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Friday, June 24, 2022

3 Tips on How English Speaking Parents Can Find Mandarin Tutors


Guest Post by Adeline Kwok, parent of Matthew, aged 9 and user of AskBee

As a first time mom, I knew that there was so much I didn't know. But never would I have thought that finding not just a tutor, but the RIGHT tutor for my child was going to be this hard.

Just to give you guys some background: My husband and I were both raised in English speaking households. We both can communicate well in Mandarin as it's still our grandparents preferred language of communication. But that was the extent of our Mandarin usage and capabilities.

When my husband and I had Matthew, like every other “banana” parent out there, we wanted him to do, know and have more than us. Which meant enrolling him in a Chinese school and trying our hardest to help him with his Mandarin homework... till we couldn’t anymore. Mind you, this realization came when he was only in Standard 3! (Our grandparents would be so embarrassed!)

Thus began our stressful journey of finding our dear Matthew his first Mandarin tutor.

Tip 1: Ask For Help

There are so many factors that go into finding a good tutor - Will Matthew like him or her? Will the tutor take the time to find an approach that works with Matthew? Will he or she be patient? How experienced is this tutor? Should I go for private, group or online tuition?

I’ve seen stressed parents posting on multiple platforms asking for good tutors so I knew I wasn’t alone in this. I’ve also seen the threads of replies with tutor names and phone numbers from other helpful (and probably equally stressed) parents. But I was NOT excited about the idea of going through months of trial and error before finding the right one.

One fine day, I saw an ad for AskBee and decided to give it a shot.

Tip 2: Pick The Right Tutor

The main reason I decided to give it a go was because I knew that I could look through the Tutors Profiles to know more about their tutors. Information such as the subjects the tutors teach, affiliations the tutors belonged to and even reviews and ratings from other students are made public. I could even see if other students chose to add the tutor to their Favourite Tutor pool. This really helped filter through the tutors for me.

I checked out the AskBee website to find out more and was happy to know that most of the tutors had a teaching background or were straight A students themselves.

Once Matthew found a tutor that he liked, he would request for a session. If the session went especially well, he would add the tutor to his Favourite Pool. The app would also suggest similar tutors for us to check out and request for sessions from. Soon Mathew had a whole pool of trusted, qualified Mandarin tutors whom he was getting assistance from!

From not knowing where to start to now knowing that Matthew has a community of tutors ready to pick up his requests at any time - this journey has definitely been an interesting one!

Tip 3: Pick Tutors Who Instil A Love of Learning

I’m happy to report that Matthew’s Mandarin is improving and more importantly, he’s enjoying the process again. I know that eventually my husband and I are going to be turning to Matthew for our Mandarin translation needs. (Our grandparents would be so proud… of Matthew at least).

Click here to learn more about AskBee and receive 2 free sessions!

“This is the first time I've gotten an A in my Mandarin! Now that I have AskBee, I don't have to bother my parents with my homework and revision anymore. The tutors have been very patient as well.” 

(Ayden Yap, Standard 5)

This post was brought to you by AskBee. AskBee is an app that helps primary and secondary school students to learn better, by providing them with live, on-demand access to a personal tutor.

All approved AskBee tutors are current or former school teachers, full time tutors, or university undergrads who were A+ students themselves and are equipped to teach. All tutor applicants go through a strict interview and onboarding process with the AskBee team and will continue to go through quality checks and reviews.

Monday, June 20, 2022

How can you learn English for the real world

This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia.

Fluency in English is essential for young people with exciting ambitions. It’s the global language of business and vital in connecting with people from a wide range of backgrounds. Real-world English language skills can not only help your child excel in all areas and stay academically competitive now, but give them the confidence to embrace future challenges. We explore what it means for our Secondary students and what to expect from our courses.

What is English for the real world?

Learning English for the real world means going beyond the school syllabus. We believe that our Secondary students are most engaged when stretched to apply their language skills to real-life situations, including complex topics such as climate change and the environment.

More than just an English course, our lively classes enable young learners to find their voice by participating in interactive activities with their peers. In addition to developing their language skills, they will gain the necessary tools to succeed in life, such as collaboration, creativity, resilience and leadership.

Preparing young people for the real world also means encouraging them to be inquisitive. We challenge them to go deeper by reading new texts thoughtfully and deliberately, rather than simply a superficial surface level understanding. In our supportive environment, students learn to build evidence-based arguments and are encouraged to express their own opinions without fear. This promotes confidence in their ability to think independently, while putting students in charge of their own learning journey.

More about our Secondary courses

The British Council’s Secondary school English tuition courses place a strong emphasis on helping students to build a global mindset. Our highly qualified and passionate teachers approach this by focusing on their intercultural confidence, critical thinking and analytical reading skills, in tandem with key exam techniques. Stimulating up-to-date topics are linked to timely world issues, incentivising students to improve their communication skills by seeing the immediate relevance of what they are learning.

Equipping our young learners with English for the real world will help them to achieve academic success, while developing the 21st century proficiencies needed to thrive beyond their school years.

To find out more about our courses for kids and teens, visit our website or book a free consultation with our friendly consultant.

Friday, June 03, 2022

No More PT3, What's Next?

Recently during a live press conference, Education Minister Datuk Dr. Mohd. Radzi bin Md. Jidin announced the abolishment of PT3 with effect from 2022. That announcement was made in a few minutes and he spent the next close to an hour explaining what parents should expect in terms of their children's assessments going forth. 

Here's what parents should expect in terms of their children's assessment starting from the year 2022 onwards. Before that, here are some terms you should know.

PBS = Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (School Based Assessment)
PBD = Pentaksiran Bilik Darjah (Classroom Based Assessment)
PAJSK = Pentaksiran Aktiviti Jasmani Sukan & Kokurikulum (Physical Activity, Sports and Co-curricular Assessment) *It includes the Physical Fitness Standards National (SEGAK) and Body Mass Index (BMI).  SEGAK = Standard Kecergasan Fizikal Kebangsaan
PPsi = Pentaksiran Psikometrik (Psychometric Assessment) 
TP = Tahap Penguasaan (Level of Mastery)
PKSK = Pentaksiran Kemasukan Sekolah Khusus (this is an entrance exam for special interest schools)
KPM = Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (Ministry of Education)

No more PT3, what about primary and secondary school students' assessment?

How will my children be assessed now that UPSR and PT3 has been abolished?

Now that UPSR and PT3 has been abolished, school based assessment (PBS) will be carried out. PBS consist of 3 components 

  1. PBD (classroom assessment)
  2. PAJSK (physcical activity, sports and co-curricular assessment)
  3. PPsi (pyschometric assessment) ie Aptitude, Personality and Career Interest Assessments
Two methods of PBD will be carried out. They are:

1. Formative (continuous assessment)
2. Summative (end of unit assessment eg. half year or year end assessment) 

In short, now that UPSR and PT3 has been abolished, students will be assessed in school through their classroom work, physical activity, sports and extra curricular activities as well as psychometric assessments. These assessments will be carried out throughout the year as well as at the end of term or end of year. 

Unlike PT3 which assesses students from Form 1 to Form 3 in its entirety, assessment will be done on a yearly basis.

Decentralized but with Standardized Questions via Question Bank prepared by KPM 

In order to ensure standardization so that an equivalent standard is achieved throughout the country, KPM will prepare a question bank for year end summative assessments. 

These question bank will be for the following levels:
  • Std 4, 5 & 6 - BM, BI, Math, Sains, Sejarah  (Other subjects to be prepared by the school)
  • Secondary School - All subjects
Teachers and schools will be given flexibility to conduct the assessments at their preferred time and manner. However, they will be able to access the question bank within a given time frame. 

Reporting of PBS to parents. What to expect?

- Twice a year reporting will be done ie during mid term and at the end of year.

- New format for reporting. Whereas previously parents were confused with the TP (Tahap Penguasaan) reporting, better explanation will be provided for the TP1 to TP6 ranges to help parents understand. Instead of lumping in the assessment in terms of TP, the new format will include other segments encompassing effort based assessment and teacher reviews as well as intervention proposals or recommendations
  • Apart from TP or Level of Mastery of subjects, students will also be assessed based on the effort they have put in for their work ie Penilaian Tahap Usaha Murid.
  • Class teacher and subject teachers are to provide reviews (ulasan) and intervention proposals for parents and teachers in the following year
  • The report will cover PBD, PAJSK and PPsi * 
* (PPsi will now be also included for Std 4 & 5 and Form 2)

- Year end reporting will commence in 2022/2023 academic year

- Half year reporting will commence in 2023/3024 academic year

No more PT3, what about entrance to special interest schools and boarding schools?

Placement of students to special interest schools will no longer be based on PT3 results or the new year end assessments, instead there will be separate entrance exams ie PKSK.

Read this year 2020 article to have a better idea about the PKSK entrance exams: New system to tap creative, critical thinking among students.

No more PT3, what about streaming for Form 4?

Streaming will be based on PBD as well as teacher's discussion with student and parents.

With this it is hoped that there will no longer be any comparisons between kids, schools, PPD or at JPN level. Assessments will no longer be high stakes examinations testing on academics only. Instead a more all-rounded education is encouraged with yearly interventions if kids are falling behind academically. Benchmarks will be maintained through a centralized question bank. "Let's Build The Kids Together", said the minister. 

PPD = Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (District Education Department)
JPN = Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri (State Education Department)

Watch the press conference here:

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