Frequently Asked Questions
About BIG IDEAZ EDUCATION
1. Is this a tuition centre?
No. We are not a tuition centre.
We are an education service provider specialising in teaching Primary School English composition and creative writing through the following means:
1. Online courses
2. Free and paid writing resources
3. Weekly composition writing classes
4. Creative writing workshops (ad hoc and school holidays)
BIG IDEAZ Education is established in the year 2015.
2. Do you provide one-to-one tuition?
We are not a provider of tutoring services. Our classes / workshops encourage children to explore and learn ways to improve their writing skills. All classes / workshops are conducted with a minimum of 3 children and a maximum of 6 children.
3. If I am looking for a tutor, can I engage you to tutor my child at my home?
As mentioned above, we are not tutors. If you are looking for a private home tutor, you might want to contact a tuition agency.
4. Are your teachers trained?
All our teachers are either NIE-trained ex-MOE teachers with at least a few years of experience teaching in primary schools or full-time English tutors with relevant qualifications and proven track record of improving students’ English results.
5. What are the online courses you are offering?
We have 2 online composition writing courses for various primary school levels:
1) Writing Academy
This is a monthly subscription-based course for P4 to P6 students. Students learn to write compositions based on the PSLE format.
2) Junior Writing Academy
This is a monthly subscription-based course for P1 to P3 students. Students learn to write compositions based on 4 sequential pictures.
Do note that these are online courses and not online classes. This is not a ‘live’ and online class where students and teacher get to interact. If you are looking for ‘live’ online classes, refer to FAQs 22 to 39 for more.
6. What are students expected to do in the online courses?
For the Writing Academy and Junior Writing Academy courses, students are expected to view video lessons, ranging from about 5 to 10 minutes. After each video lesson, students have to print out the assignment for that lesson and attempt it. Once completed, the assignments must be scanned (using a scanner or phone camera) and uploaded via the student’s dedicated login page. Assignments will then be marked and returned via email within 5 working days.
7. What are the major topics covered in the online courses?
The topics in the online courses include composition writing framework, using a variety of sentence structure and writing techniques. For a breakdown of the topics for each online course, please visit the course page.
8. What is the duration of the online course?
Each online course lasts about 11-12 months. That means the monthly release of 2 or 4 video lessons/assignments would all be made available by then.
As this is a self-paced course, not all students may be able to complete all the assignments by the 12th month. As long as the student stays subscribed, access to the course and materials will remain.
To get the most benefit from the online courses, we strongly encourage every student to attempt and submit the assignments regularly so that they can complete the course within a year.
9. What are the fees for each course?
You may refer to our website for current fees as well as any free trial that may be offered from time to time.
10. Can my child learn effectively through online courses?
We are honest to state that different students have different learning styles, so the online course is NOT for every child.
However, it is suitable for:
* students who work well at home
* students who do not like or do not have time to travel to attend additional classes
* students who learn independently from videos and presentations
* students who need a structured programme to get them to write weekly at home
* parents who wish to learn more about lower primary and PSLE format composition and various writing techniques
11. My child is very good at writing. Is the course suitable for him?
Our Junior Writing Academy and Writing Academy courses are structured in a way that covers the basic topics first before moving on to the more advanced topics over the months. If your child is good at writing and scores consistently above 80% in composition marks, you might find the pace of the course too slow.
We recommend that you try the Write Now! programme instead, which is a composition marking service. Your child probably just needs to write more and receive constructive feedback to hone his/her already good writing skills. You may refer to more on this below in FAQ no. 21.
12. What sets you apart from the other online courses or centres?
All compositions are marked by former MOE qualified teachers or teachers with experience in teaching creative writing. Students get to submit 2 drafts of each piece of a composition topic. Both drafts will be reviewed and marked by teachers. The second draft is a revised draft done by students based on teacher’s comments on their first drafts. Not all centres do that as it is time consuming for teachers to mark compositions. However, we believe that students are able to learn from their mistakes and improve their writing when they get to write a second draft. Drafting is a common practice among authors.
In addition, our Writing Academy students get to attend a FREE classroom lesson a month to reinforce their online learning. These complimentary sessions are on a first-come-first-served basis, with a maximum of 6 students per session. The class venue is at Tampines (Street 81) only.
13. Am I expected as a parent to provide guidance to my child in his/her writing assignments?
You should let your child write on his/her own with all the mistakes in it as our writing coaches will comment and guide your child from there. There is no need to sanitise their work although you should encourage them to write legibly! In the second draft of the same assignment, your child will be required to do corrections on any spelling or grammar mistakes or wrong sentence structures etc. based on comments given. That’s how students get to learn and improve.
However, as this is an online course, parent’s involvement is definitely required in terms of facilitating your child and guiding them if they are not able to understand assignment questions etc.
14. I don’t have a printer or a scanner at home. Can my child still take the online course?
Not a big problem. Your child can write on a piece of foolscap paper and include basic information like the lesson number, assignment topic and question number etc. so that our writing coaches have some reference. For scanning of their completed assignments, you may download a free mobile app Adobe Scan or any equivalent app that can automatically convert pictures of your child’s assignment into one combined PDF file.
15. Do you have examples of how your writing coaches would typically mark students’ English composition?
You may refer to this blog post Composition Marking Scheme for Primary School to know more – go to the second half of the post on what our writing coaches look for when marking students’ compositions.
16. Can I submit assignments for marking during the free-trial period?
Yes, you may submit one assignment for marking. Please submit the assignment early after the enrolment so that our writing coaches have enough time to mark it and return to you within the trial period. The free trial is meant for parents/students to try out the course and to see if the comments given by our coaches are helpful.
17. Is there a particular date in the month that I must enrol my child for the online courses?
You can enrol your child for the online courses any day in the month. A new set of videos/assignments will be released to your child every 30 days based on your first payment date, after any free trial.
As an example, if you were to enrol your child on the 10th of the month, after any free trial promotion (say 7 days), your first deduction to your credit card will be made on the 17th of the same month. Thereafter, the monthly subscription fee will be made on the same date (17th) every month. A new set of videos/assignments would then be released to your child in conjunction with monthly payment.
18. Can I cancel the monthly subscription halfway through the course or even during the trial period?
Absolutely. You can cancel the monthly subscription any time, on your own via your student dashboard and your credit card will not be charged thereafter. If it is canceled within the free trial period, you will not be charged at all.
19. Is it safe to make payment with my credit card details on your website? Do you accept other modes of payment?
All credit card payments are handled by a third-party payment provider, Stripe on our secured website. Stripe is an established payment provider that provides software to accept payments. Stripe provides the technical, fraud prevention, and banking infrastructure required to operate on-line payment systems. Companies like Facebook and Grab use Stripe. BIG IDEAZ does not hold any sensitive payment information.
We don’t offer any other modes of payment. However, payment via ATM transfer or internet banking transfer may be accepted for a three-monthly payment (instead of the usual monthly payment). Do contact us if you feel more at ease with non-credit card transactions.
20. My child is in P6 and has less than 1 year to complete the Writing Academy course. Are you able to open up all the video lessons/assignments at once?
Yes, we do offer Writing Academy course based on a lump sum price package. With this, all lessons will be released at once when full payment is made.
If you wish to try out the Writing Academy course for few months first based on monthly subscription fee (that is highly recommended) and then decide to take on the entire package later, that is possible too. Just write to us and we will provide more details on the pricing.
21. Do you have other online programmes?
If you do not wish to enrol your child in any of our online courses but just want your child’s composition to be reviewed and marked by a qualified teacher, we offer a composition marking service called ‘Write Now!‘. This is not an online course. There are no course materials or lessons provided. It is a composition marking and review service, where a one-time payment is made to have a qualified English teacher mark and review your child’s compositions (PSLE composition format – suitable for P3 to P6 students). FOUR (4) pieces of composition topics will be marked and reviewed with this one-time payment.
Writing Classes and Workshops
22. Do you conduct physical classes or workshops?
Yes, we do. We conduct weekly composition writing classes. Please refer to our website for class schedules.
We also conduct various short-term creative writing workshops during the school holidays and on ad hoc basis. Please refer to our website for an updated list of creative writing workshops.
23. For weekly composition writing classes, is there an option to join the lessons online?
Yes, we do. We are slowly opening up more weekly writing classes online for students/parents who prefer the convenience of online learning. The curriculum taught in the physical classes and the online classes is the same. The online lessons are taught ‘live’ and online via CISCO Webex platform which is a Zoom-like platform. Teacher and students get to interact as they would in a physical class. Kindly note that this online class is different from our online courses (Writing Academy and Junior Writing Academy).
Please refer to our website for class schedules.
24. What is the difference between the weekly writing class (physical) and weekly writing class (online)?
As mentioned above, the curriculum taught in the physical classes and the online classes is the same. There is no difference other than the obvious case of lessons being conducted online via a laptop or PC.
The online class may not be suitable for every student. To be able to learn effectively online, we encouraged students to be in a room away from distractions. Students also have to be disciplined not to switch off the video and attempt to do something else during the lesson. Our teachers will check to ensure students are doing their work. However, there is a limit to what they can do. If you think your child is easily distracted and cannot concentrate during the entire online lesson, then the physical class may be more suitable for him/her.
25. What type of classes and workshops do you conduct?
All our classes and workshops are focused on developing English writing skills.
In our weekly composition writing classes, students learn writing a composition writing framework. They also learn vocabulary and writing techniques that they can apply in their school compositions.
In our creative writing workshops, children learn to write texts of various genres as spelt out in the MOE English Syllabus. Depending on the genre that children are learning for the workshop, activities such as art, science or others are being conducted.
School holiday (ad hoc) workshops are either conducted within a day or over a few days. Themes of the school holiday and ad hoc workshops are usually announced a few weeks before the workshop commencement. Please refer to our website for an updated list of creative writing workshops.
26. Where are classes and workshops held?
Physical classes and workshops are held in our classroom at Tampines (Street 81) only. We do not have classes at any other location. However, ad hoc workshops may be held in other locations, depending on activities and the number of participants.
Please refer to our website for an updated list of workshops and venues.
27. When is the enrolment for your weekly classes?
Our weekly classes (physical and online) run for 11 weeks per term, 1.5 – 2 hrs per session each week. Parents can register their children for our classes before the start of each new term, subject to availability. There is a maximum of 6-7 students per class, including those conducted online. If a class is full, interested students will be placed on a wait list. We will contact you when there is a vacancy.
28. Are there breaks between terms?
There is a 1-week break between each term in March and September and between 1 to 3 weeks of break each in June and December. We try to coincide our term breaks with MOE gazetted school holidays. Fees are not payable during the term break.
29. Compared to other centres, why are you having so many breaks?
We do know that most centres have their classes open year-round, save for 1 month of December holidays. They probably do that because they have high overhead expenses to maintain or they want to reach a certain profit target every month. At BIG IDEAZ, we believe that kids should be given enough breaks in between terms and so our lessons coincide with MOE gazetted school holidays as much as possible. We don’t believe in getting kids to attend lessons all year without breaks. Children have a life and they should do something else apart from attending lessons. We do know there are parents who prefer their children to attend lessons during school holidays but trust us (we are parents too!), children learn much better when given enough breaks. Does that mean lesser fees for us? Sure, but we are not in it for monetary benefits only.
30. How do I register my child for your classes and/or workshops?
For weekly classes (physical or online), please register via BIG IDEAZ Composition Writing Classes.
For school holiday and other ad hoc workshops, please register via BIG IDEAZ Creative Writing Workshops.
31. How much is the fee for weekly classes and writing workshops (ad hoc)?
It depends on the child’s primary school level and duration. Fees are priced reasonably and competitively. You may refer to the various fees here.
32. When do I have to pay after registration?
For the weekly classes (physical and online), fees are collected termly. Payment of fees for the 11 lessons is to be made usually 3 weeks before the start of each term.
33. Are deposits required during registration?
For the weekly classes (physical and online), we do collect a nominal deposit if we are opening a new class. This is to ensure that parents are committed to sending their children to the new class once we form a minimum number of 3 students. The deposit amount will be offset from the full payment of the term eventually. The deposit will be fully refunded if there are less than 3 students and the class has to be cancelled.
34. What is the requirement for withdrawal and any refund of fees?
For withdrawal, parents must inform BIG IDEAZ administration or the teacher in charge of the child’s class at least ONE (1) month before the term ends. This is a fair practice so that we can plan and release the slot to other students in the new term. There shall be no refund of fees paid once students are enrolled for the term.
35. Will there be a make-up lesson if my child misses his/her scheduled lesson?
There are a few classes (of various levels) available throughout the week at the same venue. Parents are to inform BIG IDEAZ administration or the teacher in charge of the child’s class at least 3 days in advance if they wish to join other classes for make-up lessons.
36. Are there lessons on Public Holidays?
There are no lessons on all Public Holidays. Fees will not be collected if your child’s regular class falls on a Public Holiday.
37. I am keen to join the weekly classes but there is no more vacancy. Is there a wait list?
Yes, you may register via the same link. There is an option to choose classes with wait list.
38. Do you offer a free trial for your weekly classes (physical and online)?
We do not offer a free trial but we may offer a paid trial for 2 lessons. This is only provided for existing classes with vacancies. Slot is not secured after the trial and will be released on priority to parents who make full term payment.
39. What is the main difference between your online courses and weekly classes?
Our online courses (Junior Writing Academy and Writing Academy) are taught via pre-recorded PowerPoint presentations. They are good for students who prefer to work from home and have the flexibility of time and venue to complete their lessons at their own pace. It is also great for parents who prefer a more hands-on approach in guiding their own children at home.
The online courses have worked well to help our students develop the discipline of writing regularly at home. Do note that there is no ‘live’ interaction with the teacher.
For our weekly classes (physical and online), students plan and write a full composition every 2-3 weeks. They are taught vocabulary and writing techniques that they can apply in their school compositions with the guidance of our teachers.
Students in our P5 and P6 classes are also taught Situational Writing (PSLE Format) once a month.
Topics for our weekly classes (physical and online) are similar to those in the online courses. However, the pace will be much slower as we have to consider the needs of everyone in the class and students are limited to 1.5 to 2 hours per week for each lesson. The classroom lessons are recommended for students who are weak in writing and require hand-holding.
40. I am undecided if my child should attend the weekly classes or take the online courses. What should I do?
You can take advantage of the free/paid trial offered if you are unsure before you decide further.
For online courses, you can also sign up for Write Now! which is a one-time payment for marking of 4 composition topics. From there, you or your child can get to know how our teachers review and mark students’ compositions. If you find the review and feedback helpful, you can then enrol your child in the online courses such as Junior Writing Academy and Writing Academy which are based on monthly subscription service.
41. If I have other queries not addressed here, how can I reach you?
You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp message to 8663-6937. We’d be glad to address any questions you might have.