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.
Post Reply
hercules
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Dec 03,
Total Likes:50

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by hercules » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:39 pm

My GN told me her Chinese written paper got 95%, the highest in class.

I would like to share my strategies with parents with kids who are weaker in Chinese (esp those with more ‘foreign tongue’ like her who until today may still slip into 爸爸睡觉在床上、妈妈煮饭在厨房里 kind of ‘English grammar’. She is a child whom I ever thought of getting Chinese exemption for her when I realized her mild dyslexia.):

1. It is difficult to achieve the vision of ‘cultivating a love for the language’ in such kids esp when they are also slower in other subjects. So can discard such vision for the time being (cultivating a love for the language requires a lot of many other strategies which are no so feasible yet).

2. Forget about loading the kids with the thought of reading Chinese more text-based storybooks other than picture books if want (my GN only read those compulsory picture books assigned by teacher).

3. Forget about sending the kid to tuition if his/her concentration span is short (unless it is a special needs teacher who can recognize the ‘cut off concentration point’ of a child).

My GN only has a concentration span of about 20 minutes and I have to ‘perform’ within this short period of time with whatever I want to teach her in each 20 minutes time frame (usually is 20 min teach, 20 min break, then teach 20 min again. About 2 times per week since there are still English and math to deal with + school homework to do).

4. Forget about loading the kids with impractical assessment books. Most Chinese assessment books in the market are not made for kids who are weak in Chinese as 95% of them contain many words that are out of the textbooks. Pick the easiest and simplest assessment books that are very aligned to the textbooks. Read the comprehension passage and write down the hanyupinyin for words that are out of the textbook before giving to the kid to attempt. (She used 1 assessment book + one word reading/copying book).

5. Know what words are required to learn for 认读 and 认写 for each chapter. The whole crux of my 20 min session is on these words. If you have commercial 词语手册, that’s more for yourself and not for the kids at this level (I didn’t even buy them as I find them too complicated for kids and if for me it’s not necessary). I made my own词语手册for GN use. Simple sentences are constructed for the required words for each chapter.

6. This personal词语手册 will be almost like her whole bible that she needs to read one chapter every night (probably takes her about 2-3 min after she has practiced enough). Prior to that, must ensure that she reads each sentence with perfect articulation (for oral purposes).

7. Can incorporate simpler vocab into building the sentences and explain to her the meanings. Example for Chaper 16 满 may extend a bit to 满分、满意. Extend but never over extend.

8. Construct the sentences ‘more interestingly / dramatically’ base on what you think will be amusing to the child whenever possible to make the lesson more fun. Young kids are relatively easy to be amused. Examples:

我养的小鸡长大了,妈妈把它杀了来做鸡饭,我觉得好伤心啊!(Chapter on 宠物。 I intentionally don’t use the word ‘感’ to focus on ‘觉’)

小美在口上涂了口红,她觉得自己那样很漂亮,但是大家都觉得好难看。

弟弟说爷爷的头发像草,爷爷听了哈哈大笑。

小云每天都在做梦自己有一天可以变成美丽的公主。


9. Incorporate ‘SOP structure’ required for oral into the sentences. Examples:

在公园里乱摘花朵是不对的行为。
弟弟喜欢在吃饭的时候挖鼻子,他那样是很没有礼貌的行为。


10. Incorporate simple 成语 into the sentences. Words in the成语must be within the 认读 list . Examples:

张老师问小青她大哭的原因。小青就把小明大力拉她的耳朵的事一五一十地告诉张老师。

树林里有着一排排的树,树旁长满了五颜六色的花朵。

休息时间到了,同学们都三五成群地去操场上玩游戏。

Currently she has learnt (able to memorise since she read the sentences frequently) about 30+ 成语 (incl 上气不接下气、马路如虎口、一样米养百种人etc). I will only add when I see she is ready esp if we encounter a situation when I can construct the sentences that she can grasp almost immediately the meanings.


For P1 and P2, I only focused on word recognition, grammar, and articulation / fluency in reading. I didn’t spend time in coaching her on oral or compo writing (that I feel will waste our time when her base is so weak and her initial apprehension of ‘Chinese is so difficult’. I merely focus on the base of the base – the required认读 and 认写 words. My strategy is 图近舍远 (though the personal词语手册 that she has to read nightly, over and over again, does incorporate elements that will help her in her oral and composition writing when I think she is more ready to write).

Above has been the journey of my coaching of my GN for Chinese for these two years. Seems a lot of work but once you get the momentum, then things will flow rather smoothly. The toughest part is not to teach more but to teach only what is required + only a bit more if want to for this category of kids. GN appears relax and happy so far in my coaching of this ‘difficult subject’ to her (no fears and no tears with most of the time having fun), and I would assume when the teacher announced her being the highest in class and she stood up to accept the applause may ‘stir’ something positively in her (Above strategy is more 'exam oriented'. I am still waiting for that ‘awakening moment’ in her that Chinese is not difficult and she can do it. If she can be ‘awaken’, then I can think about real ‘love of a language’.).


*Though she doesn't read any Chinese books except school's picture books, I did write for her 2 - 3 books a year. Each book about 8 pages of A4 full text with 95%+ words from the 认读 list. I wrote stories that will interest her and I know she could enjoy reading without any difficulty.
Last edited by hercules on Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zac's mum
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
Posts: 4619
Joined: Tue Jan 03,
Total Likes:196

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by zac's mum » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:14 pm

Hercules, here’s my salute of respect for such dedication and determination in helping your grand niece!

I’m very encouraged by your journey (and her improvement too). Thanks for sharing!

hercules
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Dec 03,
Total Likes:50

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by hercules » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:02 am

1. My GN overall SA2 results (my ‘focus strategies’ worked so far):

Math – 92%

Chinese – 81% (Oral got 12/20 that I am not too concerned yet since this is not really my focus till about P4, Listening think got full 10/10)

English – 85%

Above may allow her to enter a ‘middle class’ out of the 8 classes in P3.

2. GN shared with me one of her best friends (with her since N2 till now) Chinese scored below 30% and Math and English both below 60%. I knew this girl who has a helper at home with two working parents in ‘OK working positions’. Since last year I have already known that this girl has been in the remedial classes, twice a week till about 4 pm, and these classes continue in P2. Her results did not seem to improve even with tuition at home.

I know her mum by sight and I really have the urge to call her to share with her to stop the remedial classes and let the girl go home and nap after school. If she has similar concentration issues like my GN, this kind of long hours in school will aggravate her condition more. Children like this need to re-charge by taking naps else their brains maybe ‘more damaged’ over the long run (such 'damage' maybe irreversible).

I am still thinking whether I should make the move to share with this mum since some people don’t like ‘busybody’. I am just feeling so heart pain for the little one who has to endure such long hours in school that does her more harm than good.

3. Tonight went to playground and met GN’s regular playmate (PM) as usual.

After playing and on the way bringing my GN home, she shared with me that PM is hoping to get in to the ‘Best Class’ coz mummy said if she can get into the ‘best class’, then mummy will give her an i-phone X.

PM talked intelligently from my observations, more matured than most P2s that I know of. Now I can see that she has a ‘goal’ – Best Class. But the thing that made me uneasy is her ‘heart-to-heart talk’ with my GN last week about ‘I hate Chinese!’. If really ‘hating’ a subject at P2 level, then getting 100% is also meaningless in my mind.

If at P2 streaming can dangle an i-phone as a carrot, then I really don’t know what’s next when comes to P4 streaming and PSLE.

4. My GN is barely 8 yo. I really feel very sad for many 8 yos who have to go through such ‘brutality’ of our education system, esp when some parents are ‘ignorant’ when they think that ‘more is always good’ and ‘best class is really best’.

I know the system is supposed to be ‘changing’ but by the time some meaningful changes can really be felt, probably in 10+ years time if it ever happens, the juvenile battlefield is already 哀鸿遍野。

Eyes of these 7 / 8 yos should still be sparkling bright with curiosity and passion and I wonder some parents have ever really looked into the eyes of their children to see whether the sparkles are still there. I am always conscious that I must try to maintain the sparkles in my GN’s eyes for as long as I can.

zac's mum
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
Posts: 4619
Joined: Tue Jan 03,
Total Likes:196

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by zac's mum » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:50 am

I am very sad to hear that your GN’s school has not done away with streaming yet. (For ref, my son is same age as her, his SA2 is stress-free because there is no streaming - I am truly free to focus on whether there is internal improvement according to his ability). IMO streaming is the source and cause of very unhealthy “goals” and pressure set by parents. And yes, some parents may dangle carrots like your friend’s case, or I have heard other cases where the parents threaten “if u don’t study darn hard then you will go to the worst class with all the bullies and xyz race kids! Do u want that? No right? So u better score well! Otherwise I’ll beat u up personally!” :censored: :yikes:

IMO also, the remedial is a good intention by the school teachers to help the weaker kids catch up. To suggest skipping remedial may not benefit that child. Let the teachers manage her journey as they should be more in tune with her development and can update her parents accordingly. If it’s not working out, let them be accountable to the parents and let the parents make their decision from there.

Her circumstances may simply be due to no guardian available to help coach her personally. Which doesn’t look likely to change, unless you are offering to help coach? We are blessed to be able to coach our kids personally. Some working parents have no choice but to just pay money for tuition, even if it’s ineffective. Money is all they have.

MrsKiasu
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
Posts: 12949
Joined: Mon Jul 18,
Total Likes:58

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by MrsKiasu » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:37 am

Congratulations to hercules and your GN, the results are very good!

Personally I think that remedial is beneficial esp that it is thought in school by school teachers. Unlike tuition whereby you need to add in extra time on transportation which may make the kid more tired. There may be other causes for being tired less energy apart..eg watching too much tv... Kids could lose focus easily.


hercules
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Dec 03,
Total Likes:50

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by hercules » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:24 am

@zac's mum

I am having this 'information gap' problem with GN's school as I don't have the chance of communicating directly with the teachers since I am not a direct parents. GN's parents are not sure about 'streaming' but I heard from friends with kids from the same school that even though the school said 'no streaming', they observed students did get posted to the same class according to results. Therefore, I am preparing GN with the hope of going to a 'middle class' so that she has a higher chance of getting into NA in sec school. Probably I will be able to recfm this streaming issue 'somewhat' if GN tells me the two smartest girls in her class who consistently scored close to 100% for all subjects throughout the year go into the same class. GN does know who are the 'smarter ones' in class since their names were consistently announced by teachers.

In my opinion, remedial is generally not useful for the 7 / 8 yos coz of the long hours required for them to be in school. It defies physiological needs of these young children who probably wake up at about 6 am and reach home before 5 pm and after reaching home still have to do homework + learn spelling + maybe tuition. It's just too tough to have to slog like this without affecting the physical health and mental health.

GN's weaker classmate has a helper at home living in a condo. Her parents are in 'OK positions' at work (mum actually is in a medical profession). I am thinking of their probable 'ignorance' in bringing up their girl if this girl actually has some learning difficulties or simply her results can be improved by skipping remedial (to rest more) and only attending better tuition (girl currently is having tuition in all subjects). Something just don't add up here for this girl coz the parts are not working efficiently together despite efforts and money are being poured in to help her. If the girl can articulate her feelings, she probably would want to say '妈妈,我真的好累啊!’. Her parents need to take a step back to assess her needs with mum who may have to quit job to learn how to guide her if need be (that may mean to lower the standard of their lifestyle and to learn more about parenting that I hope will not run into 'over parenting' that will be equally harmful). Remedial + tuition for this girl do not yield meaningful results, the roots of her issues need to be observed to help her before she giving up hope on herself (I believe children do 'question' themselves in their little minds and constant negative thoughts about themselves have big impact on their overall emotional development).

*I have never encountered guiding a child like my GN before. I remember the other kids whom I helped to bring up (the youngest still in school is the Sec 3 nephew and the rest all graduated from unis) like sailed through P1 and P2 with 80 - 100% results without much efforts at all with P3 then started to need to do a bit more of real study. Overall, ALL of these kids feel primary school is relatively a breeze and enjoyable (coz I don't really care about 'best schools' as long as 'got do homework' and 'teachers don't complain'). With my GN, then I started to realise the plight of kids in similar situation as her - the special kids.

hercules
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
Posts: 737
Joined: Thu Dec 03,
Total Likes:50

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by hercules » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:59 am

MrsKiasu wrote:Congratulations to hercules and your GN, the results are very good!
The 'good' results I know are kind of 'hollow' in nature coz she has to so-purposefully learn her stuff instead of 'logically' (meaning more than 死记活背 instead of 实学实用). It must be super boring for her to read and re-read those sentences I constructed for her but that seems to be the only way now for her to do her 10 marks 造句 'successfully' (her 造句 scored 10/10 coz she just fished out the sentences from her memory and 'copied').

Her greatest enlightenment this year is her personal awareness of her own weaknesses - her shorter concentration span and her dyslexia (I let her mark her own work and she was able to circle all her reversed writing in almost all the later part of a paper and we had a discussion of this as in why such reversed writing happened). Ever since she follows my advice of drinking water and taking deep breathes after each section of a paper, her mistakes reduced tremendously (fewer issues of bringing a 38 number down as a 83 or simple working errors).

I am still contemplating of whether to ask her to do the last sections of each paper first (meaning doing problem sums and comprehension in a paper first) since her best concentration timing is the first 20 minutes. Still observing her and adjusting my 'strategies'.

*it was interesting for her to mark her own work as she could see how she wrote an apostrophe mark as a Chinese 顿号, her reversed question mark, her repeated 'ed' as a 'eb' etc. She actually had a good laugh at herself for reversed Chinese writing (that I feel I also can't write it like her). I told her all these will happen if her brain is tired and so must always remember to drink water and take deep breathe when at work that requires longer seat time. She still can't read clock face somehow (always mixed up the long and short needles). I don't know how her mind function that she has big difficulty reading clock face and I skipped this part for her (and 'luckily' clock face didn't turn up for exam. Haha.).

MrsKiasu
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
Posts: 12949
Joined: Mon Jul 18,
Total Likes:58

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by MrsKiasu » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:29 am

hercules, probably your hunch is accurate too..maybe can try find an opportunity to speak to her parent. I am the kind who likes to hear other people give comments on my kids. FTWM usually very busy people so probably she needs to pause and look at her child..it could be possible that the mum thinks lower primary is alright but at 38% even the lower requirement me would think that it's worth bringing the issue up.dd attended remedials and they were helpful to her. Tuitions frankly speaking not helping her not becoz teachers no good but becoz own issues..I hope she could self correct. Kids are growing faster nowadays compared to our time. I always think if that desire is from own self, it will bring them a long way..haiz but dd(s) I hope that day comes earlier. I m just thinking, if the mum were to take some time or maybe she has been doing it..to study together with the child she should more or less know if the kid is having some sort of difficulties..I dunno if I m in denial state or just simply dont take it seriously, I m still been told that dd may have something..to me, if really have, I still think/hope she should be able to conquer it as she is a bigger girl now. The reason for me to not so ganjiong about this is becoz even tho I m not the disciplined type of mom, I still had gone through some learning process with her..like you say..most are easy and smooth when you teach them..you know they dont have have much problem grasping..so if they not able to perform, the problems likely lie on themselves which only they themselves can correct and I guide along the way.

GTGT
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
Posts: 240
Joined: Thu Feb 26,
Total Likes:3

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by GTGT » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:58 am

hercules wrote: 4. My GN is barely 8 yo. I really feel very sad for many 8 yos who have to go through such ‘brutality’ of our education system, esp when some parents are ‘ignorant’ when they think that ‘more is always good’ and ‘best class is really best’.
.
Hi Hercules

I 100% agree with your sentence above. Whenever I see my niece's tired face, I pity her. She has tuition for all her subjects, furthermore, she has 2 tuitions for Science. And that is not including the weekly violin and swimming class.

Talking to my sister-in-law is of no use. She is those who think ‘more is always good’.

6thisnthat9
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
Posts: 628
Joined: Fri Jul 22,
Total Likes:17

Re: All About Working With Children Who Are Weak Academicall

Post by 6thisnthat9 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:28 pm

I hope I will not be hated by tutors, i personally know friends who are full time tutors.
But as a parent, sharing with other parents, between tuition (by private) and school remedial conducted by school teachers (moe trained), I will go for school remedial and forgo tuition instead if time do not permit a child to rest enough.
Most tuition classes are methods derived to tackle exam, to score in exams.

As parents, we should look longer term development for the child.

I have no experience with school remedial (yet), but school teachers are trained to tackle concept and understanding.

Post Reply