Monday, April 03, 2017

chinese oral

(I think I keep talking about Chinese because its the only subject they have tuition in, and the teacher keeps talking my ear off about what's happening, what they need to know, striking fear into my heart, etc etc)

On the ground, changes to the Chinese syllabus are kicking in.

To hear it from the girls’ Chinese tuition teacher (my only available reliable source), Lu is going to have a hard time in 2020. She says, “她的考试会比盛文的难.” (Her exam will be harder than David’s)

I think Jo’s batch would be somewhere caught in-between the changes. But I can’t be certain.

I get it. Day was the luckiest of the lot. He got it “easy”.

What are the changes precisely? I’m not the most clued-in of parents, and their teacher, who is retired but goes back to school to teach Chinese, might not be the most authoritative of sources. She is also much more kiasu than I am.

She has regularly warned me, for instance, that Day MUST have Chinese tuition even in secondary school – “你这个儿子, 你要把他抓住” (this son of yours, you must “catch” him) but I haven’t acted on it.

What I gather from her about Chinese is:

The biggest change is in oral. Day got to look at a picture on a piece of paper and talk about it. He got by, by memorizing a lot of scripts. Not good, I know, but it did get him an A which was his PSLE crowning achievement.

Jo and Lu have to watch 1-minute videos, and then talk about what they see. During the exam, they will be given 10 minutes of prep time to watch the videos, enter the room, watch the video again, then talk about it (and they better remember what they saw).

I love the rationale. To engender Chinese as a living language being used in everyday life. But using an exam as the starting point is not nice.

Right now, what Laoshi is telling me is that she will have to boost the amount of things Jo / Lu will have to memorize because freed from the confines of the 2D printed picture of a fixed point in time, they do not have the prowess which comes from listening to and speaking Chinese regularly to eloquently talk about the scenarios.

It comes down to better instruction. Which, well… the poor hapless teachers. 

I am also getting the sense that Lu’s exam will be harder.

So…. the aim of all this is that Lu will be able to speak Chinese confidently and will use it in everyday life in future?


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I have attended the school's talk on the changes in CL. It doesn't seem so daunting. Maybe it is because the teachers keep reassuring us that they will be sufficiently trained in class to pass at least. A and A* might be a different story altogether but I am only aiming for B, given my kids' standard. :p I think the girls will do fine. Might help if they are willing to watch Chinese shows which my kids are doing. :)


Sher said...

could be their tuition teacher.

on the one hand, it could be that she is unnecessarily kiasu.

on the other, it could be that she is giving me a realistic view of what to expect, not the school-endorsed assurances.