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Thursday, December 22, 2011

A's Little Boy

AL is a Daddy I met on the kiasuparents forum. He made contact with me asking for the audio recordings of the chinese compositions that had helped Little Boy achieve some competence in Chinese. He seemed like a very lost Daddy, and in his own understated way, he was overwrought with worry for his son. One thing lead to another and I found myself face to face with AL's son, who whilst here ostensibly to learn from Little Boy how to do Chinese compositions, had somehow contrived to entice my son to go and play. AL's son reminded me so much of Little Boy back when he was really little. Playful. Dreamy. Careless.

AL himself seemed a little despondent. His son's grades were poor. AL feared for his son. "It is not that I have hang-ups about Normal Stream. I don't want him to end up in a school where he may be subject in his adolescent years to unhealthy teen influences." AL looked through the China compos and said that he would probably not use them. "They're too difficult. My son will never be able to manage. He can't even read his textbook, which is way easier than this" AL said. I could not explain to him why I thought he was wrong. I knew he was wrong because I know motivation. If you possess the right motivation techniques, you can help your child to persevere towards impossible goals. But I could not explain.

So I offered to show AL.

AL came by again with his son. I first worked directly with his son whilst AL observed from an armchair. As he observed, he took notes. Once in a while, I would interrupt myself to point out to AL specific techniques that I was using. Next, I phased myself out and phased in AL to work directly with his own son. It was my turn to observe. I next gave AL feedback on his own behaviors that were either discouraging, or not actively helping his son's motivation levels. Then we did a sum-up. Meanwhile, AL's son was kept busy on his task of memorizing his very first China Compo.

We started work at 11am and by 3pm, AL's son had completed half the composition. This took into account a fair amount of interruption and a nice lunch break. What AL had deemed impossible for his son was already half done. And AL took away with him a nice set of motivation techniques for close one-to-one coaching that I had modeled for him.

I feel good about what I did today. I think I made a difference to the lives of one man and the boy he loves so much that he quit his job to see him through Primary 5 and 6.

18 comments:

Wen-ai said...

hey Petunia, maybe you can give seminars to parents? So that more parents and their little ones can benefit from your experience? And I'm still waiting to read your book!

petunialee said...

Wen-Ai: I've been working on the book. It is now being vetted and properly organized. Someone is illustrating. It should be out in June next year.

Theanne and Baron said...

You are one smart lady...that you are sharing your gift of teaching is a wonderful thing!

petunialee said...

Theanne - I do think this is a way I can make a difference to people'e lives in a very real way. I'll take small steps with this and see if it does make a difference to how parents approach their children's academics.

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Wow! You are good! :)

petunialee said...

OKC - Thank you!! I dunno about the good, but I do know I'm happy I helped a Daddy.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

*APPLAUSE!!*

Blur Ting said...

You've really done a good deed. I wish I had met you when my son was in primary school!

Theanne and Baron said...

Petunia...this might help you with why a mockingbird is called a mockingbird.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Mockingbird

Malar said...

Your just so great!
Are you writting a book! Wow! Please write more on it!
I wish i have a neighbour like you to ask for guide!
Merry Christmas to you and your family! Have a great day!

petunialee said...

Fry - :-)

petunialee said...

Ting - I wasn't the same person back then...

petunialee said...

Malar - Yes... the book is slow going. It has gone through multiple re-edits because people have kindly given feedback. I'm also plenty distracted. I've got so many things to juggle. Build a house, help my son, cook 3 meals. It's slow but I'll get it done eventually.

Ivana said...

Haha Petunia! I was just about to ask you about your book a few days ago, but it slipped my mind. Bravo! Can't wait to read the whole thing. I remember how you teased me with little excerpts...

petunialee said...

Ivana - Soon! Soon!

Happy Belly said...

Hi,
I have somehow stumbled upon your blog while trying to find some HCP recipes and I am glad I did.
I have a 2.5yr old son and my family will be leaving for France for 3yrs this March.
I am worried about his school as he will be attending a 100% French preschool over there and hence I have to home school him so that by the time we are back he will be able to fit into the K1 curriculum.
Am vexed about how to start teaching to read and write!
Wish I am knowledgeable in this area like you...

petunialee said...

Happy Belly - I brought along 3 CDs when I went abroad. Winnie the Pooh alphabet and Winnie the Pooh math. Dr Seuss Alphabet. He played one game a day with me initially. Then 2. Then 3. Then 2 by himself everyday for a few weeks. Then 3 by himself everyday for a few weeks.

We started writing letters in the sand outside. We used stones to line up into letter shapes. Then when he knew his alphabet, we moved on to phonics cards. You can google how to make your own phonics cards.

The higher levels of the CD-Roms suggested also give phonics training. We read many many stories. Bought books with buttons to press that made noise. One of our books had a steering wheel popping out. The whole idea is to let him handle books a lot and hear you read.

They learn very fast in a very unstructured way. Just play with them a little a day and before you know it, they can read!!

Happy Belly said...

Thanks for sharing, I just saw the winnie the pooh cd-rom on sunday at carrefour! It looks interesting, will probably get it before we leave ; )
Will be bookmarking your blog as well lol...