In my blog, I wrote that phonics and reading are equally important. Once the child understands the basics of phonics, we should start to teach them to read a good systematic graded reader like the Ladybird key word reading scheme, or other good readers. As the child reads, we should encourage them to ask questions, and try to answer their questions as much as possible.
I observe many parents pushing their kids to get into the IP schools (Study hard! Do well in primary school! Sail through PSLE with flying colours! Get in and you're set for life!!!). But I wonder if they think beyond getting in, and consider what six years of being in an environment full of super-achievers will do to their bright kids. It's not just schools and teachers and parents perpetuating the stress. Quite apart from these external 'culprits', kids are perfectly capable of creating stress for themselves too. Especially if one is an achiever who has been "conditioned" for success from all those years of being in elite schools and expects a great deal of oneself.
Just to illustrate. I graduated from a JC where the usual questions before and after A levels were along the line of :
My daughter has a P1 English vocab question in picture form that is with me until now.
In the picture, it shows a dog going after a cat. So the multiple choice words include ‘playing, chasing, etc’. My daughter chose ‘playing’ and she was marked wrong. In my eye, the obvious word should be ‘chasing’.
I asked her why she thinks that she is correct. She pointed to the face of the cat and told me, ‘See, the cat is smiling.’ (and the picture really shows a smiling cat).
We should not assume that all kids want to excel in their studies.
Kids who are smart are not necessarily hard working. Although intelligence is important, hard work is even more so. One who is not-so-smart, but very diligent may end up scoring much better than one who is smart, but not willing to put in extra effort. Not every one 'by default', aims to be a TOP. There are many who are very intelligent, but think that by virtue of their intelligence, they can afford to relax and still 'scrap through' with minimum effort.
Many GEP kids I know of, particularly the boys, are more concerned with having an enjoyable time in their learning journeys than scoring high marks. Route-learning and mugging bore them even though that seems to be the way to score in our current examination framework.
Introduction to Tuition In Singapore
Today, tuition in Singapore is an necessity. A 7th Feb 2009 Straits Time article indicates that some 97% of our student population today have some form of tuition.
This is an unfortunate result of the pressure cooker education system that school kids are constantly facing in a meritocratic society like Singapore.
Does Tuition Really Helps?
From my experience through interactions with parents, many parents are satisfied with the results of tuition. More than 80% of these parents observed an improvement of 1-3 grades in their children school work, usually within a time frame of 3-6 months.
Getting a private tutor has the following advantages:
The role of play in education has been emphasized by psychologists since the beginning of the century and the benefits of learning through play are now well established. Play gives children many learning opportunities
At almost 4 years old, I have always believed my daughter to be too old for flash cards. In fact, I had to endure a period of smug I-told-You-So looks from my techno-skeptic wife when my earlier investment in a full set of Tweedlewink DVDs went up in smoke because I could not even get my daughter to sit and watch the programme. When I tried to show it to her while she was strapped in the child seat in my car, she just pretended to fall asleep! Mind you, this young lady has no problems getting glued to the TV for hours when it comes to her favorite Disney, Numberjacks or The Word Machine programmes.
Contrary to the belief that oral exam is only reading, here are some details going into oral examination.
ORAL EXAMINATION > 15 MARKS
Section 1 : Reading Aloud ( 5 marks )
What the testers will be observing...