There are many schools of thought on how Mathematics should be taught (and learned). Growing up, I was taught to just memorise steps for solving questions by heart. As long as I remember which step leads to what, I did not need to wonder about the why and how of mathematics. In fact, I was discouraged to question it in class.
Back then, the focus on learning mathematics was on speed. As students, we were expected to be able to solve x number of questions in the shortest time possible, regardless of whether or not we understood what we were doing. This has been the basis of many mathematics classes around the world. Students were just supposed to remember the process of solving a problem, and then train themselves to execute it as quickly as possible.
Common as it is, does this method really help pupils understand (or like) mathematics though? If it is effective, why do so many students get imaginary headaches the moment they look at a math problem?
In this article, we will share another concept used in the teaching and learning of mathematics: the CPA Approach. This approach was developed by American psychologist Jerome Bruner, who proposed it as a way of scaffolding learning. He believed that learning can be difficult to children if it’s all abstract.
For example, if you present a child with a textbook full of information and just expect them to remember everything, it will be very difficult for them to do so. It’s like giving directions to a stranger in town, who has no idea where he is or how anything looked like, and expecting him to be able to find his way around with purely verbal instructions. Instead of that, Bruner suggested that abstract concepts in learning should be accompanied by concrete and tangible aids. When students are able to visualise how mathematical concepts work in real life, their understanding of the subject will be strengthened, leading to more effective learning.
There are three stages in the CPA Approach: concrete, pictorial, and abstract.
The concrete stage is also known as the “doing” stage. Students are encouraged to use real life objects to model mathematical concepts. For example, let’s say they’re learning about addition. They could be handed a set of Lego blocks, and then given the question: what is the sum of 2+1. In this case, they would be asked if they should add 1 block to 2 existing blocks, or should they remove the blocks. Since it’s addition, the correct answer would be adding a new block to the existing ones. This hands-on approach allows pupils to improve logical reasoning and thinking skills, and helps them form a connection in their brains about the application of addition in math.
The concrete stage is very important, as it helps students build their fundamental understanding on how mathematics works, before proceeding to deeper equations.
The next stage is the pictorial stage, which is also called the “seeing” stage. As the name suggests, this stage involves students creating visual representations to model the problems that they’re working on. For example, if a question asks about removing 4 apples from a basket of 10, students are encouraged to draw it out to solve the problem.
One concept that can be introduced in this stage is the Bar Model, where students create visuals using bars. It is a more abstract method for representing numbers, compared to actually drawing out objects that are involved in children’s mathematical questions. This model acts as a bridge between the pictorial stage and the abstract stage, as students slowly transition from literal visuals (like fruit) to more abstract ones (like bars). Because it is very versatile, and only requires pencil and paper, it is very useful for students during classes and exams. The Bar Model can be applied to solve questions related to the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), fractions, and algebra.
The final part of the CPA approach is the abstract stage. This stage can only be taught when students have demonstrated a solid understanding of the first two stages. In the abstract stage, teachers can now introduce actual mathematical symbols (e.g +, -, x, ÷, ≥, ≤ etc) and numerals in problem solving. If students have built a solid foundation from the two earlier stages, they should be able to solve mathematical questions using numbers and symbols easily.
Tying it all up
While there are many ways that kids can learn math, the CPA approach has been shown to be extremely helpful. In fact, it is so helpful that it was designated as the mandatory teaching method for mathematics in Singapore. The CPA approach does not need to be limited to math; it can be applied to other subjects and topics as well. Since kids have a limited vocabulary and understanding of complex words, visual representations are a great way to introduce new concepts to them. The next time your child is unable to solve a question, try this approach, and see if it works. All the best!
As teachers, we often have to come up with exercises and tests to make sure our students learn effectively. However, not all kids take their assignments seriously. Here are some cases where students get D for accuracy, but A+ for creativity.
When running a learning centre such as a tuition centre or kindergarten, the livelihood of the business depends on the number of students who signs up and stays with you. It is a no brainer that as the number of student increases, the greater the revenue / profit is. However, what comes next is a bigger challenge – getting parents to pay on time. Ultimately, this is a hurdle that most if not all education centres face. Unlike other businesses such as a gym, you probably would not deny the student entry into the class because his / her parent has not cleared their fees.
For centres who collect their lesson fee payments on a monthly basis, getting parents to pay on time is crucial as this would affect the company’s cashflow. You as the business owner have other financial responsibilities such as paying your teacher’s salary, rent, utilities etc. Hence, in this article, we will be sharing with you 3 pointers that you can apply to get parents to pay on time, every time!
Tip 1: *Terms and Conditions Applied* The first tip is to be applied when signing up a new student. Besides a registration form, get the parents to sign off on a Terms & Conditions sheet. Highlight to them that payment for the upcoming month must be done by the end of the current month (*Depending on the rules that you have set). Here you can also consider implementing an additional charge for late payment. We know of some learning centres who uses this just as a tactic to “threaten” parents to pay on time but do not really implement this. It is up to you on how you execute this. For example, if you are aware of a certain parent who has a track record of making late payments, you can give them a gentle reminder on this T&C. This brings us to Tip #2.
Tip 2: Constant reminder. Part of being human is the fact that we tend to forget things. We do not do it on purpose but as we are caught up in our daily routines, rushing from one place to another, it is normal that we might have overlooked certain mundane things to do such as making fee payment. In addition, your student might be attending 4 to 5 other lessons – all of which requires the parent to make payment at the end of the month! Therefore, we need to always be reminding both the students and parents.
For students: When the fee payment has been due for more than a week, pass the student a friendly reminder note and mention that the fees are not paid yet and to get his/her parents to make payment. This works best for older student as they might be ashamed when getting called out from class. For younger students such as those in pre-school, you can staple the note on the cover of their exercise book or a folder so that it is clearly visible to parents when they pick their children up from the centre.
For parents: Three days before the start of the new month, send them a reminder on making the fee payment. At the start of the new month, send them yet another message. By the 7th (or whenever the dateline is), give them a call and follow up with another message. This is where you can remind them of the additional charge that was set in Tip #1.
With AOneSchools’s announcement feature, you easily remind all parents to make fee payment with a click of a button! Click here for a free demo!
Tip 3: Reduce friction of making payment. The third and final step is an effort centres need to make in order to encourage on-time payment. One of the reasons why parents do not pay on time is because of all the hassle it involves. If the only way parents can make payment is by coming to front desk at your centre (which involves taking additional time out from their busy schedule, finding parking under the scorching heat, walking up the never-ending flight of stairs, queuing to wait for their turn – you get what I mean), you probably need to consider other payment options. Generally, learning centres accept cash, credit card (wave or pin) or online bank transfers. However, in addition to all the struggles mentioned above, it is still a back and forth process where you (or your admin staff) would receive the transfer slip from the parent, update the fee tracking sheet, issuing a receipt and then finally sending it back to the parent. Now imagine doing this for a few hundred students every month. This would take up a lot of time.
Here’s a solution: AOneSchools Parent Mobile App – it allows parents to make payment directly from the comfort of their own homes and automatically receive the receipt. It gives the option of either online banking or the usage of credit card! In addition, they no longer need to be physically present at your centre and hence, this will encourage contactless payment and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
By reducing the friction for parents to make payment, you can increase the percentage of total payment every month! So here we have three ways that you can try out! Let us know which method works best for you!
According to an article by TechJury, the e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 billion worldwide by 2025. In the United States alone, this market is estimated to grow by more than $10 billion in the next 4 years. Not only is it good for business growth, e-learning is also proven to be more beneficial to students. A study done by the Research Institute of America concluded that e-learning can improve retention rate by up to 60%; as compared to 8% to 10% in face-to-face teaching. Students of all ages have also expressed their preference toward using digital tools in their learning processes. Looking at these statistics, it’s no wonder that many educators have decided to pivot to electronic teaching this year. That – and, of course, COVID-19.
With more and more companies offering online lessons, have you ever wondered if there is still space for you? If you are already teaching online, do you worry about finding enough students to justify your efforts? How do you stand out from the 50 other instructors teaching the exact same subject on the internet?
Here are 5 tips to help:
1. Position your business appropriately
2. Establish your online presence
3. Use social media to your advantage
4. Share positive testimonials
5. Create promotions and discount bundles
1. Position your business appropriately
Let’s say you’re a French teacher, and plan to offer French lessons online. There could be dozens of other language teachers who have the same idea. How do you promote your services to the students that you really want? And when you’ve reached them, how do you entice them to sign up with you instead of your competitors? All of these require careful thought and planning before you come up with an action plan.
In order to position your business aptly, you’ll need to consider 2 questions:
1. Who is your ideal customer?
2. What is your unique value proposition?
The purpose of the first question is to help you establish your target audience. Do you want to teach French to children? Or would you prefer adults? What is their education level? Do you only want to work with people who live in a certain area? For educators who also have a learning centre, you may want to focus on people who are located near your school, so you can supplement your online teaching with physical material. Establishing your ideal customer persona can help you achieve a few things:
Figuring out how to craft your marketing messages to attract their attention
Finding the right places to invest your marketing resources in – for example, if you’re targeting high school students, you may want to focus more on social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok, instead of physical billboards or flyers
Fine-tuning your lesson delivery methods (e.g. more colorful graphics for kids) to improve lesson engagement and retention
In terms of unique value propositions, this is where you identify the points that make you stand out. How can you provide more value, or a different kind of value that can benefit your target audience? For adult language courses, maybe you could offer a strong focus on conversational techniques, instead of grammar and composition practices. If you teach math to children under 12, you may share skills and approaches that are not taught in local schools, to help them improve their mathematical prowess.
Knowing your unique value propositions allows you to distinguish yourself from your competition. It answers the question that often pops up in consumers’ minds: “How are you different from (insert names of other teachers here)?” There are educators who differentiate themselves based on price, either by going very low and targeting students with a lower socioeconomic background; or setting a high price and focusing on high end customers. However, although your charges can definitely affect sales, it shouldn’t be your sole focus. Being able to offer the value that consumers want is still key to attracting and retaining students.
2. Establish your online presence
Can you imagine the irony of being an online teacher without any kind of presence online? Many Malaysian educators, especially those with a physical education centre, do not feel a need for establishing themselves on the Internet. Thus, most of them still market their lessons with flyers, banners, and word-of-mouth promotion. While these methods are not ineffective, if you really want to grow your business, having an online presence is a must.
Forming an online presence is not just about having a website. In fact, if you’re not looking to invest funds into building and optimising a website, that may be fine, especially in the beginning. You can start by registering an account on popular listing sites, so potential students have a way of finding and contacting you. The reason why listing sites is a better option than a website when you’re starting out is because these platforms are usually well-optimised for search engine rankings, so when consumers search for a specific lesson, they are more likely to come across your offerings. On top of that, well-known listing sites and online marketplaces have already established their authority and leadership within the market. Therefore, when students and/or their guardians see your lessons there, they are more likely to put their trust and confidence in you, even though you may be a new entity to them.
In addition to listing your services online, you should also grow your audience on social media. The best way to do this is to focus on 1 or 2 platforms first, and slowly expand to other avenues. Your initial platforms should be those that your ideal customers frequent, such as Facebook and Instagram for the younger crowd, and Facebook and LinkedIn for working professionals. Instead of posting about your classes and your life, create content that provides value to your followers. For instance, you can share quick tips on how to solve simple problems in the subjects that you teach, dole out advice on effective studying etc. If you want to grow your audience even more quickly, consider working with other teachers to cross promote each other, through guest posting, featuring each other in your respective accounts, and sharing possible bundled promotions for your combined services.
3. Use social media to your advantage
Social media is a powerful way for you to gain trust and reach more students. However, it can be a tricky field to navigate. Have you ever wondered why some accounts post regularly and could only garner hundreds of followers; while others, like influencers and key opinion leaders, can rack up millions of followers within a couple of months? It’s not about their looks or the luxurious lifestyle that they enjoy. Instead, it’s about the value that they offer to their followers, be it inspiration, knowledge, humour, or others.
As an educator, the key value that you can offer is knowledge and inspiration. Share content that helps your ideal customers in their studies, and offer little nuggets of wisdom that can motivate or inspire them in life. Make sure that your posts and captions are crafted to suit the tone of your target audience. If your customer persona is a well-educated parent of preschool kids, you will want to develop a clean, matured style that resonates with them. Remember, your ideal customer need not necessarily be the students themselves; it can be their guardians too. This is especially relevant if you’re offering lessons to young children.
One very useful platform that you should be on right now is Facebook. People of all ages visit Facebook, and while Instagram and TikTok are geared towards entertainment; Facebook has evolved into a platform where both personal and professional content can thrive. Nobody would bat an eye if a post about your latest tuition bundle promotion appears under an engagement photo of their best friend. It’s all just part of Facebook’s vast range of content.
On Facebook, it’s best to set up a Facebook Page for your e-teaching business, instead of a personal profile. You can name the page after the subject that you’re teaching, together with your business name if you have one. This way, if someone searches for the topic related to your classes on Facebook, there is a higher chance that they’ll see and visit your page. Another benefit of having a Facebook Page instead of a profile is that you can add your contact information to it, making it easier for potential customers to get in touch with you. You can also add a scheduling calendar for learners to book appointments, and run ads to promote your services.
After you’ve set up your page, it’s time to build your community. Join Facebook groups that are related to your subject matter, and be an active participant to gain trust. You can also start your own group to provide value and nurture a community of your own. Utilizing Facebook groups not only allows you to forge strong relationships with your target audience; it can also help you position yourself as an authority in the industry that you’re in.
4. Share positive testimonials
In August 2017, a peculiar restaurant began rising through the ranks on TripAdvisor. It’s a fine-dining establishment that is designed as a shed, and, instead of serving meals like other eateries, its menu is comprised of moods. The food is created based on different moods, with courses named “Happy,” “Lust,” and “Love,” all of which showcase dishes that the chef thinks represent those feelings. The institution rose to number 1 on TripAdvisor in 6 months, boosted by glowing reviews and lofty page views. People started calling for reservations, and the rejections they received only served to enhance the enigma of this place. The Shed at Dulwich became one of the most sought after and exclusive restaurants in London. The problem with it though? It doesn’t actually exist.
“The Shed at Dulwich” is an experiment conducted by freelance writer Oobah Butler, who, before writing for a popular online publication, accepted many freelance gigs on writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor. This led him to wonder if he could actually get away with ranking a non-existential restaurant on the site, just with reviews and fake pictures alone. The experiment was a success, and his dummy restaurant ascended to the number 1 spot on the review site without even having a single customer since its creation.
While this venture was conceived partly to express the writer’s cynicism about online reviews, it no doubt showed the power that reviews can have over a business’s success. We live in a society where social proof is more important than ever, and a positive endorsement can hugely uplift the amount of confidence consumers have over a product. As a service provider, how do you leverage this to your advantage?
First of all, start asking for reviews from your students or their guardians. For teachers who do not have any e-learning students yet, you can offer a free trial class to a small group in exchange for testimonials. Do not be hesitant to share the endorsement online, be it on your marketplace listings, social media, or website. There’s a reason why people look up ratings and reviews before making any purchases, and, especially since you’re conducting online lessons instead of physical classes, testimonials is an important way to gain trust from students who have yet to know you.
5. Create promotions and discount bundles
Pretty much everyone likes a good deal. If you’re looking to boost sales, offering promotions is a great way to go. For teachers who are just starting to teach online, you can give out free trials to pupils who are interested. Unlike consumer products, online education constitutes a long term relationship between a buyer and a seller. If someone is debating whether or not to spend a few hours a week with you for the next five months, it makes sense that they would want to try out your service first. No student likes to switch classes in the middle of a term, and have to catch up and acclimate to a new course environment all over again. To enable consumers to have some insight on how good of an instructor you are, try giving out something of value for free. It doesn’t have to be a free class; you can post clips of your videos on Instagram, create a mini email course with introductory material, or give out study tips and mock exam questions in the form of an ebook. Anything that can give students a glimpse of your lesson quality will do.
For learning centres that offer a variety of online lessons, you can bundle related subjects into a discounted package. This can entice customers to sign up for the combo, and take multiple classes with you instead of just one. Teachers with only one subject of expertise can partner with other educators to create bundles, or provide discounts for their lessons within a limited time range. When doing this, make sure your audience knows how much they’re saving if they sign up for these promotions. That will encourage them to make the purchase, feeling like they’ve got themselves a good deal.
Being an educator is not just about teaching; you’ll also need to learn how to manage your education business. Even if you’re a top notch teacher, you will still face difficulties in getting students if you don’t know how to market your services properly. So, besides spending time on crafting quality videos and teaching material, don’t forget to also put some effort into getting your online lessons seen by your target audience.
According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), burnout is a syndrome conceptualised as a result of chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion, caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Symptoms of burnout include experiencing overwhelm, feeling emotionally drained, and being unable to meet demands at work.
In the long run, a person who frequently experiences burnout may fall into severe depression or anxiety, and may start demonstrating an inclination towards negativism or cynicism about his/her job. If this describes you, read on to learn about the 3 strategies that you can undertake to overcome this phenomenon.
1. Improve your time management skills
A good rule of thumb that you can follow for managing your time is the Four Quadrants of Time Management, developed by the author of best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey. He encouraged people to divide their tasks into the following 4 quadrants, based on their urgency and importance:
Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent
Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent
Quadrant 3: Not Important but Urgent
Quadrant 4: Not Important and Not Urgent
You can refer to the table below for better understanding.
You may think that most of your time should be focused on the tasks in Quadrant 1, since they are both important and urgent. However, the most significant quadrant in the long run is actually number 2: important but not urgent. Why is that so?
The reason why quadrant 2 is the most crucial of all is because it contains assignments that are mostly related with planning, improvement, and prevention; which are all duties that – should they be performed well – will lead to a smaller workload in quadrant 1. While focusing on the emergencies in quadrant 1 is obviously important, more of your energy should be devoted to avoiding having to put tasks into this category to begin with. Spending a big chunk of your time putting out fires every day will put you in constant fight-or-flight mode, which is a key contributor to stress and burnout.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate
On top of time management, another huge reason why a person can be affected by burnout is lack of communication. Especially in a professional setting, it’s not unusual to see people bottling up their frustrations, for fear of jeopardising relationships with their colleagues. However, keeping everything in is just like creating a time bomb that’s waiting to go off. So, while we don’t suggest throwing a fit whenever you feel angsty, we do recommend facilitating honest communication at work. Now how do you do that?
First of all, forge friendly relationships in the workplace. Even if you’re a self-proclaimed loner, or just don’t feel like you fit in, it’s still beneficial to make a few friends. Scientific studies have shown that social isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for the decline of physical and mental health, so make the best of your time at work, and connect regularly with your co-workers. If you find it hard to initiate a relationship, you can always start small, maybe by giving them a friendly smile whenever they walk by, asking about their day, or discussing weekend plans with them. A little goes a long way, and while you may not realise it, these social interactions can help you ease up if you feel stressed at work.
For employees who feel overburdened by their workload, it’s time to have an open discussion with your manager. Make sure that you are able to separate work time from personal time. Work life balance is not just a catchy phrase that gets thrown around by entitled millennials; setting clear boundaries between your professional and personal schedules is actually crucial for your well-being. If you feel like the tasks delegated to you are too overwhelming, and/or the amount of effort you spent on work is not adequately reflected in your paycheck, arrange for a performance review and provide honest feedback about your thoughts. At times, your manager may not be aware of everything that is going on within the company, and it is your duty as an employee to speak up if you feel unfairly treated. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your own rights.
In addition to communicating in the workplace, open up to your personal connections as well. A part of being human is that at certain points in our lives, we will experience downfalls or get tangled up in conflict. When you feel upset, talk it over with someone that you trust. Sometimes you may feel alone in this world, especially in our social media-obsessed society where everyone is fervently showing off the highlight reel of their lives. However, please be assured that you are never totally alone. Everyone has their own inner battles that they are fighting; maybe they’re just better at hiding it. Allow yourself to open up to a confidante. For all you know, he/she has been through the same issues that you’re struggling with now, and may be able to give you sound advice to overcome your challenges. If you feel like you really don’t have anyone to talk to, consider contacting a therapist or the BeFrienders. The most important thing is to never give up.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle
Growing up, we have all heard the doctor’s recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise per day, for at least three days a week. This can include going for a jog, a session at the gym, or maybe a quick match of badminton with friends. While it’s easy to overlook this tip when work gets busy, it’s important to note that these atomic habits will ultimately lead to a healthier body, thereby elevating your mental well-being. Studies have shown that regular exercise can uplift your mood, and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. This is because physical movement increases the brain’s sensitivity toward the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression and produce higher levels of endorphins, also known as the “happy hormone.”
A healthy lifestyle does not just consist of regular workouts; it’s also dependent on food. As the saying goes: you are what you eat. Besides exercising routinely, another part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to watch what you consume on a daily basis. Avoid greasy foods and sugary drinks; instead, opt for healthier alternatives like whole grains and protein-rich meals. You’ll be surprised at how much a well-balanced diet can affect your mood for the better. By having the right combination of exercise and a healthy diet, your body and your mind will thank you in the years to come.
It’s normal to feel stressed at times, and we can never be totally immune to low moods. Whenever you start experiencing anxiety and/or dread when thinking about work, try incorporating these 3 strategies – improve time management skills, communicate openly, and develop healthy lifestyle choices – in your daily life. You may be amazed at how you feel after a period of practicing these habits!
We were all students once. While many of us reminisce about our days in school every now and then, we can’t always put a name to the teachers that we’ve encountered. Who was your history teacher in Form 2? Do you remember? If so, why?
We all know a few educators that stand out vividly in our memories, some of whom we may even still keep in touch with years after graduation. Have you ever wondered why that is so? What is so special about them, that we can’t seem to forget how they looked or spoke or walked, while the recollection of other instructors fade into a foggy echo? According to Coach Mohd Noor from CMN Academy, it’s because the memorable teachers don’t only teach, they focus on leaving a legacy.
Coach Mohd Noor Mohd Tahir is a coach for Malaysian educators, and owns numerous successful tuition centres spread across the country. He is the creator of the “Tutor Beyond Expectation” and “Success Tutorpreneur Mentorship (STM)” programs, which help tutors and entrepreneurs in the education industry operate their businesses in a systematic and professional way. Together with CMN Education Group, Coach Mohd Noor has mentored more than 2000 “edupreneurs” throughout Malaysia to achieve business success. During a Facebook live session in August with him and Coach Baahir from AMPAC Penang, the topic of memorable instructors came up. According to Coach Mohd Noor, there are 3 reasons why certain educators leave a deeper impression in their students’ minds. These are: content, context, and character. He calls them the 3Cs that define an educator’s legacy.
The First C: Content
We attend classes to learn. As a student, do you like having an idea of what you’ll be learning throughout a course term; or would you rather attend lessons without knowing what will happen? Most students we know prefer having the outline of their syllabus, and also a preview of what they can expect throughout their learning period. With this in mind, teachers can provide students with a lesson framework for the semester or year during the first lesson. This allows students (and perhaps their parents as well) to know what to expect for upcoming lessons. On top of that, they will also know what they will miss out on if they do not attend classes, which allows them to plan vacations and important events more strategically.
In addition to sharing a lesson framework, teachers can also think outside the box, and furbish students with trial papers from other schools, or even other countries. A quick Google search will reveal analytics of public examinations in the past, as well as topics that should be emphasised in school and extra-curricular lessons. Teachers can use this information to add value to their lessons, by giving students tips and tricks to answer questions effectively and do well in exams. Always think about how you can give more to your students, instead of just sticking to content from textbooks. You may not realize this, but students do know when their teachers are going the extra mile. When your students feel like they’ve gained a lot from your lessons, they will remember you more fondly.
The Second C: Context
Context is where educators apply their creativity in delivering teaching material to their students. Whether it’s a funny way to memorise a certain formula, or a reenactment of historical events during a history class; there are countless ways to leave an impression in your students’ minds. How about conducting friendly competitions and interactive quizzes every now and then? Activities that can pump up students’ excitement and challenge them in a healthy way will help them learn more effectively, and help them think back on your classes with a smile as well. As quoted by John Holt, “Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”
Another aspect of context is the “why.” As a teacher, I’m sure you have heard this more than once: “Teacher, why do I need to learn this? It is not like I will use this at all.” I still remember all the times I was slumped across my desk, almost in tears over my Biology textbook, trying to memorise the 10 steps of glycolysis and the byproducts of the Krebs cycle. “Why do I even need to know this?” I used to think, “Who cares about ATP?” (Note: Almost everybody in science cares about ATP. Yes, I realise that now). But back then, nobody told me how important energy generation is for the human body. I was only told to commit all of these information into memory. It wasn’t until years later, when I came across these dreaded processes again in my nutritional studies, did I realise how essential they are for our bodies to function properly. That made me look at these cycles in a different way, and I found it much easier to absorb the learning material then.
The Third C: Character
How do you want to be known as? Are you the loving type of teacher, or are you the formidable instructor who always carries a cane in your hand? Will you reward your class if they do well in a test?
I still remember one of my teachers in high school who bought Vitamin C tablets out of her own pocket for the whole class during exam periods. Together with this, she would also advise us to always prioritise our health. Back then, 16 year-old me had never experienced such warmth and care from an educator before, and this left a lasting impression in my mind. I will never forget this teacher.
As an educator, sometimes you might forget that all eyes are on you when you are standing at the front of a classroom. What this means is that your character, as well as how you act, will be an example to all the future leaders of the world. Take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a role model for all your “children.”
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” ~ Albert Einstein
No student is going to remember everything that is taught by their teachers. What will continue to remain a legacy is the teacher him/herself. I am fortunate enough to have been taught by a group of passionate teachers throughout my schooling era, and I’m proud to say that I have become a better person because of them.
So, teachers, if you’re reading this, the question you need to ask yourself is: How do you want to be remembered by your students? Or do you not want to be remembered at all?
In 2008, pizza company Domino’s Pizza’s stock hit an all-time low of $3.00 per share. During that time, the company had a reputation of providing poor food quality and poor service, with public complaints of its pizza crusts tasting like cardboard. Fast forward to today, Domino’s Pizza has outperformed its competitors in the quick serve restaurant industry, beating famous brands like Pizza Hut and Papa John’s. Its stock price rose 5000% within a decade, the rate of which is rivalled only by streaming company Netflix. Now, Domino’s went from being a failure to one of the most successful fast food chains in the world; while its main competitor, Pizza Hut, struggles to survive. What is the reason behind this disparity?
The answer: Domino’s inspiring digitalization strategy.
When the company’s valuation bottomed-out, then-CEO Patrick Doyle led the company through a massive overhaul, both in its menu offerings and its digital transformation. Domino’s announced a new menu with new recipes, which garnered significantly better reviews from customers. However, the most notable reason for its success was the brand’s quick adoption of technological innovations.
If you have ordered from Domino’s Pizza online, you would have noticed how easy and user-friendly the process is. Customers can easily order from their website or app, choosing food items from a neatly-categorized menu, and customizing their selections effortlessly. After the order is placed, a progress bar appears, letting you know which stage your pizza is in at the moment. It even tells you the name of the staff in charge of your food! This smooth and interactive process was a hit among customers, especially with the younger crowd, thereby propelling the company to its leading industrial position today. Compare that to Pizza Hut, which is now one of the worst-performing subsidiaries of its holding company Yum! Brands. The difference between these two contenders are their willingness to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour, as well as their promptness in embracing digitalization as part of their business strategy.
So, after reading this story, do you still wonder if digitalization is for you? If an industry that is so entrenched in a brick-and-mortar business model can be disrupted by digital tactics, don’t you think yours will benefit as well?
If you still need convincing, here are four reasons why your education business should go digital, right now.
1. It will give you a competitive advantage over other establishments
One of the biggest benefits of digitalization is the ability it gives you to track and analyze data. When speaking with our clients, we found out that most of them still market their services by giving out brochures and posting banners. After distributing the flyers, there is no way for them to track how many people are actually interested in their services, and they also have no opportunity to collect contact information from potential leads.
With digital marketing, you can measure the number of people that engage with your advertisements, and get in touch with them easily. This gives you an edge over other centres – rather than blindly distributing papers and letting them gather dust in an abandoned folder; you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach the right audience.
On top of that, going digital allows you to efficiently track the two things that matter most in your business: cost and revenue. If you’re running a tuition centre, what is the most efficient way to figure out which classes are doing well, and which need help? When making plans for the next quarter or year, how would you know which parts of your business need expansion, and where to cut costs? These decisions can be made more effectively by digitizing your operations.
With a software that allows organized revenue monitoring, you can know how your centre is doing at one glance. For example, when using AOne Schools, you get to view detailed revenue reports based on the classes you offer, your subject categories, and student levels. You can even monitor monthly sales and enrolment performance, which helps you determine when to boost your marketing efforts throughout the year. All the contacts of your students and/or their guardians are saved in the system, allowing you to reach out to them easily when needed. You don’t even need to send individual messages to each guardian – just blast out notifications in one go! On top of that, tracking student’s attendance will be effortless, both for you as centre operators, and for their parents as well.
2. Digitalization improves productivity
As mentioned above, the two most important things to a business are cost and revenue. To gain more profits, revenue is not the only thing that you should focus on. It’s also important to ensure cost efficiency when scaling your business. As an educator, what are the most time-consuming aspects of your daily operations? Scheduling? Invoicing? Payment tracking? All of them? If you have to keep hiring staff to perform these duties, it’s time to find a better solution.
AOne Schools is a software that helps education centres systematize their workflow. Students that are registered into your system can quickly be enrolled into multiple lessons at a time. Class schedules can be changed with a few clicks, and instantly updated on the calendars of relevant students and teachers. Recurring invoices are generated automatically, and payment can be processed within the app, leaving you with ample free time to focus on other things that matter. It used to be that growing a centre means hiring more administrators, which gets expensive with time. Now, you can grow your business while keeping employee numbers low, without sacrificing efficiency.
3. You will boost customer satisfaction
Let’s do a little experiment. Observe ten people that you know. How many of them are on their phones when they’re hanging out with you? Do they still watch cable TV, or have they switched to a streaming service? Is there at least one food delivery or shopping app on their phones?
Chances are, most of them will check their phones multiple times in an hour; watch movies and shows online; and have apps on their phones that allow them to make purchases online. On top of that, they probably prefer banking online, and make transactions through e-wallet(s) regularly.
If so much of their daily lives is already digital, why would you expect them to be satisfied with analogous systems for their extra-curricular education? Instead of receiving printed schedules, wouldn’t it be better if they can view all their lessons on a single calendar? Rather than going to your centre to pay their fees every month, do you think they’ll prefer the flexibility of paying anywhere they want, and receiving a digital receipt right away?
One way education centre owners can improve customer satisfaction is to enable guardians to access information about the students’ education. As a parent, they might want peace of mind knowing that their kids are safely in class. They would also like to know how their children are doing, and maybe receive photo updates about their learning progress. This is why we added these features into our software, so teachers can help parents feel more involved in their kids’ education.
4. It creates more business opportunities
“My business is conducted offline. Why do I need to digitalise it?”
This is a question that many education centre owners have, when considering whether or not to go online. While it’s true that your classes may have to be conducted offline, having a digital component is still encouraged. First of all, you need clients to be able to find you. According to the Global Web Index compiled by Datareportal, 81% of people search for products or services online. Even if it’s a local business, consumers still prefer doing some research online before buying. Therefore, having an online presence gives you a higher chance to be discovered by potential students, and a simple contact form lets them inquire about your services easily. For centres who are not keen on investing in a website, at least have a strong social media presence, or list your services on an education platform. The biggest benefit of being online is the ability that it offers you to receive and keep your leads’ contact information. This gives you an opportunity to follow-up with them after initial contact, and share news about package deals in the future.
On top of showing your business offerings, being online also allows you to share testimonials that you receive from customers. Similar to how word of mouth helps promote businesses, good reviews also build trust in customers’ minds. Going digital is a great way for you to give future clients an idea of the good service that they can expect from you.
“In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to reinvent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.” This is a quote by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, a.k.a the richest man in the world today. Identifying shifts in the way people shop, and jumping onto the digital bandwagon early helped him achieve monumental success.
Will you be like him, or will you be left out like Pizza Hut? Your choice.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, most education providers are forced to conduct lessons online, to comply to social distancing rules. To ensure a more productive and engaging session, it is crucial that proper set up is done before each lesson. Here are four tips that you can use when conducting an online class.
1. Choose the Right Platform
The market is now saturated with platforms that can be used to conduct online classes. Among the most popular are Zoom and Google Meet. While these two software serve a similar function, which is to facilitate online meetings; they are mainly designed for corporate meetings and webinars rather than a classroom setting. Therefore, there are certain features that are not optimized for conducting interactive lessons.
Here we would like to suggest an alternative to the mainstream platforms – AOneSchools Online Classroom powered by HeyHi! HeyHi was designed especially for interactive real-time tutoring. It boasts a powerful yet easy-to-use interface for both teachers and students. Some of the features include: using your mobile phone as a tracking pad for the whiteboard, sending PDF files, and making annotation on documents!
By selecting the right platform, you can conduct classes more effectively by streamlining your log-in and teaching processes.
2. Proper Audio and Video Setup
When classes started to shift online, most teachers had to make do with the equipment that they have. For many, this means a mediocre built-in webcam and microphone on their laptops. While this is sufficient to conduct a class, it does not warrant a conducive environment for both educators and learners. Poor lighting may result in dark visual appearances, and background noises like barking dogs or passing cars can be heard as a lesson is going on.
While this may not directly affect the teaching of a class; it can still serve as a distraction to students. Here is why – different students have varying learning styles, which can be categorized into three major components: visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic.
For visual learners, a clear video feed with good lighting will provide a more conducive environment. As for those who learn better by hearing, the absence of background noise can help minimize distraction and facilitate learning. Hence, we strongly suggest investing in a proper webcam and microphone, especially if you will be doing this in the long run. You can easily find these equipment at affordable prices on Lazada or Shopee.
Want to know how you can have a professional setup? Watch the video below!
3. Encourage Personal Engagement
As mentioned in the previous point, every student learns differently. Hence, it is important to cater to each learning type adequately. For example, some students might be a little shy or timid when it comes to answering questions in a big group, and can risk being outshone by their classmates. In this case, teachers can give equal opportunities to all students to engage, by calling out individual names during their online sessions. By doing so, these students will appreciate the fact that their presence is acknowledged and valued, even though there is no face-to-face interaction.
Furthermore, teachers can also take the liberty to get to know their students better before starting each session. They can inquire about their day, ask what they had for lunch, or what they have learned in their previous classes. As a result, students will be able to build a good rapport with their teacher, which ultimately leads to a more productive online class.
4. Use a Variety of Teaching Tools
At this point, we all know how boring some classes can get. It is undeniable that certain topics can be a little dry, even in an actual school setting. This is where teachers would normally introduce different learning tools or activities to make the session more fun. For instance, in physical classrooms, teachers can get students to form discussion groups, or create games that require student to work together and come up with answers.
If you’re wondering how to incorporate more excitement into online lessons, take a look below at some suggested activities that you can do:
Watch YouTube videos – If you are teaching Science, you can play a video of an awesome Science Experiment that is done on a large scale!
Have a quiz – Traditional QnA quizzes are a thing of a past! Go for something more fun and engaging! There are many free platforms you can try out with pre-set questions or you can even customized your own questions such as Kahoot and Quizziz! Your entire class will definitely be on the edge of their seats to win!
Show the Camera your answer – Get your students to write out the answers on a blank sheet of paper and show it to the camera! Fastest one wins!
Post-session QnA – Class is over? Instead of giving students homework out of the workbook to do, you can have pre-recorded videos to summarise the topic and have a few questions for students to answer!
By including a variety of teaching tools in class, your students are bound to be more excited for class! We hope these tips will be useful for you to try them out!
According to research, almost 60% of the world’s population is online. We see people staring at screens without being aware of their surroundings. Teens texting on their phones instead of chatting with their peers. In this increasingly digitalised world, going digital is no longer a buzzword. It is a necessity. If you’re operating an education centre and are still managing your workflow manually, how do you prevent yourself from falling behind?
As a tuition centre owner himself, our founder, Darren, realised a few years ago that the old way of filing papers and updating Excel sheets is no longer a viable solution. In order to thrive, we needed a better system. That’s why he came up with AOneSchools – a management system that streamlines administrative tasks for education centres. Back then, switching to a completely new way of doing things was nerve-wracking, to say the least. We did not have many precedents to refer to, and resources were scarce. Developing a brand new software and convincing other centres to give it a go was a daunting experience. However, in the past couple of years, other industries have started catching up. More and more digital solutions have popped up in our country, and now, we are proud to see that even the government is starting to realize the need to make a change.
In Malaysia’s 2020 Budget presentation, the Ministry of Finance announced that it will provide a new grant initiative, to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country adopt more electronic solutions in their operations. They called it the SME Digitalisation Initiative.
What is the SME Digitalisation Initiative?
As mentioned above, the Malaysian government is hoping to encourage local companies to incorporate modern technology to manage their businesses. The SME Digitalisation Initiative is a grant to give these enterprises a boost. A 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 per company will be awarded to eligible businesses that purchase digital service(s) from designated provider(s). For example, as a music school owner, you’ve decided to subscribe to an electronic point-of-sale software for RM8,000. With this grant, you can get up to RM4,000 of the fees subsidized by the government. This allows you to upgrade your operations without taking on too much financial risk. No fees are required for the application, and the grant will be valid for a period of 5 years beginning from February 17 2020, or upon reaching 100,000 applicants, whichever comes first.
What can you purchase with this grant?
The Ministry of Finance has identified 7 types of services that the SME digitalisation grant can be used for:
Electronic Point-of-Sale System (e-POS)
Human Resource (HR) Payroll System / Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Digital Marketing / Sales
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) / Accounting and Taxation
Remote Working Solutions
Electronic Point-of-Sale System (e-POS):
An electronic point-of-sale system, or e-POS, is a software that can help companies manage sales and cashflow data efficiently. One of the biggest time drains for education centre owners, whether it be tuition centres, sports academies, or art schools; is having to deal with billing and cash management. Having to track each student’s enrolment, fee information, and payment method; not to mention tracing fees collected through online banking to match them to the right payees… these tasks can make even the most organised person want to pull their hair out. One of the most rewarding feelings of being an educator is being able to watch students learn and grow under your tutelage, but even the most passionate of teachers can feel like drowning at times when dealing with financial paperwork.
At AOne, we recognised this problem early on, and strove to develop a solution for it. With our software, you can rest easy knowing that invoices are being generated automatically to students, based on the packages that you offer. There is even an in-app payment feature available, so you won’t have to process payments every month – or worse still, go through a pile of cash deposit and bank-in slips to figure out which students they came from. When customers make payments through your app, their receipts will be issued automatically, allowing you to sit back and enjoy your freed-up time doing things you love.
2. Human Resource (HR) Payroll System / Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System:
To operate an education centre, you not only have to manage your students, but also the teachers that you employ. If you think organizing student data is hard, try tracking teacher payroll. Going through attendance records, calculating employee hours, totalling payment amounts – these could easily take up days of an administrator’s time. That is time that could be better used for marketing your business, preparing for lessons, and thinking up ways to better serve your students. If you employ many teachers and need a solution for this tedious process, consider getting a software that simplifies it for you.
3. Digital Marketing / Sales:
A business without customers is just a hobby. A good digital marketing service provides solutions for you to promote your school to a wide range of students, and helps you manage advertisements effectively.
Procurement software offers a more competent system for businesses to purchase and sell supplies. This includes sourcing suppliers, corresponding with them, and performing transactions through the internet.
5. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) / Accounting and Taxation:
As Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” As enterprise owners ourselves, we know that doing taxes can be the death of us. Accounting used to involve calculators and lengthy ledgers; but if you’re still doing that, it’s time to level up. An accounting software can help educators manage their books efficiently, which makes filing taxes a lot easier as well.
What about ERP? ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is software that can handle multiple functions within an operation, such as product planning, development and manufacturing, warehouse management, financial management, sales and marketing etc – all in a single system.
Since most enterprises have their own operating systems, ERPs are often customised to suit each business’s needs.
6. Remote Working Solutions:
Since the announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO), citizens have grown used to the new normal of working from home. While challenging to adapt to at first, remote work has gradually become a regularity in our lives. A good number of AOne’s clients switched to online teaching during the MCO period, and many mentioned that it was a tough transition. For companies used to offline operations, having to pivot online in such a short time can be extremely difficult. Therefore, the government included remote working solutions, such as software that enables effective data exchange and communication between remote staff, in the SME Digitalisation Initiative to ease the process.
Even before COVID-19 hit, e-commerce has taken the world by storm. Pioneers like Amazon and eBay have shown us how easily goods can be purchased with a few clicks of a button. With their success, other businesses have followed suit, whether it be clothing retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, even food services. Now, with stringent rules on social distancing, the ability to buy goods online has become an integral part of our lives. E-commerce digitalisation services allow SMEs to use technology to sell their products online, while providing them assistance in fulfilment, marketing, and other activities.
What are the companies affiliated with this grant?
Keep in mind that only the SME is authorised to complete and submit the application documents. Appointment of any third party for collection and submission to the bank is not allowed.
Before applying for the grant, you will need to pay the price after deducting the subsidised amount from the grant to your service provider(s), and submit proof of payment to the bank.
When your application is approved, BSN will make a direct payment of 50% of the total invoice amount, or up to RM5,000, to your appointed service provider(s). Depending on the total invoice amount, this payment may be made in one lump sum or in stages, based on the bank’s discretion.
Digitalisation is a process that all businesses have to embrace in order to thrive. Here at AOne Schools, we strive to support you in your efforts to do so, by providing solutions and resources that can help you grow. If you are interested in finding out how we can assist you, please feel free to contact us or schedule a demo.
It’s time to leave the days of manual paperwork behind, and start using a more elegant system for your education business.