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Wednesday, September 22, 2010



Her English Teachers

Many of our kids have to learn 3 languages in primary school. They say kids soak up information like a sponge and are good at picking up languages and all that. However, when you are trying to learn 3 different languages seriously, all at the same time, something has to give. You can't be equally good at all 3. Well, perhaps, you can but it will require effort and time.... which we don't have.

Since my girl studies at a Chinese School, it is natural that the school spends a lot of hours and effort in teaching the kids to be good at this language so that is not a problem. The school also has to make sure that their Malay language is not too far behind the National school's, so the standard is not too bad either since the National School's standard is so high these days, much higher than the time when I was a kid in school learning it.

That leaves English. Poor poor English. All forgotten and neglected. The standard is pitiful. Even my son who is attending kindergarten can read and do some of his sister's Primary 2 school work. The teacher asks them to spell "white colour" etc. Quite often there is grammatical and sometimes spelling mistakes as well in the spelling and dictation given by the teacher. We have to tell my girl to "just follow what teacher wrote but you know the correct usage." to which she would reply "but what if I forget and write the wrong one next time." Sigh. It is too tiring to bring it up to the teacher because it happens frequently and the teacher would probably feel defensive and offended so we leave it alone.

To make up for this, some parents send their children for extra tuition. I know a parent who sent his child for tuition at the British Council during the weekends but who at the start of Primary 2 announced that he is pulling his child out of Chinese School because he is not blending in there. I wonder if he considered that he may have contributed to the problem just a little by pushing his child to be good at everything all at the same time? It must be a such a pressure for an 8 year old.

I admit that I am worried too. I want my children to be good in English. Initially I had thought that I would guide them in this area myself but I find there is not enough time. I do not believe in sending them for extra tuition in this area because I think it will be an extra burden for them. I had not believed in tuition for young kids but now I think that if they need extra help for school work then perhaps it is justified. However sending them for extra subjects for something the school is not concentrating on is not extra help to assist in school work. It is an extra burden to an already heavy workload.

However, now I can relax a little on this issue. My girl loves to read. So all I need is to buy her lots and lots and lots of storybooks. She devours them up in no time. I had forgotten that was how I learned English. We were not taught grammar in school but I read so many story books and that was how I used to do well in English during primary school. So now, I will just let her read as much and as often as she wants. Then I can sit back and watch her vocabulary and grammar improve automatically. She says she likes to read books that has no pictures in them, only words. "Then I can imagine it myself, mummy."

So that is how I finally found the right English Teachers for my girl. They are English Storybooks. :)

6 comments:

  1. wow.. that's so good... she even requests story books that only with words.. bravo.. :)

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  2. Wow, that's good of her to read books without pictures.
    My son is now in std one and so far, he's good in all subjects, but slight attention required in BM.
    I guess I'm a bit laid back cos I don't send him for any additional co-curriculum classes. He does go to the daycare and they give him very good guidance in homework.
    He doesn't need any coaching at home anymore since the daycare gave them lots of supervision in their schoolwork.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Iistrongly agree with you and I have same worry like you too. Me too thinking to send my kids to English class but in the other hand i don wan to load them too much of classes...they have their ballet class, drawing class (their own request) arithmetic class (school requested) I also feel tired sending them. I also using reading story books , hope that it's work. I am using Enid Blyton story....any interesting story books pls share...thks

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  4. Difficult isnt' it? To be students in Malaysia? The most children in other countries need to master is 2languages, and ours have to do 3.

    Luckily your girls like to read.

    We're trying to let Zara build a strong foundation in English, before she enters std 1.

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  5. Chew Lee,
    She prefers those to comics which her dad prefers. Haha.

    Babysmooches,
    It is good that you found a good daycare. Takes off a lot of load and worries and shouting and.... hehehe.

    Nat,
    My girl likes the Geronimo Stilton series, The A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and some others. If you browse at the bookshop, you'll find plenty.

    zmm,
    I am trying to do that for my boy too but at the same time trying to make sure that he does not get too lost in Chinese Mandarin when he enters Std 1 so the difficulty really starts during preschool!

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  6. Hi Sahm,
    Your blog is great!
    I just launched a free website for teaching children to read English. It has little bit of explanation in Chinese and there are video instructions with all the exercises so the idea is that children who don't know any English can use them. I would love to reach children in China but with the website being brand new I don't appear on the search engines yet. I would love you to take a look and let me know what you think.
    Thanks very much in advance.

    Deborah Delin

    ReplyDelete

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