shape them into well-rounded individuals. As such, English tuition should be designed to enhance this holistic growth and prepare students for the rigors of the PSLE English examinations.
One innovative teaching strategy that has gained recognition in recent years is ‘interleaved practice’. Unlike traditional ‘blocked’ or ‘massed’ practice, where students focus on one topic or skill at a time until mastery is achieved, interleaved practice involves mixing or alternating different topics or types of questions within a single study session.
The strength of interleaved practice lies in its potential to improve long-term retention and transfer of skills. When students face a variety of questions in their practice sessions, they are required to constantly recall and apply different strategies. This encourages them to differentiate the subtleties between different question types and deepen their understanding of how to approach each question type effectively.
In the context of preparing for the PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2, interleaved practice has several unique benefits. Firstly, it familiarizes students with a wider range of question types and comprehension passages. This exposure is invaluable in PSLE, where the comprehension passages could span a variety of topics and genres, including narrative, non-fiction, and visual texts.
Secondly, interleaved practice promotes active learning and critical thinking, as it requires students to continually switch between different types of questions and actively recall relevant strategies. This is crucial in developing students’ comprehension skills, as they are taught not only to understand the text but also to infer, evaluate, and draw conclusions from it.
Thirdly, interleaved practice also cultivates resilience and adaptability. It mirrors the unpredictability of the actual PSLE English examinations, where different question types are interspersed throughout the paper. By regularly practicing in such an environment, students are likely to become more comfortable with unexpected scenarios and manage their time and focus more efficiently during the exam.
However, implementing interleaved practice in English tuition should be done with care. It’s essential to maintain a balance where students still get to focus on strengthening their weak areas. The objective should not be to overwhelm the students but to gradually stretch their learning capacities.
Interleaved practice could indeed be a powerful tool in preparing students for the PSLE English Comprehension Paper 2. By thoughtfully integrating this strategy into their teaching approach, tutors can enhance their students’ comprehension skills and readiness for the PSLE English examinations, in a way that aligns with the broader goals of primary education set out by MOE SEAB.