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British Council

Postby British Council » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:04 pm

Hi all,

I work for the British Council. Am very happy to see your compliments about our courses and it is very rewarding for us when we hear that we have helped your kids improve their English Language. :)

For those of you who have been asking about our courses and methodology, do have a look at:

1) our website www.britishcouncil.org.sg or
2) our handbook for parents www.britishcouncil.org/singapore-downlo ... ndbook.pdf

British Council
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Postby MMM » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:14 pm

Hi "British council",

Thanks for sharing the info. Tomorrow is the registration day for public and I am set to arrive at the napier centre at 9am..... Kiasu mum. But wanted badly to get the time slots I want for the kids (P1 and P2) so that we can send them to their BC classes at the same time.

I do hope to have a good experience with BC as well where my P1 is confident with written english and my P2 gg child's grammar improved significantly. I am currently revising with her for SA2 and found out that her grammar is a major concern and I am trying to identify the problem areas and work hard on bridging that gap. Finally we are seeing a little progress. She has been attending a creative writing class and unfortunately, I felt that she hasn't progress much hence I've to do so much on my own to prepare her for her exams. I really hope BC is capable of doing some "magic" .

MMM
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British Council

Postby CL » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:11 pm

Dear MMM,

My experience with BC, is not effective. My 7 years old joined creative writing with BC in Jan 08. It has been 10 months, & she is having GRAMMAR probelm, not fluent in reading, can't explain story lines. BC teacher does not track every student's progress. They learn in a group. recently receive report card of child progress & everything marks ' GOOD' including reading............ All BC teachers are foreigners.

I am seriously looking for alternative........ still searching for english school to pump her with phonic, reading skill & comprehension skill before talking about creative writing..................

Anyone, please advise................

CL
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Re: British Council

Postby ChiefKiasu » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:18 pm

CL wrote:...My experience with BC, is not effective...


Hi CL, can you share with us if you follow up with the BC lessons at home? Do you actively track the lessons and run them through your daughter to find out if she enjoy the lessons and understands the material?

At times, we parents tend to think that all we need to do is to spend the money and send our children to class and everything would be ok. Unfortunately, that generally leads to disillusion and disappointment. Hopping from one enrichment programme to another is unlikely to solve the root of the problem, which is that close family support is critical to the success of most enrichment programmes - otherwise we might as well throw our hard-earned money down the drain.

On the other hand, if you have completed a proper due diligence on the enrichment programme, understood their methods and pedagogical principles, and you feel that they are not working for your child because of some fundamental issues such as poor delivery, or they are simply unsuitable for your child, then your feedback would be most valuable for both our community and the service provider. The details will also facilitate the troubleshooting process which you can benefit from.

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Postby CL » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:39 am

Hi ChiefKiasu,

- sigh -
it is hard earn money....... needs to travel, works 10 hours daily......
& finally quits in Aug 08.
I am thinking some enrichment program can do magic to her. I was delighted to see she enjoys BC during k2 reading program from June 07 til Dec.& yes, she improves, using more detail sentences to communicate. It was lots of play & learn process, however, in P1 creative writing is different. Maybe different teacher has differnt style. It is more on desk bound. Language takes time to develop. They are other children benefit from BC. Unfortunetly, my child does not blend into the system.

Apology for any mis-interpretation arises. :oops:
Feeling the bite of slow economy, every investment = 3 times value returned.

CL
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Postby MMM » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:17 am

Dear CL & Chief Kiasu,

I acknowledged that for some of the courses that I send the kids to, I am guilty of not doing enough revision with them. Hoping that they will pick up something as a result of $ and time spent.

But I also observe that it's more driven by the "character" of the kids. For instance, my P1 girl is the type that seems to pick up independently be it the chinese class or the maths class that I send her to. I don't need to do extra home revision and she picks up what she learnt in classes. It's just the creative english class that I feel there are some deficiency. I think everyone's experience is different but I also heard comments from my girl's existing creative english mums that the content doesn't seem strong enough,etc...

On the other hand, I've a son who is being sent to the same chinese program and english,etc... but he is definitely not a independent learner. The only effective program i see in his case is kumon as it "forces" him to do his homework everyday. For all the other programs, he pick up minimal though we are finally seeing some improvement in his phonics though it's far from ideal. Eg. he has been sent to phonics since K1. His reading test at BC shows that he need to go to reader development program iso creative english for P1. He is obviously still not ready. But I know if I can spend time with him to re-enforce that learning at home, he will benefit greatly. Unfortunately, he is not my only child and I do have resource constraint doing that so I feel guilty abt it.

I just signed up this am for a full year prog at BC as it makes financial sense since it's around $200 cheaper on a FY basis. I discussed with hubby and we felt that 1 yr is "not a long time" and sometimes it's also too early to judge effectiveness. We are crossing our fingers : )

MMM
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Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:57 pm

CL wrote:... however, in P1 creative writing is different. Maybe different teacher has differnt style. It is more on desk bound...


Hi CL, thanks for your details. They are very helpful. It appears then that the main issue is whether the creative writing programme offered by BC is suitable for your child.

Creative writing is hard for most Singaporean children, because it requires multiple skills, including:
1. good language command
2. creativity in generating ideas
3. organizational skills to link ideas together into a coherent and interesting story line.

To improve on creative writing, the best way is really to encourage the child to read voraciously. That would improve command of language, and fill up the mind with new ideas that can be repurposed for various scenarios for creative writing. Personally, I don't think it is possible for a child to sit in a classroom taking instructions from teachers and become very good in a language or creative in writing. It is, of course, possible for a course to drill students with "pre-canned" passages for common exam/test topics so that students can regurgitate verbatim during the tests, but I think that completely misses the point and is more likely to kill off any remaining vestiges of interest in a child for creative writing. It is probably better to just let the child read widely any book of his/her interest and get him/her to summarize what he/she has read, first verbally, and then in writing.

Organization skills and techniques, on the other hand, can be trained. Most good stories have an intro, a body, and an ending. There should be a cast, an event, and a lesson to be learnt. This is where creative writing courses should focus on.

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Postby MMM » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:00 am

My kids attended the BC hol camp this week and wanted to share some experience.

I was really impressed as a result of the following :
1) Kids enjoy the lessons. They look forward to their BC lessons the next day. They found it very cool with all the various resources and think this is the best lesson they've attended.

2) I had a talk with my son's teacher yesterday as he is the "problematic" fellow. She identified some of the learning "disabilities" or "barriers' that my son has eg. when asked to copy directly, he wasn't able to do so correctly and he was unable to detect error. Such are signs of a potential issue. Also, he is not able to focus, sit still, etc... and he is potentially going to have problem in P1. Throughout his preschool and enrichment classes, none of his teachers has ever made such observations and feedback to us except just a plain remark that he is not a paper and pencil fellow. Frankly, I am glad that the teacher highlighted all this to me so that it can act as a watchout and also we can try to work on it now. I felt that the teachers were very qualified and well-trained.

The teacher also told me that alot of parents come to BC wanting to see significant improvement in 6 monthsn given the price they have to pay. No doubt, there will be improvement but alot depends on family support and the child,etc... which I felt it's rather realistic.

MMM
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Postby J2mum » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:09 pm

I am so glad that I found this thread on BC and thanks to the feedback from MMM, CL and ChiefKiasu.

I missed the enrolment for the Jan intake and have enquired if we could join in mid way but decided to wait for the next intake instead.

MMM, did u continue your kids with BC?

J2mum
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Postby MMM » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:17 pm

Hi,

Yes, my kids started their BC lessons at the beginning of the year. Enjoying their lessons tremendously. It's only been a month and i can't say that they have improved,etc... I think it's too early to tell. But I think the key thing is they must be happy learning english and once they enjoy it, they will do extra as it's no longer a chore.

Another observation is that kids are encourage to speak up in class. They are encourage to be vocal which is what the local education system sometimes fail to nurture as this is a life skill.

Happened to speak to a relative over CNY as her daughter scored 260+ in 2008 PSLE. She related to me that her daughter was in learning lab for a while and found the learning boring. So they switch her to BC for the past few years and she enjoyed the learning and the language tremendously. So now in Sec 1, they have chosen to stick to BC. I thot that was a good feedback which gave us the confidence to continue as we are just taking the 1st step ourselves.

MMM
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