Saturday, 16 November 2013

Who had 2nd position in class?

Yesterday was a very happy day for our family. The hubs and I attended the awards ceremony in #3's school as she managed to attain the 2nd position in her class! That came as a surprise to us as she didn't study any harder than she normally did and played just as much as she always did.

Besides, I have always thought that #3 is not suitable for our education system as she has a different learning style and learning by rote is very difficult for her. School has always been a bore to her and her results reflect her interest. 
I was even more excited than her
So how did she achieve such a vast improvement in 3 short months?

After her dismal P5 mid-year exam results (failed almost everything),  I decided that instead of the normal pattern whereby I get them tuition only in the P6 year, I realised that as she didn't have a good foundation from young (hardly read books, never had good teachers) she needed to start tuition immediately for her 2 weakest subjects. So I hired an English tutor and a Chinese tutor for her. My instruction to them was that they have to make lessons fun to engage her as she can't sit still and finds the traditional way of learning very boring.

So what her tutors did was to figure out her interests and use those topics to teach her so that it didn't feel like she was doing work. Her English tutor realised that she loved colours so she allowed her to decorate her pages and use her markers and highlighters to do her work. On days when she was tired, she didn't insist that she do written work. Instead, they just talked the questions out. Basically, both her tutors took the time to understand her learning style and they tailored the lessons to fit her. There was always laughter in the room, and even #1 said, "Wah, not bad huh, her tuition always like playing, yet she improved so much."

But I was still puzzled as to how she achieved such great improvements especially in her English as tuition was only once a week for an hour. At the awards ceremony, I took the opportunity to speak to her English teacher, Mdm Ling. She believes that it had to do with the drama sessions they had in term 3. Their class had the good fortune of being picked as one of the classes where Dr Magit from MOE was running some sort of research on how drama could help the students. Mdm Ling said that #3 loved the drama classes so much that she was fully involved in it. Besides acting, the kids had to write out the storyline and obviously a lot of speaking was also involved. She feels that all these helped to increase her interest in the English language, with a resultant improvement in her English grades. Mdm Ling also mentioned that the majority of students in her class improved on their English grades. 

I can finally see what I have believed in all along. In my previous post on our education system on our education system, I bemoaned the fact that our education system is a one size fits all method, which does not suit every child as different children have different learning styles. When the delivery is suited to the child, the child can easily pick up the same material which she previously couldn't. I hope Dr Magit's research bear much fruit and not only will drama be introduced to our schools as part of the English curriculum (especially for those children who need a different teaching modality) but other modalities will also be studied to see what works for our children.

There was also another very interesting fact which I unearthed anecdotally. As yesterday was the last day of school, #3 invited her friends over. Coincidentally, her other friend Nat also had the drama research conducted in her class. Now, #3 has always been in the lower band of classes while Nat has always been in the top band of classes. As I was discussing this topic with them, I could still see the excitement in #3's eyes as she related the drama lessons to us and how it was soooo fun! On the other hand, Nat said that it was "ok only". #3 immediately responded "ya you all in the smart classes enjoy studying so much, all these things not fun for you". Then I recalled that Mdm Ling did say that she never had so much fun teaching English in all her years as the kids in #3's class really let loose and they all had a great time. It is precisely these kids who find it difficult to learn via the traditional boring way who need a more hands-on approach.
#3's flowers having pride of place on our dining table
Her English tutor came to her awards ceremony to personally deliver this bouquet of flowers to #3. It was indeed a lovely surprise for her. But what was most heartwarming was when #3 told her little brother, "I got 2nd in class you know" and he gave her a big hug and said "Wah! I'm soooo proud of you." How I wish everyday was like this ;)



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

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