So I have been thinking about how to help Ace improve his Chinese.
And a friend, who is also a tuition teacher suggested that I encourage Ace to aim for full marks for his Chinese spelling every time.
This is because if you get full marks, the words you learn tend to stay in your mind and when it comes to exam time, it will be much easier. Given that Ace's current "weakest" link in Chinese is his ability to recognize and retain the words he learnt due to too little practice and exposure, I thought that will be a good idea as it is like breaking a huge goal into small do -able bite sized chunks.
So I told Ace that we should aim for that and encouraged him along with the promise that I will help him learn his Chinese Spelling every week.
First week, he scored 72 marks and he said it was the first time he scored so high and he was rather happy.
Second week, he scored 78 and was happier and I told him we remember our aim is 100.
Then the third week, because of some miscomm, I did not teach him spelling as we thought there was no spelling and so he dropped back to 68.
Following week I worked with him on it and to my surprise, he actually only scored 62!
There was NO WAY anyone can learn chinese spelling and not score better, right?!
So I had a talk with him. I asked him why this happened and he said that he forgot all the words he learnt the next day.
Seriously?! I had a student who had a learning disability once. For her, it is true that what you teach her today is usually gone tomorrow. I can spend 3 hours with her on something till she gets everything right. The next day when you test her again, she is back to zero.
But this is not the case with Ace.
I told him that this result tells me that his heart is not in it when he was learning and that is why he cannot retain the info the next day.
So we had a long long talk ....
He told me eventually, that he had given up somewhat and had a heck care attitude because he was feeling disappointed. Apparently, though he put in effort and tried but still only scored 70+ while his friends who would talk during class, not complete their homework etc will score full marks!
But he also said that he realized that some of them did so because they were actually cheating according to another friend who saw them cheat.
I told him that whether that is true is not important. The important thing is they cannot cheat in PSLE.... and it is the PSLE that matters. And he should work on his Chinese whether these people are doing well or not, cheating or not because his own work will determine his result and his result affects him.
As we talked more, I realized he is going through a phase of having lots of deep, dark thoughts and I was so glad when I could finally guide him to a positive ending.
Anyway, I told his dad about the 62 marks and his dad had this brilliant idea!
A few weeks back, he made a pact with ace that if he scored three strike due to messy room or major mistakes he makes, his phone will be confiscated. Because his dad is always forced to return him the phone come school going day... he has bought a lao yah pok uncle phone that is NOT SMART for Ace. In the case Ace gets three strikes, he will get his smart phone confiscated and he will need to use the uncle phone.
So his dad says.. "Haiya, tok so much for what... Just tell him if he never score 90 and above, he has to use lao kok kok phone for a week till he redeems himself the following week with a above 90 score."
And so, Max went to make the pact with Ace.
While Ace was very sian... he really worked on it. The next day (which was supposed to be spelling day), he was even going through the words with me again on the way to school! I have never seen him so hardworking! LOL
End up though, he did not get to do spelling because there was some event in school. I was in school for some PSG thingy and saw his teacher and told her about this pact. The very kind teacher offered to stay back in school to give him spelling so that his efforts are not wasted.
Today, he came home and happily told me that he got back his spelling results. He scored a 99! Woohoo! And he had such a bright, confident smile when he told me that!
I asked him if he would like to tell his dad himself or want me to inform his dad now. He said he will tell his dad over whatsapp "It is not that big a deal..." he said nonchalantly. But I know in his heart, it was a good confidence booster.
Well, through this, I also learnt... that while the feminine approach of clearing Ace's emotional issues is a good foundation. When used together with a masculine approach of motivating him with direct consequences, Ace can really push himself forward and do better:)
I hope he will continue to score well and feel more and more confident about his Chinese.
Jia you, Ace!
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