Chenonceau's blog

Internal Drive Theory(R): Motivate Your Child to WANT to Study

This book documents 11 different motivation strategies, each inspired by an established stream of research in the field of Human Motivation. These strategies are designed to bring about Internal Drive Ignition(R) in children (and in adults too). They form a larger basket of strategies that Dr Petunia Lee uses to ignite internal drive in children.

Don't we all wish our children would like to study and love to learn? Most parents are unaware that there are simple, effective and LOVING strategies to get the child to willingly study. Each research-inspired strategy is explained simply and illustrated with real life anecdotes in order to paint the hows and whys of its use in vivid detail.


Learning Chinese: The Potato Way

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a Potato Parent. I am not pleased to admit it... but I am not ashamed. See... I didn't get to choose how I was educated. Unlike many in Singapore, I was never given the opportunity to learn Chinese. I spent the better part of my childhood outside of Singapore. So, I learnt French instead.

My children have to learn Chinese. I am fully supportive of this. If the government decided to move away from bilingual education and people had the choice to take or not to take Chinese, I would still opt for my kids to take Chinese.

But Potato Children like mine find it really difficult to excel in the Chinese language because they do not evolve in a Chinese reading milieu. In the past 10 months, I have experimented with some Potato Methods for Learning Chinese and my son has made progress. In this post I would like to share some things I discovered about the process of learning Chinese - and why Potato Children like mine find the language almost impossible to master... and what parents can do to make the impossible possible.


Motivational Techniques for Chinese Compo Recitation

Research in positive emotion (i.e., happy, excited, enthousiastic, joyful, elated) show that it aids

(1) recall of material learnt

(2) retention of material learnt

(3) creativity

(4) heightened attentiveness when risks are important to manage

As such, it is important to keep the child reasonably happy during the WHOLE process. Here is what I did...

(A) Keep My Daily Expectations Low

My son could do no wrong. He could only manage to recite 20 words at a time. So that was our target. Everytime he recited 20 words, I clapped and danced. I didn't care that once he had moved on to the 2nd chunk, he had already forgotten the first. This way, the whole process was peppered with small successes. Every chunk was a success.

(B) Use Physical Touch

Sometimes he sat on my lap to recite. I hug and kiss him a lot as he toils. I have a Magic Nose that I stick onto his cheek, telling him that energy is flowing from me to him.


PSLE Chinese in Compressed Time

The post on the motivational techniques I used to pull this off is here... Please don't try and do what Little Boy and I did, without first reading that? Otherwise, it can be very traumatic for the child.

Little Boy memorized his very first Chinese composition last year in Nov-Dec 2010. We are now September 2011. It has been 10 months. The start was most onerous indeed. To describe the first 25 compo memorizations as long and hard toil, is perhaps an understatement. He could not recognize more than half the words in each compo. The compos were taken from a compendium of 1000 Best Compositions from the equivalent of China's PSLE. They were at least 3 to 4 years above his reading level then. Grandma read them into a digital audio file and Little Boy plugged in the speakers and listened and followed and memorized and recited to me.


Educating Kids' Palates Away From Junk Food

Before a child gets exposure to food outside the home, his/her tastebuds are trained at home. When my kids were little, I forbade junk food. But I also made sure that as they got older, AFTER I had educated their palate, they got a taste of such things. We DO go out to McDonald's as a family, but the kids know that it isn't good food... and they can taste it.

Every one of the 4 races in Singapore has complex and long food traditions which use spices and cooking techniques that create music for the mouth. Once the palate has learnt to appreciate the richness and complexity of a taste orchestra playing in harmony, it will find the simple tastes of "very sweet" and "very salty" and "very oily" of junk food, crude and unrefined. It won't like too much of it.



After 40 years of wandering in the desert, God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. It was not in God's plan. To me, it seemed like a cruel thing for God to do to Moses. Why did not Moses rebel?

I have been a Christian all these years and I never understood the extent of God's love for me until now. Of course I knew God loved me. As a Christian we all know that God sent his only beloved son to die on the cross for us. Christians pray to God, our Heavenly Father and Christians know therefore that God love us as a parent. Even then... there is knowing and knowing.

But now, I know.

This week I offered to The Daughter a plan for her good. I proposed a project that would bless her and keep her safe whilst she is away at university... far from my mother's arms that have protected her jealously all these years. I proposed to buy her a house near her university to stay in. Without hearing me out, she rolled her eyes as if to say "I can take care of myself". After hearing me out, she proposed to pay me rent for my trouble.


PSLE standards are a runaway train that even Teachers can't cope with, so kids NEED tuition.

I have moved the petition to here. Here is the Facebook Page. People complain that we are a tuition/enrichment nation without evaluating the reasons for it. We are a tuition nation because PSLE standards behave like a runaway train that even MOE’s teachers cannot cope with, thus students need tuition.


Adapt Your Parenting Style To Your Child's Growing Needs

I am not weighing in on the debate Pro-Drilling or Against-Drilling. Because, I do both depending on the situation. I rather suspect that most Mommies here do too. We all do a bit of both I think. I am also not telling other mommies/daddies what best they should do because I am not in their situation.

I went and dug out The Daughter's report book. Here is my story.

The Daughter scored 79 for English, 88 for Math in P1. She placed in the bottom 25% of her YEAR. However, in P1 she scored 99% for Chinese because Grandma plied her with assessment books. Little Boy's grades followed the same pattern.