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Category Archives: Hannah’s thoughts on Parenting & Teaching

Trying to do a slider for my blog header but I cant seem to get it up yet. Sharing my thoughts on teaching & hannahtuition

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Here are some of my thoughts I want to convey using the slider header.  🙂

First Slide: Children Should be taught How to Think Not What to Think 🙂

I like to challenge my students to think or relate to similar questions or logic when the students ask me to solve certain questions. I realise some children did not realise they give up easily when faced with some “seemingly difficult” problems.

Most of the time, I do not need to tell them the solution. Just prompt them a few questions and they can solve it themselves!! YEA!!

(Never underestimate how much knowledge and skills children can pick up. When I am coaching golf part-time to pre-schoolers, most of the parents can not believe when we told them our target is to train these kids to complete an executive par 3 golf course.)

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Second Slide: Involve children during teaching ( No more 1 way communication please! )

You can not teach a child to swim when both of you are not in the water.

Both teacher and the students need to get into the pool.

A child learns best when they feel safe to explore, to ask questions and to fail.

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Third Slide: Defending one of my favourite subject. 🙂

Most of the children no longer “brand” Mathematics as a boring subject after they understand certain concepts and could score well in the Maths exams. 🙂

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Fourth Slide: Goals i set for myself. 🙂

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Fifth Slide: Keeping myself sane while I excel in my work. 🙂

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There are so many things I want to do. But there are only 24 hours a day.

I pray that God prospers the works of my hands and let me achieve many things done in the time I have. 🙂

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Stress management for Kiasu Parents :)

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Some parents are afraid that the child will lose out to their peers if they do not prepare their kids well enough. It all come from a good intention to give the best to their children but I realise most kiasu parents get stressed when kids do not perform as per expectations especially after attending so many classes. The stress then get transfered to the children when the parents sign them up for more classes. 😦

Come on, raise your hands! Are you one of those ‘kiasu” parents? hee

Kiasu ~ a singlish term derived from Hokkien language for a behaviour of being  anxious not to miss out on any opportunity
 

Do you buy primary one books for your kindergarten children and enroll them in different enrichment classes so that they will be exposed to as many “skills” as possible?

Ok, although i am not a parent yet, but i raise both my hands on this question. I am guilty of being “kiasu” since I was a child. I will ask around for old notes and exercises from my seniors so that i can have the solutions for next year questions.  I will request my dad to find me a tutor in December holidays so that i start studying on next year syllabus earlier than my friends. I did all these just because I am afraid of LOSING OUT. Thank God i did well academically. I can not imagine how stress i will feel if i did not.

As i grew older, i realise our works can just take us so far. As i depend more on my works, i got panic attacks each time a critical examination grade did not meet my expectations.

Thank God i am completely healed of anxiety attacks in my mid-twenties. If not, under such bondage, i cant not imagine being a parent. I look at so many wonderful parents and salute them. Parenting is such an amazing role. Parents are mentors, playmates, teachers, confidantes, disciplinary masters,  cheer-leaders all in one body. Woot!

To me, parents are more than super-heros! And as super-super heros, we know that with GREAT POWER, come GREAT RESPONSIBILTIES.  To all parents out there (kiasu or not), lets not get stressed over our children, our work, the volatile economy, our mundane daily lives but rejoice and be glad in each day that was made. 🙂

Ask yourself 3 things you are thankful of each day. I realise there are always more than 3 things for me. 🙂

Found this nice short clip on stress management for parents and children on youtube.

 

Wait a minute. Just to quote what PM Lee said in this year national rally. ” Let our children have their childhood.” 🙂

Every child is a gem unpolished

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I say every child is a gem unpolished. Yes, u heard me right. Unpolished. Whether or not, the child excels in his/her studies, they are still unpolished gems.

Polishing requires enjoying trials, problems, success, and experiences in life every day. Polishing requires building castle in the air and putting foundations below them. Polishing requires practice of pushing oneself up after a fall, brushing the dust off and stand tall to fight again.

I hate to say that today’s kids are not exposed to much polishing until much later stage in life which make failures harder for them to swallow.

Our children are not ‘spoiled’. They are just ‘unpolished’.

I have a student who does not have a pencil and yes, he does not even has a pencil case. He rushes through all his questions and always ends up not answering what the question want. He seldom passes his Mathematics and he has little confidence in clearing one. I have no qualms on his ability (in fact for most of my students). This boy and many of my students just have bad habits and no procedures to make learning easier.

Although i loathe SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) during my corporate years, i definitely see the effectiveness and benefits of the habit of adhering to these SOPs. I started to put up a few SOPs for this boy and both the tutor and tutee struggle in the first few months.  😦

Thank God. This boy started to pass his examinations with flying colours. And he started to believe more in my SOPs. Yes!

 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle

Breathe, eat, sleep computer games! Gosh!

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Is this your child lifestyle? 😦

Many of the children now ( especially boys) are sort-of glued to computer games. They can be still and spend hours in front of the PC. Some of my students told me they will set their alarm clock to wake them up early during their school holidays to play games. I’m impressed. Hehe.

starcraft

After speaking to some of my students’ parents, many of them thought that the kids are playing these computer games because everyone else is school knows about them. If they don’t, they will be like aliens living on another planet. Most of the parents are clueless on how to fight this battle with all these seemingly invincible computer games.

However, after talking to the kids themselves, I realised many of them just want to find out about the game ( and yes, of course, no one want to be a “mountain-tortoise” who knows nuts about the ïn” stuffs in town.) Come on, it’s the same with us adults right? Some of us merely hold a facebook account whereas, some of us check facebook everyday.

plants-vs-zombies. Some of the adults i know LOVE this. 🙂

Parents, do you play this game too? Hee.

Like me, a few of my female students and one male student, we find gaming boring and prefer to go out and play ( non-virtually) with friends. Hence, gaming has no hold over us. Whee!

From what i see, most of the kids who are addicted to gaming do not like sports or do not do well in sports.

The kids may or may not do well academically initially.

Most of these kids is fascinated at the ability to take on a new identity and gaming seems to be the only escape from their so-called boring life.

Parents, don’t give up hope. It is just a small stumbling block in your parenting journey. Must show to the child you are even more stubborn in loving him right? *wink*

There are many articles online on dealing with computer addiction. Go have a read. For people who does not enjoy long list of wordy guidelines like me, try to come up with your own list and share with friends. You can post your list or your experience in the comments below so that we all can learn from each other’s experiences. Tell your kid you are also sharing tricks online. Hee.

Let me proudly present my

“How to conquer the computer games addiction” manual;

·  Make the real world interesting and exciting and your child will have less reasons to spend long hours in a virtual world.

·  Drown their free time with Bowling, basketball, badminton, tennis, wild wild wet ( An outdoor water park in Singapore), USS (wow!), concerts, and the list go on

·  Try ways to build your your child in other areas. When we are good in sports, music or studies, we will naturally enjoy them.

·  Bring them to sunday school. Let God lead him back.

I brought my P5 cousin (whose mum has complained to me that she can’t get him away from the PC) to sunday school and I’m glad that computer games can’t make him want to stay at home on sunday. (he has free choice whether to attend and his attendence is almost 90%). I thank God for interesting children ministry and good sunday school teachers in many churches.

·  Continue to confess the right things over your child. You never know how much power, as parents, your words have over them. Here comes the hardest part; continue to do so, even we cant see the results yet.  

I have a brother whom i thought is also addicted to gaming at his age (22). He started playing computer games actively when he is 6 years old. My parents are not at home most of the time (they work 7 days in a week) and he is left with a maid at a very young age.

I think it’s quite tough for me to execute my manual on him at his age but i will have faith and keep trying!!

See the results with your heart, the manifestions will follow. 🙂

Raising fluent communicators.

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Although academic grades are important, they should not  be the sole “field” to sow our seeds in. Successful people are those who have confidence and self-belief to pursue  their dreams and determination to overcome harsh moments.

When I am in NTU, I still remembered distinctly that it has always been the foreigners (especially the caucasians)  who threw questions back at the lecturer or answered questions spontaneously (even when they do not  know the answer). Contrast this with the fact  that most Singaporeans just hope that they can disappear (or camouflage) into the background. ( Hee.. I  was one of them).

After I graduated and stepped into the working world, I realised that westerners and people with fluent English are perceived to be more  creative and dynamic. I personally agree they are much better communicators and they are able to formulate their ideas and sell them to their bosses, colleagues and clients.

Hence, I believe strongly that developing communication  skills in our children is as important as teaching them ABC. The basic  foundations for a fluent communicator are confidence in themselves to speak up  and to present their ideas within a group.

Take a look at how a 9 year  old summarises the bible in less than 10 mins confidently.

Frankly, I think some adults cannot do this as well as he did.

Although he did not get  some of the facts right (like Adam and Eve eating from the  tree of knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life) and, yes, I believe he memorised the speech but I think  he did an awesome job.

Our young children have  immeasurable potential.

Enjoy and start raising fearless kids!

Moments that keep me going on

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After being used to acting cool and matured during my teenage years, I had kind of forgotten what it is like to be child-like. To dance walking down the stairs, play with bubbles when i feel like it, imagining funny movements i can do when i am bored. All forgotten until I started full-time tutoring again. 🙂
Hanging out with children is really a cool experience for me. I not only know what is FYI and TBC, I also now know what is CMI and ROFL. Haha.

They are imaginative and full of talents. They are not afraid to make mistakes and that is why some of them (I feel) are being seen as rebellious, when they do not do what other people expect them to do.

It often surprises me how much kids are willing to self-disclose and share their ideas too. One of the most important factors in attracting teens, or in fact anyone, is making them feel respected.
If you take teens seriously, they’ll take you seriously too.

 
I have a 13 year-old tuition boy who is pretty intelligent but not exactly wise (yet). He has some strange habits of rushing through his paper and thus he makes A LOT of careless mistakes. Also, he likes to feel the thrill of completing his homework in the shortest time possible before his lesson. Hence, most of the time in our first few tuitions, he will end up handing up a lot of slipshod work or un-attempted questions to me.

I am quite frustrated by these actions of course. Angry especially because i know this child got so much potential but due to his bad attitude towards work, his life (as a student) is so average and full of failures. 😦
I did try explaining to him but he has a bag full of excuses. So we wrote down rules for each other regarding tuition. Each time, he left an question un-attempted and simply draw some workings for any question, he will get a hard “kiss” on his palm by a plastic ruler. I got his parents’ permission for this and they are so happy that there is someone helping to discipline their child for them. I don’t understand why. But i thank God that they trust me.

Definitely, i do not use this method on all my kids. Some kids are rebellious and beyond the age of using force to draw boundaries for them. This child is not rebellious and each time, after he is punished, i told him i do not want to see Mr Ruler again. I told him he is still a very lovable person but I hate this attitude of his. Of course i never scold him if he fails to understand certain concepts after numerous times of explanation. I encourage him when he show the slightest effort of improving the quality of his work.

It seems that he understands. He achieved distinctions in both his Mathematics and Science after half a year of tuition. He told me something that touched me greatly. “Cher… i only pass my Mathematics once in primary school ( during p2) and i never know i can pass it again.”
I encouraged him further, ” You did not only pass, you ace it.” His face is so flattered, yet so full of confidence. I am so glad. I hope he can continuing to taste the joy of passing/ace-ing his examinations from now on.

Academic aside, now I’m trying to build some good habits in him like sending me to the door after tuition. He will forget sometimes and rush to his PC straight after tuition, expecting his mum to open the door for me. Another journey with great harvest awaits… 🙂

Discipline Not Abuse

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I thought this is a nice short clip on disciplining children.

I want to share some useful discipline methodology which I have learned from Sunday school (My husband shared these tips with me). I find them particularly useful with my own students. 🙂
– Maintain eye contact when you are talking to the kids.
This ensure that (1) you have their attention, (2) they can “see” and “read” your face and (3) that they “know” you are not talking down at them.

– Try to squat instead of bending down to the same level during the conservation.
– When kids do not behave, do not ask them to go back to their room. ( The time-out place should not be their room or their comfort territory).
– The time-out place should be a safe place in the house where there are no toys and where the kids do not like to be in.
It can be a simple corner in the house where the kid will have to stand for a period of time.

– Let the kid know the time he will be placed in the time-out zone. (a guide can be about 1 min per year. Eg a 10 year old will have a time out period of 10 min )
– Let the kid know what is expected from him at the end of the time-out, ie an apology or participation in some activity.
– PRAISE and ENCOURAGE them for any little effort they put in. All children ( in fact, even us adults) loves to be praised ; )
– DO NOT BE AFRAID OF CONTRONTATION.
Although I am all for non-violence towards children, however, I still believe in the idea of Mr Cane. (perhaps due to my Asian blood, Hee).

Mr Cane should be used in situations where all time-out and reasoning doesn’t work and should only be used on their legs or bums.  Caning should only be carried out by parents.
I remembered my dad and grandmother caning me when I was young. ( up to Primary 5. Hehe. Quite embarrassed to admit that i was quite a mischevious girl who likes to throw tantrums when being corrected).
I was probably too young to realise it was wrong or I was just being spoilt and being a nuisance.
The caning, especially from my dad, drew boundaries for me.
I have never blame them. In fact, I am pretty grateful to them for teaching me to differentiate right and wrong behaviour at an age where I am not capable in doing yet.
Thank God, they did not over-do the caning such that I do not feel their love for me.

Children will always test our limits.
They do not realise that our patience is as deep as our love for them.