Small fish in big pond or big fish in small pond?

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.

Small fish in big pond or big fish in small pond?

Postby heutistmeintag » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:29 pm

I do not have "gifted" children and my kids are either marginally or above average. I would estimate that they would score like 230+ in PSLE later. From "research" and hearsay, I understand that 240+ is usually the cut-off for most good secondary schools.

If I encourage or even push them a bit more, I believe that they will cross the mark. However, my concern is their experiences in the 4 years of secondary school. Do I want them to go to an "easier" and average school and be a big fish in small pond, or to a good school and be a small fish in big pond?

I had gone through a good school when young and experienced the benefits of being from a good school. Today, I am doing ok by my standards. I also have friends who had gone to average schools and doing equally well today (and some even better).

So, I am in a sort of dilemma and would welcome any comments or feedbacks. To push or not to push? :)

heutistmeintag
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Postby lizawa » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:46 pm

Hi heutistmeintag,

Which levels are your kids in now ? I would think that by P5/P6, the estimation will be more accurate. If your child is only P3/P4, it will be a little too early to "estimate" based on their daily work and school exams.

My stand is to stretch the child a little by a little, because you never know what's their true potential, if you don't try. Of cos', you have to gauge carefully, and don't over stretch.

Most teenagers are under lots of peer pressure and easily influenced by friends around them. So I believe that it's important for them to go into a good secondary school, so they get more positive influence than negative influence.

Just my opinions.

lizawa
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Postby heutistmeintag » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:52 pm

lizawa wrote:Hi heutistmeintag,

Which levels are your kids in now ? I would think that by P5/P6, the estimation will be more accurate. If your child is only P3/P4, it will be a little too early to "estimate" based on their daily work and school exams.

My stand is to stretch the child a little by a little, because you never know what's their true potential, if you don't try. Of cos', you have to gauge carefully, and don't over stretch.

Most teenagers are under lots of peer pressure and easily influenced by friends around them. So I believe that it's important for them to go into a good secondary school, so they get more positive influence than negative influence.

Just my opinions.


Hi Liza

They are in P5/P6, lol, I am not that KS.

Anyway, my default inclination is to push them since they are already hovering around the 240+ threshold. The lingering question is whether "marginal" students like them will thrive better in a small or big pond.

And thanks for your comments, I am opened to any comments. :)

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Postby mintcc » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:12 pm

Ultimately, I think we should cultivate in the child the desire to push themselves in the pursuit of knowledege and to do well in the things they do. We can only "push" them up to secondary school at most. By the time they reach University and later on in work, it really depend on themselves.

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Re: Small or big pond?

Postby jedamum » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:10 pm

heutistmeintag wrote:I do not have "gifted" children and my kids are either marginally or above average. I would estimate that they would score like 230+ in PSLE later.

I am quite surprised that 230+ PSLE score is under marginal or slightly above average....it seems that the standards these days are so high!
I was from a relatively good secondary school while my dh was from a neighbouring one although our PSLE score only have <10 marks different. I am an average student in class, always passed up for courses/camps etc while my dh gets to go for numourous leadership camps and got involved in prefectorial board etc. The same goes when I went for to Junior College. It was until I made a switch to Polytechnic that a lot of doors opened for me. It was a totally different experience.
So it boils down to what you want for your kid as well as your kid's character. If my kids have such 'marginal' score but is under the 'bookworm' category (preferring to merge into the background), I will opt for the good secondary school but if he likes to be in the limelight (gets his esteemed boost from all the attention), a good neighbourhood school may just be suitable for him.
JMHO.

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Postby lizawa » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:28 am

If I encourage or even push them a bit more, I believe that they will cross the mark.


My son will be doing his PSLE this year. At this point, I find that I can only encourage and not push anymore. The school has engaged professionals to talk to them about stress management. I can feel that he is getting a little tense. So, if you want to "push", I think from P4 - P5 till first half of P6, you can still do that. Not advisable to push too hard now.

Whatever it is, if the child can get a higher score, he will have more choices. You can decide whether you want him to get into the better school or average school later.

If your child belongs to last year's cohort where the top score is 294 and more than 10 with 280 and above, resulting in the cut-off points for most schools to go up; schools that normally take in students with low 240s, cut off at high 240s last year.

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Postby ZacK » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:38 pm

My little one is not of the age for me to be stressed up over these issues yet... But my take is:

1. Of cos we would want the best for our kids, but there are advantages to being a big fish in a small pond, especially when this is the period for the child to build up his/her esteem and confidence... This actually applies in the adult world as well. A small pond will allow one to shine and to build up credentials/credibility etc...

2. Once with the esteem/confidence/credential/credibility, probably then would be good to move into a big pond... Because more often than not, they will probably be a not so small fish in the big pond 8)

3. Conversely, if the kids are thrown into the big pond too soon, some may never develop the confidence for them to be able to shine through and it'll be harder for them to progress and shine in the big pond later.

4. When the time comes for me to decide for my son... I'd probably assess what his current capapbilities/potentials are for him to adapt to the big pond, else I'd probably choose a smaller pond to prep him and give him more time to adapt before moving into the big pond :)

ZacK
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Postby BlueBells » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:37 pm

Stay constantly in touch with his teacher to decide if you should push him.

I push my 8 year old a little harder, because her teacher says she has the potential to achieve better grades, but I don't stress her out.

And I have this dilemma :

My girl is not exceptionally bright, but I believe her to be above average. :P If I push her a too hard, I am afraid it stress her out. But if I push her a little harder, she will get into the top 3 classes in P3 and the pace and coverage of what she will learn will be faster and wider.

If I don't push her, she might fall into the average class, and then become complacent and slack.

I have my reasons for this : she fell asleep in class :( We don't know if it is because she is really tired (which we doubt because she naps in the afternoon and has about 9 hours of sleep at night); if the subject is really dry or she simply finds the lesson boring. She also appears a little listless in class. It concerned her teacher enough to call me and asked about her night routine. Hai ..... :cry:

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Postby tamarind » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:53 pm

I heard in another thread in this forum, that teachers in the top schools do not teach. They expect the the parents to hire tuition teachers for their kids.

I also remember reading one of ChiefKiasu's post, that in one of the top schools, parents of all those students with less than 90 marks, are asked to hire tuition teachers for their kids, so they don't fall behind.

So I think it depends on what you are looking for in a "good" school. If you think they have better teachers, then it is probably not true. They produce better results, simply because the teachers set harder papers, which result in parents hiring tuition teachers to help their kids cope.

But if you think that some competition will do your kids good, then it is worth going to the good schools, sure have lots of competition :D

In my case, I used to be the top student in primary school(no name one), but when I was in RGS, I was at the bottom end of the top 10 or 20. Competition did not do me any good. I did worst in junior college, and even worst in the university. I sort of give up. But not every child will be like me lah.

Actually I think that the "real" big pond is the university. No matter what grades the student gets in primary/secondary/junior college, when he come out to work, employers only look at his university results.

Personally I do not believe in pushing. I believe in doing consistent work. So long as my kids study consistently, then I am OK not matter what grades they get.

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Postby mumwgals » Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:53 pm

heutistmeintag wrote:[
They are in P5/P6, lol, I am not that KS.


Hi,

I'm either super kiasu or super kiasi....I started planning when she was in P2 already!! :lol:

I'm super kiasu because I started planning when she was in P2, and I'm super kiasi because I do not want to handle the stress of pushing her to score better for PSLE. So, I transferred my P3 to a primary sch with affiliated Secondary school. With the affiliation, she can score lower for PSLE and still get priority into the secondary school, as long as she can score above 230, she should be quite save. :wink:

I too agree that no point to push the child and give her/him more stress. Regular revision and encouragement definitely help better then just plain pushing.

In my dd case, because of the transferred, I am so much less kancheong and she has more time for other activities, like take up extra sport, hobbies etc...

As of small or big pond, I agree with jedamum that it depends on the child, some can strive better in a competative environment and some do not.

mumwgals
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