Tutor Kings and Queens


Advertising for tutors in Hong Kong
Charlotte Powell, via Flickr

Liz Waid and Ryan Geertsma look at the rich and famous tutors of Hong Kong. They prepare students to pass exams. But is this the best way to study?

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

It is noisy waiting for the bus in a big city. The roads are full of cars, taxis and buses. Crowds of people walk quickly up and down the streets. This busy city is Hong Kong. Hong Kong is famous for its tall buildings. Many of the buildings have advertisements on them. These large pictures show things that cost a lot of money. There are pictures of clothes and jewellery for sale.

Voice 2 

Then the bus arrives. There is also an advertisement on the bus. It shows a young and beautiful woman named Kelly Mok. She is smiling. Is the advertisement for a television show? Is Kelly Mok a famous singer or actress? No, she is a tutor. She helps students with their school work. Students pay tutors like Kelly Mok to teach them outside of school. Mok is one of Hong Kong’s ‘tutor queens.’ Today’s Spotlight is on tutor kings and queens.

Voice 1

In Hong Kong students must study very hard. They attend junior secondary school from ages 12 to 14. After this, there are three years of senior secondary school. Most students finish this at age 17. And then they take the HKDSE - the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education. One examination tests six years of study. This one large test is very important. If a student does well she may go on to study at a higher level. But if she does poorly she may not get into university. This will limit her future job possibilities.

Voice 2

There is a lot of pressure for students to do well on their exams. Many parents think a good solution is to pay for a tutor. A tutor gives private classes to help with particular subjects. School teachers often have many students in their classes. It is difficult to give enough help to every student. A tutor can give this extra help.

Voice 1 

Tutoring has become more and more popular in South East Asia. One third of students in Hong Kong attend tutoring classes. In South Korea 90 percent of school children have a tutor. Many people want their children to have a tutor. But how do parents choose the right tutor?  Kelly Mok told BBC News:

Voice 3

“There are so many tutors in Hong Kong. Students do not know who to choose. So they go for the 'tutor kings' and 'tutor queens'.”

Voice 2 

Tutor kings and tutor queens have become famous in Hong Kong. These tutors are usually young and good-looking. They wear clothes that cost a lot of money. The tutor kings and queens are real tutors. But they advertise themselves. Their beauty and nice clothing make them very popular among young people. This is why they are called kings and queens - they are famous! People in Hong Kong see pictures of the tutor kings and queens everywhere. There are even advertisements for them on television.

Voice 1

One advertisement is for a school called Beacon College. This school is owned by Richard Eng. He was the first "tutor king." Eng began a tutoring business. But he managed it like a show business. He saw that young people in Hong Kong were interested in people who looked good. So Eng advertised himself as a famous celebrity. He printed his picture on books and other school supplies. And it worked! Many people soon knew who Richard Eng was. Students wanted to be in his class. And parents were willing to pay. Eng told the news organization CNN:

Voice 4

“There was suddenly a chance for somebody to help students. Somebody who could teach and who could present themselves well. At the same time, students find that I can help them. Every time they come to my classroom they can see something beautiful. And, more important, they can learn some very important exam skills. That is why my tutoring schools are worth it. That is why we are here.”

Voice 2 

Eng now owns 12 schools in Hong Kong and one in Japan. He earns one and a half million US Dollars a year. Not all of the tutor kings and queens make this much money. But most of them still make much more money than an average school teacher.

Voice 1

Many school teachers feel that their students are too interested in tutoring. The students spend all day in school. And then they spend the rest of the day at private tutoring. Some students even fall asleep at school. Other students do their tutoring homework during their school classes.

Voice 2 

Rosa Wong has a 16 year old daughter. She does not like the influence of the tutor kings and queens. But her daughter takes four classes with famous tutors. Wong told the Wall Street Journal:

Voice 5

“In my heart, I do not agree with these practices. But everyone else takes their classes. If your children do not, you are afraid they will not be able to perform as well as everyone else."

Voice 1 

Parents feel pressure to let their students go to the tutor queens and kings. Some people think that the tutors are using this pressure in the wrong way. People think that tutors are making money from the students’ worries about exams. Richard Eng disagrees. He tells the BBC:

Voice 4

“Worry comes from the exams themselves. If there was no examination in Hong Kong, they would not come to me. It would not matter what I say or look like."

Voice 2

Doctor Catherine Chan is Hong Kong’s deputy secretary for education. She is not sure that tutoring is the best way. But she says that students and parents should see if tutoring helps them. Dr. Chan told CNN:

Voice 5

“I am concerned with how students and parents use the service - whether the money is spent wisely. But if it really helps the students then I do not have any right to disapprove of it!”

Voice 1 

Richard Eng and Kelly Mok are famous for their beauty. But they have helped many students get better results on exams. Can you judge a good teacher or tutor by the way she looks? What do you think of tutor queens and kings? Would you pay to learn from someone famous? You can leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net.

Voice 2 

The writer and producer of this program was Rena Dam. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called ‘Tutor Kings and Queens’.

Voice 1 

You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What is the best way for you to study? Is it in a particular place or with particular people? Why is it good for you?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
nature187_vn
said on January 10, 2013

I think tutor is one good way to help students bulding knowledge that they forget.But if tutor is used in all case that really is not good .The students will be salve for that tutor and they won’t have independent for themselve in exams as in their future…

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on June 15, 2016

I think that tutor isnt good in generally but its an important when tha education is bad as such at third world.
Respect

Avatar Spotlight
Irina1997
said on June 16, 2016

My opinion it’s wrong way of education, if 90 percent of school children have a tutor. 
It may be indicated to a low level of education system in the country

Avatar Spotlight
kenhieuloilam
said on June 16, 2016

To get to learn and study are dream of many of us. To get to learn and study are happiness of many of us. There are many beautiful good things in the life. Each of us contributes to make the life beautiful. We learn and train to become good persons of family and community. We have dreams. We make much effort to pursue our dreams. We have our responsibilities and duties in the life. Our world is a beautiful good world. Each of us has our responsibilities and duties in our world. We contribute to make our world beautiful. We live our lives and die for beautiful good things.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on June 17, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Friday 17, June 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid. Rena Dam, and Ryan Geertsma:

First of all, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article. Thanks!
For me, the best way to study is to pay attention to the teacher’s explanation to keep the information of the topic taught in my mind. After, I do some exercises to remember the subject and do not forget it any more.
Besides, It no matter the place where the subject is taught. To me the most important is the quality of the teaching , the teaching way, and the result of the learning in which I got it to keep in my mind.

Your regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on March 06, 2018

If we see our children begin to drop behind the other learners then we need to choose a good, correct tutor whose tutorial classes can help children improve their knowledge, pass exams and catch up with others as well! Surely, usefulness of tutoring seems to be obvious but otherwise students should get accustomed to studying independently without the tutor’s help. Generally, there is the well known basic fact that the different individuals require the individual instructional methods!

Jes's avatar
Jes
said on March 12, 2018

In my opinion the most productive way to learn is the combination of several models of training
Basic knowledge is perceived in a school, but the tutor helps to solve specific difficulties or gives in-depth knowledge
The tutor should be competent, and at least well dressed.
Paying more for the puppet appearance of a tutor seems strange to me