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Have #SpecialNeeds #Kids? Shut Them Up! #Malaysia #TCK #Autism

My brother is mentally-retarded. One day, he came home from school and never wanted to go to school again. My parents and I suspect he was being bullied at school.
Let’s make some noise, let’s show them the care and love. They need a healthy and happy environment like us.

An English Class without a Book

Warning: As a parent, you may not agree with the teaching method. You can choose to

(a) Leave this post alone, or

(b) Read this post and see if it will help your children in learning.


I am not Perfect

This is the continuation from Try to be like the turtle.

Why do we compare with others? Because we want to be better, if possible, we want to be perfect. But, nobody is perfect. Because of this “Nobody’s perfect” principle of mine, I never give full marks in a survey form. Until I met this young trainee at the company I worked for. She did not get full marks for her trainee report that I gave her and she went all the way to her school’s teacher to get in touch with me even after her training period had ended.

She is hardworking and she has done her job well. So, I “revised” her report, which was already high marks, to give her full marks. Nonetheless, since then, in my dictionary, she is 0 mark in attitude. I would not feel offended if she had told me on the spot when I gave her the report on the last day of the training. She could tell me that the marks are very important to her and that she had really worked hard during the training period.

After she has graduated, from her Facebook’s various comments, I can see that she faces obstacles at work. Everyone faces obstacles at work, but when I read her comments, I feel sad for her. Yes, she can ask the teacher to ask the superior to give her full marks, but she cannot ask her teacher to ask her colleagues or bosses to give her full marks at work. This is reality, face it!

I am not perfect myself. When I was younger, many parents compared their children to me, who had good academic results. But what the parents did not see is, what an unhappy and boring childhood I had, few friends, studying all the time.

Children, be like the turtle, at ease in your own shell.

Parents, let your children be like the turtle. A child who grows at ease in his / her own shell will become a happy adult.

What Do Children Like?

Children have a different perception on tuition. For them, tuition = more learning = NO FUN. Thus, you cannot expect children to sit there for one hour or longer for something that is not fun. To make the learning more fun and engaging, every student needs 5S:

1. Stickers

Depending on the gender, you can choose princesses for girls and robots for boys. If you want something unisex, choose pets or nature theme. The stickers can be given for a job well done and are suitable for both primary and secondary students.

2. Stamps

I have a “Homework” stamp which works wonder whenever I want my students to do homework. The stamp serves as a magical spell; if the child sees the stamp on his / her assessment book, he / she has the responsibility to finish it before the next class.

I also have other stamps with encouraging words on them, such as Well Done, Excellent, Very Good, etc. The children try their very best to do the homework and the encouraging stamps are there on the page permanently to serve as an encouragement for the children to do better next time.

Some secondary students may think stamps are childish, thus stamps work wonder for primary students only.


Different stamps

3. Sophisticated stationery

Nowadays, children are showered by gifts; they get stationery from school teachers and parents. Thus, if you want to grab their attention, give them something special and sophisticated. They will remember it for a longer period. Of course, you may be having a difficult time finding a “special something”, so do not give on a regular basis. Once in a blue moon, when you have found some special stationery, keep it for special occasion, such as Children’s Day.

4. Someone to talk to

Parents may be surprised, children like to talk and share their experience. Maybe you are too busy to listen to them and always ask them to keep their mouth shut. Lucky for me, I teach Chinese language. As a result, whenever the child wants to share something, I will grab the chance to teach him / her some related Chinese words. I also encourage my students to speak in Chinese language to me.

5. Story books

Just like stationery, you must be selective about the story books to share with children. Generally, younger children like story books with images. The story must also suit the age language proficiency of the child. If the words used in the story book are too difficult for the child, he / she will not have the interest to read the story book.

Other than the 5S, you may also want to look for children newspapers or magazines to enhance learning. Nonetheless, do not make it like homework. Singapore schools give children magazines and/or newspaper to the students. Teachers may have noticed that not all students read the extra reading materials, and thus they ask the students to do the exercises in the reading materials.

Case study: I select some interesting topics from a bi-weekly children newspaper to share with my 7-year-old student. There was once when the new issue had not reached me, but the student wanted to read more. So, I asked him to read the children magazines, which he has more than 15 issues, from school. He refused. He said those are “homework”, not magazines.

I am glad that the student wants to read my newspaper. On the other hand, I am sad that he treats the magazines from school as “homework” and refuse to read them at home.

My greatest satisfaction is that I have successfully instilled the reading interests in my students. It is the little thing that makes a big difference. Let’s find out what interest your child and help them to excel in learning!

Please Respect the Books

A 7-year-old boy threw his elder brother’s book on the floor. I told him he not to throw any books on the floor, even if the book is not his. I told him to respect the book.

“But the book is not a person,” he protested.

I did not have a chance to explain to him why even though a book is not a person, we should still respect the book, because his mum came out from the room to make sure he picked the book up.

I grow up believing that books should be respected so that what you learn from the books can be remembered in the brain. Yes, a book is not a person. But, books contain knowledge. Along the way of gaining knowledge, books are the important bridge between you and knowledge.

If you do not respect books, it means you do not respect the knowledge in the books. For me, not respecting the knowledge is a disaster, it sounds like I would be dumb. Who would want to be dumb?

I do not throw books onto the floor; I also do not throw books into the recycle bin. I have lots of books. There was one time when my mum wanted me to “recycle” my books (which means the books will be treated as normal paper and recycled into other paper products). No! I rather give them to the library. At least, the knowledge is not “destroyed”.

You may say that I am old-fashioned, but I would like to repeat, respect the books, please.

Crush it!

Recently, a grandmother asked me how to make her grandson to be faster in responding. I answered: playing electronics games. I am not sure if she is surprised by my answer. But, I am telling the truth. Her grandson is not really slow in responding, it is just that he is comparatively slower than his twin brother.

Most electronic games set a time limit for you to accomplish a task. Thus, the games train you to think faster (This is what the grandmother wants the grandson to be). What children can learn from playing electronic games:

  1. Choose an appropriate game — Sooner or later, children grow up and need to make their own decisions. Parents can help the younger children to choose an appropriate game to play. For older children, why not let them choose themselves? And you will see how good or bad the decision is and guide them along the way.
  2. Time planning — Two aspects of time planning are learnt. First, the time limit set in a game. A 7-year-old boy said it’s not fair when it was game over for him in a few seconds. For adults, we know that it is fair enough because time limit has been set and we should abide by the rules. Second, the time set for games. We cannot play games for one whole day, even if it is a holiday. Thus, we must set a time limit per day. Parents must make sure the child comply with the time limit set.
  3. Strategy planning — If you want to win the game or go up to the next level, you must have strategy. How you plan to archive your goal set you thinking.
  4. Proper use of money (gems, gold, etc.) — Games have gems, gold or other “expensive” currency to help you along the way. Children may tend to use all the gems to buy nice and cute stuff offered. That’s when the parents can teach them to delay gratification.
  5. Look for details — If you are not going to use the “expensive” currency to help you, are you still able to get to the next level? Yes, you just have to look out for the details to help you. There are many ways to win, as long as you can find which way is more suitable.
  6. Learn the rules — The 7-year-old boy who said it’s not fair has not learnt the rules. For younger children, parents can explain the rules to them and make sure they understand. No child is too young to learn all the rules. I went to a Sudoku competition some years ago; children solved the puzzle in a shorter time than adults. Thus, teach the children and they will amaze you with what they can archive.

You may ask, which games do I recommend? I would recommend Sudoku and Candy Crush Saga. When it is time for playing games, I like to choose games that do not need much thinking, and then I discard the games because they are boring. Thus far, Sudoku and Candy Crush Saga are the two games that set my brain working and I will keep playing for some time.

Playing electronics games is good, but not the best for children.

Yes, we must have other activities for children, such as reading and sports. Although there are advantages for playing electronics games, there are also disadvantages. Therefore, keep a balance between games and other activities.