Joyful 阅

A Twist to the Gifted Education Programme

 

On 5 October night, Talking Point on Channel 5 was showcasing an interesting topic: I Want to Be in GEP!

What that episode of Talking Point wants to find out is whether you can train the gifted as parents are sending their children to enrichment classes to prepare the children for a series of test at Primary 3. There is a father who doesn’t believe in his son making his own choices, and thus spend more than S$7000 for GEP Preparation Course. As the episode proceeds, it is clear that the children do not want to be in GEP; rather the “I” in the title actually refers to the parents.

Another mother buys assessment books from Secondary 1 and Secondary 2 for her son who is in Primary 5.

Correspondingly, what is so special about the GEP?

The Gifted Education Programme (GEP) was set up by the Ministry of Education to cater to the intellectually gifted students. This programme aims to develop gifted children to their top potential and it places a special emphasis on higher-order thinking and creative thought.

Through the aforementioned series of tests, the top 1 per cent of the student population will be selected to enter the programme.

It is a good initiative by the MOE, but the problems come when parents misunderstand the purpose of GEP and start preparing their children for GEP, which as shown in Talking Point, it is not a good idea after all. The child may pass the tests and get into GEP but later suffer stress because he / she cannot keep up with the syllabus.

Students in GEP are also complaining about the high expectancy of teachers on their work and they feel stressful. Being in the GEP means less free time, more homework and demanding teacher for the students.

After reading on books on stress, competition and learning for children and a blog written by a student in GEP, I wish there is a twist in the GEP.

Suggestions

  1. Drop the name “Gifted”.
  2. As the mother of Primary 5 student finds out, the GEP is just learning two years in advance. Is it true? If yes, I would like to suggest giving Primary 5-equivalent tests to Primary 4 students. If they can score 95% or above for all subjects, promote the Primary 4 students to Primary 5.
  3. For students who have been promoted, assign them as young teachers to teach their peers. In this way, all parties involved are benefited. The teachers can prepare for activities that challenge the promoted students, the promoted students can be trained on leadership and the peers can learn better. Learning to work with students of different levels actually prepares students in real life.
  4. Rather than giving more homework, the teachers can identify which areas interest the promoted students and allow them to explore in the same classroom or a separate classroom. Some activities to challenge the mind are Sudoku, magic cube, chess, debate, etc.
  5. The promoted students continue to take the national Primary School Leaving Examination like other mainstream students. When they are in secondary schools, provide them with the real life problems that we are facing, and let them experiment and come out with a solution. These are projects to challenge the mind and benefit the country.
  6. If the promoted student chooses not to be promoted, he / she can stay in the same level as his / her friends and do activities in suggestion 3 and suggestion 4.
  7. The promoted students are allowed to take “time-off” from school as long as they can keep up with the syllabus.

Why I do not start with Primary 3 students? — Primary 3 students are still young and a year difference means they have a year to develop their intellects.

Why I want the promoted students to teach their peers? — From GEP, we know that the students are labelled as “smart” and they compete with their friends who are not in the GEP. Their teachers also always compare them with those who are not in the GEP.

Competition ⇒ Stress ⇒ Not performing optimally

By teaching their peers, they learn how to explain better and able to identify which knowledge they lack. Also, if the promoted students only mix with like-minded students, will they be frustrated when they meet a mediocre colleague who can’t see things eye to eye as them?

 

The above suggestions are my two cents. Any comments are welcome.

 

 

 

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Free Travel at Downtown Line Stations Today and Tomorrow

Downtown Line 3 officially opens today! There are sixteen new stations. I have been looking forward to Downtown Line 3 official opening because there is one station near my house.

For today and tomorrow, commuters who start and end their journey at any of the 34 Downtown Line stations will enjoy free travel.

The picture below shows the Downtown Line stations. What are you waiting for? Head to the nearest station near you and explore while it is free.

Downtown Line

 

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An Encounter with a Spoilt Brat

When I board the bus, a boy is crying beside two school bags. A woman is standing beside the school bags, guarding the school bags (and the boy).

I sit down just two seats away from the boy and observe. This is not something that you encounter everyday. The woman does not make any effort to stop the boy from crying. The boy is crying, shouting and mumbling at the same time. Other passengers are looking at the pair, wondering what is happening.

The bus has travelled a few bus stations away and the passengers are getting impatient.

Someone offers a seat to the boy but is rejected.

Someone asks the boy to keep quiet but we get more shouting and crying.

Someone says he will call the police but he does not.

An innocent preschooler says the police will catch the boy and the mummy hushes the preschooler immediately.

An elderly woman calls the boy a spoilt brat softly so that the boy won’t hear her.

The bus captain calls the control station but nothing can be done as the trip needs to go on and the woman accompanying the boy should be responsible to calm the boy down. He calls the control station twice!

The boy moves to sit down. He is closing his eyes, sobbing still. It is almost time for me to alight. I get ready my travel card and a tissue paper. I offer him the tissue paper when I walk to the bus door. He wipes his tears.

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I do not know what happens next. From observation, the woman is his domestic helper. The domestic helper calls the boy’s mother after the bus captain calling the control station. The boy says the domestic helper doesn’t let him eat. Well, they are on the way home and food is ready at home. It is just that the boy is hungry at the moment, hungry and tired, and maybe stressed from school.

No one, NO ONE, tries to understand why the boy is making a fuss, not even his domestic helper. Everyone is blaming him for causing a scene in the bus. Only I offer him a tissue paper. I feel sorry for him. I would be making a fuss if I were at his age, hungry, tired and stressed out.

I really hope that Singapore can be a better place for children to live. It takes a village to raise a child. But what if the child is in a village that does more harm than good? The boy is just in primary school. How is he going to cope when he goes to secondary school?

I have been reading books on brain and emotional stability and how childhood experience will “haunt” a child even after he or she becomes an adult. I do hope the boy can learn from his experience and do not let the incident haunt him when he grows up.

This encounter has opened up my mind and my eyes on how strangers can be so “harmful” even though they mean no harm. They just use the wrong method. The tissue paper will dry his tears, why no one has ever thought of that?

 

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Japanese Journey 十三 — Classroom

こんにちわ!Hello!

Today’s topic is on classroom. The sentences are related to learning. I have selected twelve sentences and the corresponding vocabulary list as below:

  1. 宿題 — homework
  2. 質問 — question
  3. 答えます — answer (verb)
  4. 辞書 — dictionary
  5. 言葉 — word
  6. 教科書 — textbook
  7. テスト — test (in katakana)
  8. 授業 — lesson / class
  9. やさしい — easy
  10. 難しい — difficult

The sentences are as below:

1. もう宿題は終わりましたか。

Have you finished your homework?

(The use of “か。” represents the question mark. In informal written Japanese, question mark can be used.)

2. これは日本語で何と言いますか。

How do you say this in Japanese?

(A useful sentence to learn new vocabulary in Japanese.)

3. この言葉の意味は何ですか。

What is the meaning of this word?

4. 辞書をひきます。

I look it up in a dictionary.

5. その質問は明日答えます。

I will answer the question tomorrow.

6. 教科書を見ていいですか。

Can I look at my textbook?

7. テストでは教科書を見てはいけません。

You cannot look at the textbook during the exam.

8. ほかの学生のテストを見てはいけません。

You cannot look at another student’s test.

9. その授業のテストはやさしいです。

Exams in that class are easy.

10. このテストはぜんぜんやさしくないです。

This test is not easy at all.

(やさしくないです is the negative form of やさしいです.)

11. やさしいテストと難しいテストがあります。

There is an easy exam and a difficult exam.

12. 午後三時に授業が終わって、家に帰りました。

The class ended at 3 pm and I went home.

 

Note: I have learnt more by writing in Japanese language in my posts. Let me know if I have made any mistake in writing as I am still a learner 🙂

それじゃ。See you.

 

Next lesson here…

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Japanese Journey 十二 — Nature

こんにちわ!Hello!

Today’s topic is on nature. I have selected eight sentences and the corresponding vocabulary list as below:

  1. 山 — mountain
  2. 川 — river
  3. 公園 — park
  4. 登り — climb
  5. 海 — sea
  6. 池 — pond
  7. 花 — flower
  8. 咲いて — (flowers) in bloom

The sentences are as below:

1. 魚が池にたくさんいます。

There are a lot of fish in a pond.

2. 男の子が海で泳いでいます。

A boy is swimming in the sea.

3. 夏は川で泳ぎます。

We swim in the river in summer.

4. この公園は花がたくさん咲いています。

There are many flowers blooming in this park.

5. 私の妹は公園の木に登ります。

My younger sister climbs up a tree in a park.

6. 今日は、山に登ります。

Today I am going to climb a mountain.

7. 昨日、山に登りました。

I climbed the mountain yesterday.

(Comparing sentence 6 and sentence 7, the verb is change to indicate the time.)

8. 山に登って それから 川に行きます。

I will climb the mountain, then go to the river.

 

Note: In Duolingo, kanji is kept to minimum. I use more kanji in my posts because I have learnt basic Japanese language. Let me know your opinion, do you want more kanji or less kanji?

それじゃ。See you.

 

Next lesson here

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Japanese Journey 十一 — New Timetable

こんにちわ!Hello!

I am now using Duolingo to learn Japanese language. Thus, a new timetable is out. The new timetable is arranged according to the topics in Duolingo.

joyfulyue.com_timetable_Japanese

The new timetable

The topics are the last twelve topics in Duolingo as I have quickly completed the three checkpoints.

joyfulyue.com_checkpoint_Japanese

The first checkpoint

The topics for the first checkpoint are basic Japanese, such as hiragana, greetings, introduction, food and time. I have learnt most of them before so passing the first checkpoint can be done in less than a week.

joyfulyue.com_checkpoint_Japanese

The second checkpoint

The topics for the second checkpoint are about time, home, family, activity, restaurant, etc. I have learnt some new vocabulary but with my foundation in Japanese language, the checkpoint can be done in a week.

joyfulyue.com_checkpoint_Japanese

The third checkpoint

The topics for the third checkpoint are starting to be more challenging. More vocabulary is learnt and I spend more time on this checkpoint. I also spend time on doing revision for topics in this checkpoint.

joyfulyue.com_Japanese_topics

The topics to be learnt

The last section is definitely for people who want to learn intermediate Japanese language. In the new timetable, I have set to learn a topic in a week. I will share what I have learnt in a particular topic in future posts.

それじゃ。See you.

 

Next lesson here

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Book Review — 孩子,我留什么给你

In 2014, I borrowed a book, 《学习方法》, which is suitable for students and learners. In 2017, I borrow a book,《孩子,我留什么给你 —— 一定要留给孩子的7大能力》, which is suitable for parents.

孩子 = child or children

留什么 = pass down what

能力 = abilities

书名:《孩子,我留什么给你 —— 一定要留给孩子的7大能力》

作者:谢淑美 (Carol)

《孩子,我留什么给你 —— 一定要留给孩子的7大能力》 has a long title. The title in English is “Children, what do I pass down for you? — The 7 abilities that must be passed down to children”. The writer is a mother to two daughters. As a parent, she has wondered what to pass down to her children. I have wondered the same too. Is it money? Is it important moral value, such as honesty?

If you are wondering the same issue, this is a good book. From the title of the book, the author writes about the seven important abilities (to be exact, six abilities and time) that she wants to pass down to her daughters. While there might be controversy whether a child needs us since birth or later when they are children, I strongly support “since birth”, rather than “later when they are children”.

The first thing that newborns need is sense of security. Once they have the sense of security, they are good with whomever, whether a domestic helper or a grandparent. Time is precious, growing up is only once and you can’t turn back time.

 

Child

The book cover

 

 

For each chapter, one or two children books are recommended for you and your children to read together.

It is also a parenting book. For example, in Chapter 13: 小孩吵架,大人不要插手 (When children quarrel, adults do not intervene).

I like a sentence from Chapter 2 the most:

“孩子的力量让我们可以谦卑地接受生命中的一切安排。”

(The power of children allows us to humbly accept all the circumstances in life.)

The author writes about her father-in-law passing away in Chapter 2. Her two daughters have given her the power to give her husband the necessary support.

Have you ever wondered what to pass down to your children? If yes, this book will answer your question. Happy reading!

 

 

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