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Friday, January 16, 2009

Communication problems can lead to misunderstanding

Today my girl told me that three of her friends called her "Mrs Selfish". She said they had wanted to borrow her pencil but she didn't lend it to them because she was afraid that teacher would scold her.

She said that she heard teacher saying something that sounds like "jian" but she wasn't sure whether teacher meant "Cannot lend things" or "Cannot bring scissors" in class.

The other day she had also mentioned to me that "teacher said cannot lend and borrow things." The teacher had asked them to bring 5 pencils in their pencil box to school each day. I think this is to discourage borrowing in case the children lose their pencils which is an all common thing. During her kindy days, they were also told to bring 3 pencils each everyday. They are also to sharpen all their pencils and color pencils at home each day to discourage borrowing and going out frequently to sharpen their pencils, I think.

She said that she was a good girl and did not talk much or make noise in class.

Looks like my girl is trying her very best to be a good girl in class but what a pity she was misunderstood. Though this is just a small thing between little ones and it will sort itself out in no time at all, its still a small dent to her already wavering confidence in struggling to get along in a Mandarin speaking world.


  1. Is she sure the teacher didn't mean Soo Kui Jien, the cute compere? LOL

    I think your girl is doing quite well in Chinese school - a friend's son took 3 months of crying to adjust!

    As many "banana" parents are sending their kids to Chinese school, it's a matter of time before your girl meets other "bananas" :)

    Err...did the girl really need a pencil? Or was it borrowing for fun? Whichever, teach your girl to tell her friends to ask the teacher etc.

    My Niece1 does that and that freaks out the others. She also announced that if they tried any tricks, she'd report to the teacher!

    Because of this, she's been a class monitor and now, a prefect. She still has lots of friends too :)

    Guess the authoritative approach works in Chinese schools(it sure does in China)

  2. Hi MG,

    Just wanna say that you are a very good mom. I often feel sorry for my boy when he's misunderstood in other ways in school... all i can say is, be there for them whenever you can and keep encouraging them.

  3. How about talking to the teacher about ur girl's anxiety? It will be comforting for ur child to know what the teacher means, and if the teacher is willing, to instill the lesson of 'bringing 5 pencils'to the whole class.
    Instead of limiting the amount of pencils that a child can bring to school, maybe finding a way to incorporate the spirit of sharing and being responsible is more crucial in this case. What do you say?

  4. KittyCat,
    We used to teach my girl to tell teacher about things she was unsure about, soon she started telling teacher about EVERYTHING, and we had to tell her to tone it down or else her friends would call her a tell tale. lol.

    Be there for them is the best we can do.

    The teacher is the unapproachable type. Its not easy to talk to her. Add to that our language differences. When I speak to her, its in a smattering of broken Mandarin, broken Cantonese and some English. Definitely not easy to tell her to instil the lesson of bringing 5 pencils and incorporate the spirit of sharing! She tells us, wait for the communication book and no news is good news meaning don't see me about every little thing.


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