Wednesday, November 10

How Much Should I Ask Of Jaimie?

These 2 pages of Chinese writings were completed in tears and frustration.

“山”is a very simple character with simple strokes to me. I was teaching Jaimie to write it this evening. She had already recognised the word long ago but this was the first time I made her write the word.

She could write “山”, but the strokes were either not of the same length, or of the same width. Being a Chinese teacher, I am quite particular about the fundamentals and the accuracy. The horrible writing Jaimie produced at first was really an eye sore for me and I had to erase them and made her re-write the words. Jaimie had some difficulties in getting the length and the width correct. I understand it could be a hand-eye coordination problem but the Chinese teacher in me was having an internal struggle too. Should I let her pass as long as she knows the strokes? Or should I press for accuracy?

In the end, I decided that accuracy is important. Perhaps she could use this as a practice for her hand-eye coordination too.

In the end, Jaimie produced 2 pages of reasonable and acceptable writing of “山” but it took her about 40mins. I am quite ashamed to say that I kind of lose my patience too and started to raise my voice at her.

But I am really wondering if I am asking too much of a 4.5 year old to write Chinese characters accurately or just let her master the basic strokes of a word at this age?

I really should check with my pre-school teacher friends.

11 voices:

Lydia said...

If I'm not wrong, pre-school teacher would not press for accuracy. But, wow, those 2 pages of that Chinese character is the best I've ever seen, from a Nursery child! Put my P1 girl to shame! Did you shower her with praises for such good work? Maybe a reward? Maybe the Papa should showed some real excitement for Jae's 40mins of hard work? All these is necessary to guard against Jae developing a dislike in learning Chinese, sometimes unpleasant experiences can turn off one's interest in learning, hope not!

No wonder you are not sleeping yet... maybe should just do where your heart leads? I really don't know, sorry that I didn't help much.

Levine Tay said...

Yo fren- for me and on ivan during preschooler time, is "can write ok liao". sometimes must "pang chance", at least they show interest in mother tongue hah.

and i think la, 2 pages is a bit too much for a 4.5yo. the most i let preschooler practice is 10... ;)

don stress yr self mommy... jiayou!

Anonymous said...

W TY, to me a pg is a bonus ... Norm only 2 rows. At this stage, cultivating them a life-time interest in reading is more impt. Juz my opinion ... ;)


stardust said...

Yeah I also think 2 full pages are too much, maybe half a page will do

should practise on wrting her own name first, to cultivate her interest

or you can still wait until K1

however for Chinese, Vince attends Berries so is fun learning for him which I cannot do as parent

Aces Family said...

hi Angie,

The last time when anthea was doing her Nursary lesson in Tien Hsia, i remembered the children only asked them to write for a row..about 5 - 7 times of the same word.

I think more importantly is cultivate her interest in MT at this age. Not so much on writing yet.

Angie said...

Jaimie has no problem liking the language, using it and learning it. and i will not kill her interest in learning lah.

what i am trying to say is, how much writing accuracy should i ask of a 4.5y.o.? is it ok for her to "get the strokes correct and correct the structure later", or should i get everythg right from the start.

Apparently she is capable of doing it after i insist. But am i pushing her beyond her limits? i am not sure myself.

to me, learning involves discipline. i cannot just take care of her interest and not instill discipline in her.

Angie said...

jaimie's chinese name has a lot of strokes. i myself am not sure how i should start to teach her to write it when she hasnt even gotten the basics.

maybe i am wrong! maybe the child do not need to know the basics b4 she can write difficult words? i seriously have no idea.

Idy said...

I know how you felt. I had the same issue with Ilis some time back. It always ended up with me screaming at her and her crying buckets. After each incident, I would remind myself that she is still young and it is not fair to expect so much from her. As long as she can write, I should be happy. The rest can be corrected as she grows older.

Yes, learning involves discipline, but do remember that too much discipline may 弄巧成拙 and kill her interest of learning.

Take a deep breath each time you are about to burst and get out of the room... it helps.

Jia you!

happypig said...





stardust said...

Yeah strokes and sequence are more important first while structure will take a lot of practice. I am glad Berries does that for Vince. As Jae is entering K1 next year, you can start getting her used to writing her name too.

Anonymous said...

Alamak Angie, you're so strict! The one thing I hated as a student was writing the same word repeatedly. To me, it didn't improve my writing, it just made me hate it. So boring leh.

Anyway just to share Faith's learning at school lah. Faith started learning all the basic strokes only in Term 3 of N2, with emphasis only on knowing the individual strokes.

It was only in K1 that they started writing words. They will complete about 2 rows of new words in class. The emphasis this year is to write the words in the correct sequence and being able to count the strokes. Faith started learning to write her name only fr Term 2 or 3 onwards. Everyday, she just practises one line (ie. her full name twice).

The problem with Faith is that she knows the strokes but can't put them to paper accurately so it frustrates her a great deal. She will always erase her work for every single assignment. The teacher realised that Faith puts too much pressure on herself so she always tells Faith it's ok if she can't perfect it. It was only in Term 3 and 4 that they started writing about 4 rows of 5 words in class.

So I think what Jaimie had been asked to do far exceeds even the end of K1 std leh! Faith's English handwriting had improved alot over the year but her Chinese handwriting still sucks so I think it's also got to do with the curvy strokes in Chinese that are difficult to master.

In sum, I think Jaimie is doing a wonderful job and Mummy you must cut her some slack lor. Push a little bit can already.