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Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School & Kindergarten

  1. #41
    Beijingmum is offline Registered User
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    I think every parents want to give the best what they have to their children, so I will not argue with u, cause I think u r a great mother, and I'm not.

    For me, Thank god that my son can do his homework all by himself, need not any tutor, and he also has time for reading, and going out play with his friends, everyday I tutor my students, so I have little time for him, just doing sports with him when I have time.

    Sometimes I think many parents are cool and selfish to their kids, cause adults can have their own time after work, but they don't want their kids have their own time after school!, what else your kids can do after school if they must have so many tutor time everyday? What's gain and what's lost?

    Sometimes I think

  2. #42
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    I find this a very entertaining thread. I don't know much about KCIS (I have one friend who's daughter goes there, and that's about it). But I am intrigued by the different opinions on learning different languages. I was born in a non-English speaking country and learnt to speak English fairly fluently, I would say. I was taught French from elementary school and later German. I studied some Spanish and eventually got a degree in Japanese Studies. Learning a new language is a great gift and should be stimulated at all times. I have no doubt that there are differences in how easily children and adults can pick up new languages. Some show more interest than others. Some are better at it, than others. Mine are not very interested in learning our mother tongue at all and refuse to speak at all cost, but do understand quite OK. They prefer learning some Mandarin, well fine! I decided not to fight it. Learning new skills is hard, whether it's a new language or anything else, but just because it's hard doesn't mean the end result cannot be rewarding. In an international world, speaking (multiple) languages is a great gift, why wouldn't you offer your child that opportunity. I learned to speak Japanese, could read about 500-750 Kanji, get around ... yes, it was hard (I was already in my 20s) but is that a reason not to try? What are we teaching our children if we don't give them a chance to try and experience, and telling them upfront that it's too hard. I am definitely not in favor of lots of tutoring. My oldest has a little bit of help with Mandarin to give her confidence, but apart from that, I still help her with her homework anyway. Yes, she can do it by herself, but she needs guidance on how to ask more questions, how to tackle, how to organize things, because she's on her way becoming an independent learner, that doesn't happen by itself or overnight. I have met so many children here in Hong Kong who speak 2 or 3 languages fluently (sometimes including Mandarin or Cantonese), I don't understand how somebody can say it won't be possible or it's too hard. It's not always easy and it can be struggle at times but again, is that a reason NOT to do it? So to answer beijingmum's question, there is soooo much to gain and I am sure there are sacrifices, but that's part of every day life. I can only applaud and respect those who have the patience to support their children to learn multiple languages, it may not be the easy way, but I am sure it's the most rewarding. I have no doubt.

  3. #43
    charade is offline Registered User
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    There's a difference, though, between a child learning languages organically because the home is bilingual, or the playmates, helper or grandparents speak a different language from the parents and going to a school where the medium of instruction is completely new. Many children have a hard time adjusting to the idea of school itself, leave alone being in an environment where they can't understand what the teacher is saying, or what their classmates are saying. Some children might pick up the language more quickly and be fairly thickskinned; others might find it quite stressful. Some children might be able to override the language barrier in the playground and make friends, others might not and be very unhappy.

    In general, I would say homework would be harder because the child is struggling with the language as well as the concept in the homework. So even with a tutor it would take longer. This might be ok for some kids but for others, it might cultivate a dislike of learning altogether because there would be no subject in which they could be done quickly. Supervising a kid occasionally - especially when they are 10 or older - is different from having them sit with a tutor at a scheduled time going through everything.

    So, yes, it can be rewarding because they learn another language but it can also be an unhappy experience for the child. Each parent has to know their child and whether they are suited to this sort of thing. I've seen different results even in the same family.

  4. #44
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    ....Many children have a hard time adjusting to the idea of school itself, leave alone being in an environment where they can't understand what the teacher is saying, or what their classmates are saying.
    If you scratch the surface and examine why a kid is having hard time adjusting to school (any language), you will generally find some type of learning difficulty. It could be ADHD, dyslexic, emotional issues or one or more of dozens of different problems.

    Such children would not be well suited for the extra work and pressure multiple languages would present.

  5. #45
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardcoombs View Post
    If you scratch the surface and examine why a kid is having hard time adjusting to school (any language), you will generally find some type of learning difficulty. It could be ADHD, dyslexic, emotional issues or one or more of dozens of different problems.

    Such children would not be well suited for the extra work and pressure multiple languages would present.
    Hmmm, I would say I had a time adjusting to school initially and making friends and I was far from in the minority. I definitely didn't have learning issues or clinical problems like ADHD etc... I just regular going to school angst and was an introvert.

    As you said, there's extra work involved in being in a school that's not your first language. There's extra work for anyone and for a kid that's not into academics (I was into academics incidentally and did very well at school) or introverted (like me) it's going to be harder. I think there are lots of kids that fall into either of those categories without falling into the learning difficulty-emotional problems category. School itself is not a natural state of being, it's something kids have to adjust to. Add to that coping with communicating in a language (not just academically but wiith classmates also) you don't speak naturally and you're adding another layer of difficulty which might be too much for a lot of children. You will probably argue that it's too much only for a small number of children... I guess we'll differ on that.

    Again, I think it's great that you and your children have thrived in your choice of medium-of-instruction. I just don't think that it's for everyone, or even the majority.

    Though I'm actually thinking of the very local government run Cantonese schools or fully Mandarin. Bilingual schools (Like KCIS?) might be a softer option on the kids because teachers are more equipped to deal with children who are not first language Mandarin and the playground also has kids who speak languages other Cantonese/Mandarin.

  6. #46
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    ....Add to that coping with communicating in a language (not just academically but wiith classmates also) you don't speak naturally and you're adding another layer of difficulty which might be too much for a lot of children. You will probably argue that it's too much only for a small number of children... I guess we'll differ on that.

    Again, I think it's great that you and your children have thrived in your choice of medium-of-instruction. I just don't think that it's for everyone, or even the majority.
    You're right :-)
    I will argue that its very small number of children and I'll go a little bit further and expand my argument.

    I believe that "normal" children are far more capable than what their parents give them credit for. We are now living in an age where fewer and fewer children are allowed to be outside of their comfort zones and are protected from perceived possible harms that could come their way. In short, many parents wont push their kids out of fear of what might happen.
    I'm not only referring to multi-lingual education but much more.

    I believe that kids should be pushed and made to try different things. If they dont like it, try one or 2 more times and then back off and move on to new experiences. I do not subscribe to the notion that parents will know what their kids will and wont like, will or wont succeed before even trying something.

    A small tangent story :
    We regularly (once every 2-3 months) take our kids to HKS http://www.hksl.org They do a fantastic job of slowly and lightly introducing kids to classical music. We regularly invite other parents to join us.
    I've encountered many parents of kids who flatly refuse by saying "oh no, my kids wont like that"; these kids have never seen a classical concert let alone see HKS' light approach; I cannot fathom any kid not wanting to go to a concert of Disney classics or a rendition of StarWars using classical instruments. Alas those kids will never get the opportunity...

    This parent that would not bring the kids to the concert is a tri-lingual parent and has sent the Asian looking kids to an English only school. When asked why, you will be told "my kids could not survive doing multiple languages so we are sending them to English only school". Meanwhile, I know for a fact that these kids were never exposed to Cantonese or Mandarin lessons at any time in their early lives just like they are not being exposed to any classical music. They are wonderful and perfectly normal and capable kids.

    I find such situations sad. Sad that the kids were never exposed and be given the opportunity to flourish but rather held back by parents based on .......what? I dont know....

  7. #47
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Actually, the reason I jumped into this conversation when it took a more general turn was because I'm intrigued by the idea of sending my son to a Cantonese-medium school where not only would he learn the language but also mix with a range of children, not just the ones from families that can afford private school fees, not to mention the cost benefit to my own pocket. But, finally, I'm leaning against it because it seems like a bit too much work for both child and parent. School is a bigger commitment than a couple of classes to explore an interest or talent. Also, the way the education system in HK is set up, it seems like if for some reason the child can't cope with the second-language education, there'd be a real scramble to find a place in an English-medium school.

    Just curious - if you think most kids have the capacity to learn in a second language, would you favour a government policy where all children have to learn in a language different from their native one (barring those that have specific learning or emotional difficulties)?

    I'm also conflicted about this exposing-kids-to-stuff and pushing them to unearth their potential idea. I'm not in the don't-push-at-all camp, but I also find the enthusiasm parents here have for enriching their kids lives with a schedule of extracurriculars and activities more than a little crazy. I find the idea of children in schools where medium of instruction is not their native language more palatable but when I examine it, how is it different from parents who push their kids into all those extracurriculars, cutting down on their play time?

  8. #48
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    But, finally, I'm leaning against it because it seems like a bit too much work for both child and parent. School is a bigger commitment than a couple of classes to explore an interest or talent. Also, the way the education system in HK is set up, it seems like if for some reason the child can't cope with the second-language education, there'd be a real scramble to find a place in an English-medium school.
    There is a scramble anyway no matter now or later :-)
    If it were me, I'd try it. You have very little to lose.

    Just curious - if you think most kids have the capacity to learn in a second language, would you favour a government policy where all children have to learn in a language different from their native one (barring those that have specific learning or emotional difficulties)?
    Dont some governments force you and come pretty close to this already? I'm thinking of the Dutch system and Austrian systems where they force you to take 3 or more languages before you can graduate. AFAIK, there are many schools that are English primarily with national languages taking second seat.

    I'm also conflicted about this exposing-kids-to-stuff and pushing them to unearth their potential idea. I'm not in the don't-push-at-all camp, but I also find the enthusiasm parents here have for enriching their kids lives with a schedule of extracurriculars and activities more than a little crazy. I find the idea of children in schools where medium of instruction is not their native language more palatable but when I examine it, how is it different from parents who push their kids into all those extracurriculars, cutting down on their play time?
    You have to strike a balance.
    In our family, we achieve it by:
    Mon-Friday : School only, no extra activities
    Saturday : Various activities for various kids all day with breaks
    Sunday : Family day. No scheduled activities allowed. We go to beach, pool, hike, ride, play whatever we feel like as a family.
    I dont think thats too extreme and the kids cope with it just fine.
    Our oldest is now 12 and she is asking to be released a bit more to hang out with her friends so she has started doing that mid-week and Saturday evenings as long as all homework is complete...
    kpelszyn likes this.

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