All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.
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6thisnthat9
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by 6thisnthat9 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:16 am

Hi Hercules
If your GN gets to a reasonable level for chinese one day, will you consider HCL for her if she qualifies?
A child who struggled in chinese in the beginning, would you think we shld not aim too high or we shld not short change her new opportunities ?

hercules
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by hercules » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:05 pm

6thisnthat9 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:16 am
Hi Hercules
If your GN gets to a reasonable level for chinese one day, will you consider HCL for her if she qualifies?
A child who struggled in chinese in the beginning, would you think we shld not aim too high or we shld not short change her new opportunities ?
When my GN got ‘pleasing results’ at end of P2, I was super worried that she might get posted to the ‘first class’ coz I know where she actually stood then in terms of real academic power. Eventually she landed in the second P3 class that I was still concerned but took a wait-and-see approach (constantly spoke to her subtly about class happenings to get a feel of whether she felt ‘odd’ or out of place or bullied, etc).

Her current class yielded 16 GEP kids (not sure cleared only first round or all rounds coz I am not familiar / disinterested with all these ‘extra’ things that are happening in schools. She told me 15 kids chose to stay back in her school). I could sense / know that her materials were more difficult (eg other classes had 10 ting xie phrases and hers would have 15). Until about a week ago after I got her SA2 results, I was still contemplating of whether to drop her to the 4th class so that she could mingle more easily with those ‘commoners’ instead of the ‘more elites’. Voided my contemplation when she said she prefers to stick with her good friends in the current class and so shall wait for P5 for the next streaming.

At about age 13, I managed to figure out on own the ‘law of diminishing returns’. Just some arbitrary hypothesis (from a ‘regular’ child’s perspective):

Image

At that time, I felt ‘absurd’ to use so many hours on study to pursue those incremental higher bracket marks and decided to ‘optimise’ my waking hours to do other stuff (mainly play) instead of ‘wasting’ them mostly on study since 'bo hua' (so I could understand completely why one of my nieces ditched a top tier JC to a third tier JC to get more hours to play).

Being ‘slower’, my GN has to put in at least 30% more study hours of what regular kids need to put in to secure comparative results and this I already felt ‘enough is enough’ that I would not want her to put any more hours into studies (to me is literally wasting life).

Until now, my GN is still quite ‘hollow’ (study only within a range of topics that I spotted for her. If all come out, she could even get 90+ but if most don’t come out, may fail!). She studies coz she has to but not she wants to. I will be happy if she can get her 180 (current T-score basis) in her PSLE. Unless her brain really ‘wakes up’ from her current ‘ad hoc sleepy state’, I would not even consider she going to the ‘Express’ stream even if she qualifies.

So far, every kid who was ever under my close care expressed their appreciation to me on my ‘enough is enough’ approach when comes to study (all except two are above 25 yo). Appreciate for my faith in them, my acceptance of ‘play is super important’ to everyone, my ‘disbelief’ in tuition, that study is just a small part in life, etc, etc. They feel ‘long-changed' and so I trust my GN will not feel short-changed when she grows up (how to buy back childhood fun?).

Enough is enough - that's my guiding principle in life.
Last edited by hercules on Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

hercules
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by hercules » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:28 pm

Kids, like us, hold OS in their hearts whenever they are tasked/scheduled/advised/reminded/nagged in different intensity to 'study hard'. All these OS will be reflected in the levels of rebellion when they grow further (eg, see news of those discovered pervert tertiary kids, that I believe many are still 'underground' waiting to be caught ).
Last edited by hercules on Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

MrsKiasu
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by MrsKiasu » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:26 pm

may I know what is OS ? you seems to be very close with your kids..

6thisnthat9
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by 6thisnthat9 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:53 pm

:thankyou:
I get the message!
hercules wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:05 pm
6thisnthat9 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:16 am
Hi Hercules
If your GN gets to a reasonable level for chinese one day, will you consider HCL for her if she qualifies?
A child who struggled in chinese in the beginning, would you think we shld not aim too high or we shld not short change her new opportunities ?
When my GN got ‘pleasing results’ at end of P2, I was super worried that she might get posted to the ‘first class’ coz I know where she actually stood then in terms of real academic power. Eventually she landed in the second P3 class that I was still concerned but took a wait-and-see approach (constantly spoke to her subtly about class happenings to get a feel of whether she felt ‘odd’ or out of place or bullied, etc).

Her current class yielded 16 GEP kids (not sure cleared only first round or all rounds coz I am not familiar / disinterested with all these ‘extra’ things that are happening in schools. She told me 15 kids chose to stay back in her school). I could sense / know that her materials were more difficult (eg other classes had 10 ting xie phrases and hers would have 15). Until about a week ago after I got her SA2 results, I was still contemplating of whether to drop her to the 4th class so that she could mingle more easily with those ‘commoners’ instead of the ‘more elites’. Voided my contemplation when she said she prefers to stick with her good friends in the current class and so shall wait for P5 for the next streaming.

At about age 13, I managed to figure out on own the ‘law of diminishing return’. Just some arbitrary hypothesis (from a ‘regular’ child’s perspective):

Image

At that time, I felt ‘absurd’ to use so many hours on study to pursue those incremental higher bracket marks and decided to ‘optimise’ my waking hours to do other stuff (mainly play) instead of ‘wasting’ them mostly on study since 'bo hua' (so I could understand completely why one of my nieces ditched a top tier JC to a third tier JC to get more hours to play).

Being ‘slower’, my GN has to put in at least 30% more study hours of what regular kids need to put in to secure comparative results and this I already felt ‘enough is enough’ that I would not want her to put any more hours into studies (to me is literally wasting life).

Until now, my GN is still quite ‘hollow’ (study only within a range of topics that I spotted for her. If all come out, she could even get 90+ but if most don’t come out, may fail!). She studies coz she has to but not she wants to. I will be happy if she can get her 180 (current T-score basis) in her PSLE. Unless her brain really ‘wakes up’ from her current ‘ad hor sleepy state’, I would not even consider she going to the ‘Express’ stream even if she qualifies.

So far, every kid who was ever under my close care expressed their appreciation to me on my ‘enough is enough’ approach when comes to study (all except two are above 25 yo). Appreciate for my faith in them, my acceptance of ‘play is super important’ to everyone, my ‘disbelief’ in tuition, that study is just a small part in life, etc, etc. They feel ‘long-changed and so I trust my GN will not feel short-changed when she grows up (how to buy back childhood fun?).

Enough is enough - that's my guiding principle in life.


hercules
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by hercules » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:08 pm

MrsKiasu wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:26 pm
may I know what is OS ?
All of us have OS in our hearts. Think younger kids may have more coz of their 'power positions' cannot be as equal to their parents as yet (and so can only 'OS'). :wink:

在日常生活中,我們常常會把內心想講卻沒有講出來的話稱之為「內心的 OS」,或者直接簡稱作「OS」。
像是你很討厭一個人,但又不想跟他撕破臉,對他擠出不情願的微笑時,你的內心可能正在狂罵他髒話。
這些髒話,就可以說是你內心的OS。

Random extracted from:

https://ifbook.pixnet.net/blog/post/224 ... F%E6%8C%87

yapcf09
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by yapcf09 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:43 am

Hi kids who are weak in study may have problems in getting concepts right. It's important to explain concepts using real life examples or explain reasons and give examples during teaching. Eg for science and find objects at home to do experiments, for Chinese need to explain how the chinese characters come about or show them TV programmes on the subjects or education videos. Bring them to library and to cultivate reading time. Once their concepts are right they will move forward faster.

MatthewKwan94
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by MatthewKwan94 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:48 pm

I think the best thing a parent can do is let their child know that they are being supported in their passions (can be outside of school work).
If the child feels happy, he or she can then apply the passion for that endeavour into their academics eventually. There is a balance between work and play so to speak. Otherwise, if a parent has to keep coaxing the child into studying, this will not be a sustainable solution in the long run.

manorway
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by manorway » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:20 am

Good sharing. I agree with you. Learning HOW to learn is so important. When my kids were little, I focused a lot on nurturing curiosity and teaching them to HOW to fish, instead of just giving them the fish.

A child who enjoys learning will be curious, asks questions, takes initiatives to learn instead of being pushed to learn.

Skills are more important than just grades. To have good grades is ideal, but I think there must be a limit to how much effort/time we need to put in to achieve the additional few marks. And what that limit is, is subjective.

jay_ng wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:16 pm
Hi Mother of a MIT graduate,

I am not an expert, just would like to share from my own experience. Think it's not about enjoying learning but also learning how to learn, but anyways let me focus on enjoying learning.

I believe someone who enjoys learning has the following characteristics:
1. Curious - Ask questions about anything he or she finds interesting. I think this is innate to all children who see the world and realise how much they do not know.
2. Problem-solver - I think life is about solving problems. Curiosity comes into the picture for identifying what is the problem that one wants to solve - to each individual, the problem that fascinates him/her will be different. But to them, it will be a problem worth solving. And many of these problems might be new - so a person who enjoys learning will also learn to build mental models and frameworks on how to tackle these problems.

1 and 2 are found in all phases of life. In every phase, I believe that we are solving different problems, unique to each phase that we are currently at. Enjoying learning then is a bit like the chi idiom (授之以鱼不如授之以渔) - teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish. I think this is one of the most important skillsets in life.

As to how to go about building and instilling this enjoyment for learning, I will state here that I'm only thinking about the period from primary to secondary school (lest the discussion becomes too broad), the guiding principle should be about nurturing this enjoyment of learning in the child and not snuffing it out with an emphasis on academics and grades. Academics are just means to an end, but what I've seen around me (my relatives) are those who treat it as an end. And in doing so, the unfortunate by-product is that children don't really see the point of it and lose interest in subjects that are supposed to be building blocks for them to appreciate life and to tackle the interesting problems that they want to take on in their lives.

If you're looking for exact ways on doing this, I have a few unpolished ideas that I would like to throw out there:
1. Find out the child's interests and encourage/facilitate it - even if it might seem to lead nowhere.
2. Let them try anything new or novel - don't let our own perceptions of what is good/not good constrain the selection set
3. Emphasise that the role of English, Chinese, Mathematics, Science is really more about homework/grades, but it's about life out there and the beautiful challenges that have made life today possible (if possible, link these subjects to their interests in (1)) - if they like gaming, explain to them how computer code is about mathematics, algorithms etc.

I'm sure there are many more, again I'm no expert, just like to share my thoughts.
Also looking forward to hearing from you as it seems like you might have a lot of ideas, given that you raised a MIT grad. I'm sure you must be really proud, congrats!

manorway
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Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academically

Post by manorway » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:26 am

WOW Hercules! Thank you for sharing. Is GN = grandniece?

Your GN is so lucky! Sorry, I cannot help to be curious, if it is OK to ask... How come you have so much time to teach? How many hours a week do you spend teaching and preparing the Chinese materials? I know some kids who are VERY weak in Chinese. Can send to you too? :smile:

Is your GN in SAP school?

You mentioned P3 must do 仿句 and 扩写句子. But I don't remember seeing it recently when I was looking at a friend's kid's paper. Is this just for your GN's school or is it a standard thing across most P3 exams (if so, it means my friend's kid's school has very easy papers).

hercules wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:41 pm
I will be sharing how I coached my P3 GN for her SA2 Chinese. Below are ideas only for kids who have minimal interest in Chinese and for parents who have given up hopes in developing such interest in their kids but yet still need to ‘clear’ Chinese. They are more like 死马当着活马医 'strategies'.

Basically it is still the same strategy of trying to stay as close to those vocabs listed in the textbooks as possible (average about 17 new words per chapter). Expand about 5% out of it if desired. Keep assessment books max at two (I only used one from 汪老师)or else this category of kids see Chinese will really feel like crying / detesting.

Always attempt to be as lean as possible so that the list of vocabs doesn’t look like a mountain tall (‘goal’ set must always look achievable / manageable from kids’ point of view). The 辨字and 词语 depend heavily on these textbook vocabs and so regular revision of word recognition are required to score well in this. Basic knowledge of 边旁部首 is helpful in case sometime forget and need to do tikam.

P3 will need to do 仿句. These are the few that I prepared for her:

1. 如果……, 就……。
如果你不爱吃肉,就吃鱼吧!

2. ……, 却……。
我爱吃肉,却不爱吃鱼。

3. 只要……就……。
妈妈说只要我常吃鱼肉,就可以长得高大。

4. 虽然……, 但是……。
虽然我很胖,但是我可以跑得很快。

5. ……时, ……。
我在看书时,小明叫我出去玩。

6. ……, 因为……
妹妹在习字,因为明天有听写。

7. ……一会儿……, 一会儿……。
妹妹一会儿写字,一会儿玩球, 妈妈看了很生气。

8. ……一……就……。
我一出门,天就下起了大雨。

When constructing 仿句 sentences (to memorise), use the minimum number of words to form the maximum number of sentences, ideally with as many simple words as possible as long as the sentences make sense (choose more common words that your child is more likely to remember how to write).

I printed the sentences and got her to read (and read). Then when she was ready, just showed her the given words to test her memory (死背). Once could regurgitate correctly, then started to test writing (and to practise on words that she couldn’t remember how to write).

The same for 扩写句子. Just took a few past year papers and got her to do by reading. I minimised writing for her as she writes painfully slow for Chinese and 扩写 just need to know where to insert the words (轻轻地、一下子、忍不住 etc) that don’t really require other new words for P3 level (most of the time). Don’t waste time and spare your child the agony of copying the sentences. More efficient (and ‘enjoyable’) to learn 扩写句子 in this reading manner.

She scored 10/10 for the above. Without 死背,she might get 0/10 for these two sections.

I only started thinking of compo writing for her about 2 months before SA2. Prior to that, she was too weak to write even a simple sentence base on pictures. She is still weak but I couldn’t send her to a compo exam without any preparation. So I just prepared three simple compo for her to read (and read) to get a sense of ‘flow’:

一个风和日丽的星期天,爸爸说要带我们一家人去海边玩。我们听了都拍手叫好。一切都准备好后,我们便坐巴士去海边。

不一会儿,我们便到了海边。我们把东西放在草席后,我和弟弟便去游泳。爸爸和妈妈坐在草席上谈天。

下午时分,我和弟弟便上岸吃妈妈准备的点心。我们一边吃点心,一边看着蓝蓝的天,白白的云,觉得好开心。吃完点心后,我们一起去玩泥沙。

太阳就快要下山了,我们便一起收拾东西,带着依依不舍的心情回家。我希望爸爸会再带我们一起去海边玩。

-----------------

一天早上,妈妈带我去超市买东西。

在超市里,妈妈忙着找她要买的东西。我在一旁等着,觉得好闷。突然,我看到了一辆空的手推车,我就跑过去拿过来玩。

我把手推车飞快地推来推去,觉得好玩极了。突然,一个小妹妹不知道从哪里跑出来,一不小心就撞到了我的手推车。小妹妹跌坐在地上,她马上放声大哭。她的妈妈立刻把她扶起来。

我低着头向小妹妹说对不起。小妹妹的妈妈告诉我说超市不是一个给人嬉戏的地方,如果要嬉戏就应该去游乐场。我听后红着脸地点点头。

经过这件事后,我再也不敢在超市里嬉戏了。

------------

放学了,小明背着书包,拿着香蕉,一边吃着香蕉,一边把香蕉皮扔在地上。

一个老爷爷也正沿着这条路慢慢地走来。他没看见脚下的香蕉皮,一踏上就跌坐在地上。

小明听到声音后,转过头看了看。他马上上前把老爷爷扶了起来,红着脸向他说对不起, 然后捡起香蕉皮,扔进垃圾桶。

经过这件事后,小明再也不敢乱扔垃圾了。

--------------
*All the above I allowed her to spot and change some words from my original writing. Eg, she felt 傍晚时分 difficult to write, and so I changed to '太阳就快要下山了' which she preferred. Any word in my original compo that she felt difficult I would just change whenever possible to simpler words. She likes to 'bargain' over this part which I am OK as long as she is willing to memorise.

I didnt know what would come out for compo topic but got her to memorise these few opening and closing paragraphs and the body she had to count on herself to construct sentences with those helping words given (my objective was to PASS the compo). She literally went for Chinese compo with just these in her head:

一个风和日丽的星期天,爸爸说要带我们一家人去海边玩。我们听了都拍手叫好。

一天早上,妈妈说要带我出去买东西,我听了拍手叫好。(in case she forgets how to write ‘星期天’‘)

放学后,小明背着书包准备回家。

太阳就快要下山了,我们便一起收拾东西,带着依依不舍的心情回家。

经过这件事后,小明再也不敢乱扔垃圾了。

She was lucky to be able to make use of both the opening and closing paragraphs in her exam topic (about mother brought child to a departmental store and the child stole a toy and so 经过这件事后,小明再也不敢偷东西了。)

Oral wise, she is OK with reading (as she can remember textbook words quite well) but tongue will tie knot when comes to conversation. She told me her discussion topic was 难忘的一件事 and right away I knew ‘finished’ coz she didnt even know what’s the meaning of 难忘. But it’’s OK, not doing well in oral was expected (the picture topic I spotted for her on bullying small animals came out but the 难忘的一件事 was never in my list. Some hit and miss.)

It’s another year of my ‘Chinese Adventure’ over with my GN. Next year will be another year of ‘hit and miss’ (my target for her PSLE CL is 60 - 65/100). Teaching this category of kids Chinese I know can be quite blood-vomiting. Nevertheless, must still try to find some fun out for both parties else really very miserable when studies still have to go on.

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