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Nervous Mom

  1. #17
    HappyV is offline Registered User
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    Dear Valenica,
    I am sorry that you are so stressed about your child's education. Just a few observations.....
    I taught at one of he most prestigious Girls' Schools in HK for three years. Although the standard of English was very high, the girls mostly reminded me of robots - they were unable to think independantly, and if a questions was not phrased in the same terms as their textbooks, they tended not to know the answer. In my experience with many HK students, the ability to think creatively and laterally is not at all valued in schools.
    IN my experience, most developed countries have primary schools running fron 9ish - 3.30ish every day. It is not the full school day that is the problem, but a combination of unrealistic amounts of homework, and the ever growing trend for children to do TOO MANY activities after school. I have students who play two or three musical instruments, a couple of sports, + extra maths, tutoring etc etc. To have a 10 year old student (as I do) who does piano, clarinet, violin, tennis, basketball, netball, and extra maths and chinese classes, is aksing for an exhausted student, an an unhappy family.
    Don't get me wrong - I am all for kids experiencing lots of things, but kids in HK do far too much, and simply don't have time for creative play. (or indeed, ANY kind of play).
    I understand that HK is competitive for students, but you don;t have to be a doctor/lawer/architect/civil servant to be happy, or even to make a good salary.
    I cannot help feeling that the competition sometimes is as a result of competition between mothers/parents. I hear conversations between parents that are just a constant battle of one-upmanship.
    My little baby is not even one year old. But I would prefer him to be happy and average, than unhappy and extraordinary. So much depends on being balanced, and so little depends on being 'successful'.
    Good Luck,
    HappyV

  2. #18
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Carang, but I think the Chinese international school teach only Mandarin, not written Chinese. Btw, Yewchung is exhorbitant! There's no way I can push her. Play is important, but I wonder how I can let her play under the present system and time-slot.

  3. #19
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    HappyV,

    I agree with you totally. I had private students from those schools, so it's my vanity and ambition to put my child in those schools. I won't like my child to participate in too many activities, but most moms in HK now are obsessed with the extra-curricular activities in order to earn credits for their children. Schools too are obsessed with activities and competitions in order to survive. I've heard about the mentality of those parents in those schools, and I'm afraid of becoming one. These days I'm still adjusting to my new schedule, and reflecting on my academic obsession.

  4. #20
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Hi Valencia and others,

    My kids are now in ESF. They have Mandarin classes 3 times per week in school and DH and I also enrolled them in extra Mandarin after school.

    Their progress is a bit slow, but they are begining to understand and use it as a *language*, not just as a purely academic exercise. However, ESF uses simplified characters in the reading and writing, while I wish they used complex characters, because that is most practical for living in HK and reading anything published before 1950.

    Both my kids take an instrument. The older one (10) has violin & the younger one (8) guitar. We try to make them practice every day (1/2 hour for the older one & 15 minutes for the younger one).

    The younger one has Kung Fu lessons & they both have a drawing class on Saturday.

    It is a rather heavy schedule, but it would be heavier if we allowed them to take all the classes they have requested (riding, gymnastics, swimming [we only give them swimming in the summer], rock-climbing...].

    Their school day goes from 8:30 to 2:30. I take them to school myself, we usually leave the house at 7:45-8:00.

    It *is* hard to resist the competative urges. I remember at my son's 6th birthday, one of the mothers told me her son twas taking cello and *loved* it and practiced at least 1 hour each day, and at first I felt inadequate. Why wasn't I giving my son cello lessons or calligraphy? But then I said "wait a minute, unless the kids is an extremely unusual prodigy, isn't that a kind of sad childhood? She says he loves it, but do you really believe it....?"

    Understanding the Robert Graves poem... I've been chewing on it for over 20 years (since my step-dad sent it to me). At this point, I think it is a poem about knowledge, self-knowledge and understanding. That when we embark on a true education we think about the mysetries of the world, which culminate in still more questions and maybe the answer does exit ("the neat brown paper parcel").

    Once you have looked at the answers to the complex questions (opening the parcel) you find see even greater complexity and more things to answer (the neat brown parcel again).

    His "Children, leave that string alone" because once you try to delve even deeper into the beauty and questions and complexities, you become enmeshed in them and tumble into further mysteries (which is how great scholars and scientists may spend their lives).

    So then, after experiencing so many layers of complexity and mystery and trying to answer them, and if you are still love and are intrigued by "fewness, muchness, rareness, Greatness of this endless only Precious world " you are then ready to penetrate its mysteries and come up with some real answers.

    And all this: the awe at the world around us and the quest for answers *is* true education, and is a deep and sometimes dangeorus endeavor that never stops.

    At least, that is what I think it means now.... I will probably keep looking at that poem for the rest of my life and puzzling it over. :)

    Because we all need to remember that education and academics are not the same thing (although they can be aligned) and remember the quote attributed to Mark Twain:

    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education"

  5. #21
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    Red face

    Loupou, thanks for sharing yr experience with us.

    This morning, when I took my child to the school bus, I saw other kids had their first assessment report. My child's class teacher told me they've changed the method of assessment since this semester. It'll be based on continuing assessment rather than exam, though there's still the exam. I see they're divided the second semester into 4 sections, which means 1 assessment for every 4 weeks. I've learnt the students got their first assessment this semester on the second week of school, assessing things they learnt in the first semester. Some parents have complained, what, another assessment again? The teachers are so busy doing the assessment stuff I doubt they have time to teach the children. My daughter is new and so exempted from the first assessement, but I've got the sheet for the area covered for the first section so it means 2nd assessment soon.

    Btw, my child and I went to a carnival organized by the school last week. We had a great time. But then the teachers have spent a lot of time organising this, which have tired them out, definitely.

    The above is a general phenonmenon, a tip of the ice-berg. My ex-helper has complained to me about her daughter, a kindie teacher, having to work overtime every day even during the weekends, leaving her no time to date.
    Why so much work for the teachers? Everybody else (other schools) are doing the same, organising carnivals and handing out leaflets to please the parents, the children and attract more students, because there're just not enough students and some schools will close down soon. This is a really sick mentality, tiring everybody else to survive. But then, where else can I take my child to if I want to stay in the local system?
    Last edited by Valencia; 03-06-2006 at 12:02 PM.

  6. #22
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Hi Valencia,

    Really, try and take a look at DSS schools. They have more freedom from the constant and ever-changing EMB "reforms".

    Also, one of my colleagues has a child in the HKIEd kindergartent and she says it's great (but out in Tai Po).

  7. #23
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    Loupou,

    Do you mean direct subsidiary schools? I don't think it's the DSS that makes a diff. What makes a diff is the band 1 English medium schools will be free from some reforms by the education bureau, but the competition among local schools for students still exists. My daughter is in a private kindie with a private primary school, whereas the secondary school is English medium subsidiary. Some subsidiary schools have fewer homework, like the one my neice is in, but then her school goes from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, sometimes to 5:30pm if she sings in a choir. It is Chinese medium and not band 1, and may move to Tseung Kwan O in a few years. Sorry for my constant mumbling but the local system is just getting wronger and crazy, and most parents' attitudes are : "That's the way it is".

  8. #24
    Histamin is offline Registered User
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    Hi loupou and valencia,
    What's the difference between DSS and DBS?
    I don't understand both of words.
    I watched TV few days ago, it contains "Schools have to close down and how to survive to this", I thought why they have to close,although many schools are operating morning session and afternoon session, which I hated to set my child to wake up later in the morning for this ubnormal schedule.

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