How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Academic support for Primary 3

How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby hwtan » Mon May 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Hi all

My P3 girl is very weak in:
1) English Vocabulary
2) Exam technique - keeping to the time, she gets distracted, writes answers slowly etc.

How do I teach the above two items?

Thanks.

Concerned Dad

hwtan
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby hwtan » Tue May 06, 2014 9:42 am

Hi - bumping this thread ... any replies?

hwtan
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby slmkhoo » Tue May 06, 2014 10:02 am

Vocab - read and speak more. Reading would not just be her reading to herself, but parents should also try to read the books as well and introduce the new vocab words in everyday life, introduce similar words, synonyms, antonyms, explain and introduce related idioms etc. The more times a child encounters a word in a variety of contexts, the faster she will learn it. I find that just telling the child the meaning once usually doesn't help that much unless the child has a really good memory. Also, reading aloud to the child from books a little harder than she can manage for herself will also improve vocab. I have a daughter who is highly visual in her learning style, and another more auditory. I found that the visual one liked to look at the page while I was reading, and the other just listened, but both picked a decent vocab along the way. Until they were in lower sec, I would read all their books (or would have read them myself in the past), so I could talk to them about the story, pick out new words and ideas to talk about etc.

Exam technique - more practice, I guess. Maybe try a few questions at a time under timed conditions, and get her used to the pace? You can stretch to a whole exam paper when she can manage shorter sections better. You can tell her roughly how much time she should spend on each section, and hope that she keeps to it in the exam. Some kids just need more time to grow into that kind of planning.

slmkhoo
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby hwtan » Sun May 18, 2014 7:16 am

Hi thanks for the info!

Actually, my daughter has difficulties in:

1. Exam techniques (she will spend too much time on one question, esp. in Maths. And if she encounters a question she doesn't know she will start getting frustrated and cry).

2. She is very weak in Maths - her basic arithmetic e.g. division is quite ok but she struggles with model based questions.

3. She is easily distracted. If she doesn't like a topic, e.g. Maths, Chinese - she will listen to you for a while, then start wandering around and losing focus.

She recently got 48 for Maths in school (she is Pri 3 this year) and is causing a lot of worry for my wife and I.

She is likes Science and she thinks is is good in it. Her grades there are average.

English - she struggles with vocab (her vocab is very weak), comprehension she reads quite a number of Disney storybooks. Her grammar is still ok.

Chinese - she struggles with comprehension and also Chinese vocab.

She is also very reliant on her mom. If her mom is not there, she doesn't know what to do, is afraid to try questions, etc.

We have sent her to BrainFit, Berries, PSLE Maths tuition, private English tuition and also coach her daily ourselves. Her English tutor struggles with her being distracted. And we have a feeling all this is only making very little difference.

We need expert help - especially in helping her with:
1) Confidence - she has low esteem, thinks she can't do questions.
2) Exam techniques, keeping to time
3) Subject content - as described above

We really, really need help. We are tearing our hair out on a daily basis and my wife and I are close to breaking down over this.

Are there any professional folks we can approach - especially on confidence and exam technique? We are willing to fork out for good services in this area.

Regards
Troubled Dad

hwtan
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby dragonball » Sun May 18, 2014 9:21 am

Reading a lot may or may not improve ones vocabulary. Some, like myself, will forget them if we do not come across them regularly.

First of all, I am not a teacher. Still, I would suggest getting her to memorise passages. To do it at home in a more systematic way, my suggestion would be to get some books with lesson plans. I saw a book in Popular the other day, "Everything you need to know about English" by Li Lian Lim, published by EPB. There is a vocab section. Perhaps you might like to use it as a start to get your child to memorise the passages and then learn the meaning. Perhaps one passage every 2 months?

My son was in Shichida's junior program, where he was asked to memorise and recite passages of 300-400+ words, later to write out. I thought that helped to correct some of the grammar issues that he used to have, if they appeared in the passages. The thing is the targeted time was to able to recite the passage within a min, which he was only able to complete at most up to 300+ words. It was dry, trying to memorise the passages, so I competed with him, in terms of time. I could not remember the whole passage, nor recite as fast as him. It boasted his self-esteem that he could beat me.

I thought it should work the same for Chinese.

I know, it is an old technique, we were asked to memorise and to do dictations during our Primary school days. However, it works.

Here are some of the articles by other parents for your reference, these are under the "Top Kudos Blogs" section on the right side bars on the portal pages.
Learning Chinese: The Potato Way
Tips for Poor Essay Writers - Part 1

As for Maths, some kids need a lot of practises to gain that confidence. Once they start to excel, you will see they will start to love the subject. Just like Science.

dragonball
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby hytten » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:47 pm

My secret in teaching English Vocabulary is using this http://www.vocabularycartoons.com/

I believe in working with the brain.. learn how the brain learns best... using pictures

hytten
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby Jarol Lo » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:14 am

[quote="hwtan"]Hi thanks for the info!

Actually, my daughter has difficulties in:

1. Exam techniques (she will spend too much time on one question, esp. in Maths. And if she encounters a question she doesn't know she will start getting frustrated and cry).

2. She is very weak in Maths - her basic arithmetic e.g. division is quite ok but she struggles with model based questions.

3. She is easily distracted. If she doesn't like a topic, e.g. Maths, Chinese - she will listen to you for a while, then start wandering around and losing focus.

She recently got 48 for Maths in school (she is Pri 3 this year) and is causing a lot of worry for my wife and I.

She is likes Science and she thinks is is good in it. Her grades there are average.

English - she struggles with vocab (her vocab is very weak), comprehension she reads quite a number of Disney storybooks. Her grammar is still ok.

Chinese - she struggles with comprehension and also Chinese vocab.

She is also very reliant on her mom. If her mom is not there, she doesn't know what to do, is afraid to try questions, etc.

We have sent her to BrainFit, Berries, PSLE Maths tuition, private English tuition and also coach her daily ourselves. Her English tutor struggles with her being distracted. And we have a feeling all this is only making very little difference.

We need expert help - especially in helping her with:
1) Confidence - she has low esteem, thinks she can't do questions.
2) Exam techniques, keeping to time
3) Subject content - as described above

We really, really need help. We are tearing our hair out on a daily basis and my wife and I are close to breaking down over this.

Are there any professional folks we can approach - especially on confidence and exam technique? We are willing to fork out for good services in this area.

Regards
Troubled Dad[/quote]

Hi,

I've the feeling that your girl's problem is probably due to serious lacking of confidence. Why not we think out of the box. If you continue making her attending tuition here and there, she might feel resistance after a while which could be worse. Why not send her to some enrichment classes for whatever she likes, such as swimming, dancing, sports.....etc. Try to build up her confidence level from there, let her try everything on her own.

You said that she rely on too much on her mum, I think this could be due to being too pamper by her (sorry this is just my wild guess). Why not let her do some art work, housework or whatsover make her feel that she can make it on her own.

I believe these could possibly help her for her studies.

I've two kids, elder one is a boy in P5, younger one is a girl in P3, same as yours. From very young we've been letting them do most on their own, includes bathing, washing plates....My girl start doing her bathing as young as 2 yrs old. Let them make mistake here and there and they've build up good confidence on their own. For the past half a year when my wife back to her home town in China, the kids looking after themselves, do their own warming up of their lunch and dineer, like steaming rice, fried eggs & vege, steam meat....., and they discipline enough doing their homework. In addition, they're also attending Wushu, music, swimming, ballet (for my girl) besides their respective CCA in school.

I think building up strong confidence is vital for the kids. As parents, not much effort needed but simply LET GO as much as you can. Let your girl do most on her own with no or little helps.

Just my opinion, hope can help you.

Jarol Lo
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Re: How to teach English Vocabulary and Exam Techniques?

Postby jedamum » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:43 am

For vocabulary skills, i get my p2 boy to book mark the pages with unfamiliar words of the story book he reads. If too many flags, the book is too tough and vice versa. Then fortnightly i will sit down and go through the vocab with him, first asking him to guess the meaning based on context, before passing him the dictionary to check the meaning. Then he jot them down in his vocabulary book.

For exam techniques, you can get past year papers to let her do at home. Sit behind her and prompt or encourage her along. Then slowly leave her alone for small pockets of time. Cheer her along and hurrah for completing the paper
Marked it but don't compute the marks. Key is to go through what are her weaknesses and teach her how to solve those questions. How you react to her weaknesses will be crucial in building or affecting her confidence in the next paper.

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