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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To Do Higher Chinese? Or Not?

Little Boy did badly in Chinese in Primary 4 but he did so very well in the other 3 subjects that his school gave us the option of Higher Chinese in Primary 5 with the caveat that he would have to work hard or get kicked out of Higher Chinese in P6. That was such a difficult decision indeed. The Husband and I tussled over this for a few weeks. I indicated normal Chinese on the form at first. When The Husband found out, he was most displeased. I thought it wise to call Teacher and change the option to Higher Chinese.

The Husband's Reasons for Insisting
Children who take Higher Chinese in primary school are allowed to continue with Higher Chinese in secondary school. Once one has cleared Higher Chinese by Secondary 4, one does not need to do Chinese in Junior College. This frees up 2 hours (at least) of curriculum time for CCAs and other subjects.

My Reasons for Objecting
It will be a whole bl**** lot of hard work! It's easy for YOU to talk because YOU don't have to work with Little Boy, and YOU'RE not illiterate in Chinese. Little Boy already can barely cope with normal Chinese. Having to bridge the gap through to Higher Chinese was a revolting thought. Think bathing in freezing cold water in the deep of the Alaskan winter. It appears that there are benefits but... man... I REALLY don't feel like jumping in there!

Our Compromise
Actually, it was hardly a compromise. It was Petunia's silent rebellion against The Husband's unreasonable demand. As a child, I was actually quite good at finding ways of NOT doing what I was supposed to do. I recognise myself in many of the children I now teach. They're too small to openly disobey but I look deep in their eyes and I see an intent to passively disobey. So children... if any of you are reading this, Dr Pet has been there and done that. All the naughty things you're cooking up in those little heads... well I know them, 'cos I've done them. To catch a criminal, ya gotta think like one. To get along with children, ya gotta think like them too. So, I know what y'all are thinking... ngiahahahaha!

Unfortunately, The Husband doesn't... which conveniently gave me some leeway for non-action.

So, I promised Little Boy that we would not work on Higher Chinese at all, and if he failed, he failed. Too bad. Time and energy resources were scarce. Little Boy had no tuition. We focused all our efforts on normal Chinese, to the point of skipping Higher Chinese classes (because I realised that the Teacher used that time to cover the textbook only... and we all know how lousy the textbooks are).

After a while, I began to see the obvious thing and I began to marvel at The Husband's wisdom. Higher Chinese and normal Chinese are both the same language. Our efforts in improving Little Boy's true competence in Chinese through reading, listening and writing a lot of Chinese, also paid off vis-a-vis Higher Chinese. That actually encouraged us to work even harder and to do CRAZY things like write out from memory 5 X 2000 words compositions, solely to improve his normal Chinese.

Eventually, even though we didn't do any Higher Chinese practice papers, Little Boy still passed Higher Chinese at his PSLE. I would definitely advise parents to sign their children up for Higher Chinese if the school proposes it. If you're looking at just a PASS, there are advantages without any extra work. And if you fail, so what? The score is not included in the PSLE T-Score.

So, it's a good deal. You pay the price (in workload) for normal Chinese and you get Higher Chinese free.


Sharon Chua said...

I am facing the exact situation as you. Thanks for penning this down so I feel a lot more confident for next year when my gal goes to P5 HCL

Sharon Chua said...

Thanking for sharing as I am also facing this same situation. My situation is exactly like yours as I am also the tutor for my gal

Anonymous said...

Well , I am an 11 year old , studying in River Valley Primary School. I feel that your son should opt in for Higher Chinese even though he did underperform for his Chinese with the follows reasons : 1. Chinese is a fantastic subject and it is a 90% chance that it will be taught in worldwide(not sure why? , read 2.). 2.China has the biggest population among the world so , if you don't understand how to communicate with the Chinese , you can't really do investments there which is highly recommended. 3.Well you get an additional 3 marks for your T score , kinda worth it. 4. You are able to learn even more advanced Chinese in the HCL than the normal standard. Tips for your child to cope with HCL : Read 新闻 , I do that every day to get along with the class. Learn about 5 new Chinese words a day and write it down in your journal or book.Try to refrain from doing assessment books that much , it doesn't really help , well , only if you are studying for a test.... Don't be afraid to ask the teacher a question when unsure.Try to speak fluent Chinese , just so that the kids in HCL won't make fun of your child on his pronunciation. In a nutshell , Chinese is the most important subject.

Nic Ang said...

If Trump's granddaughter is learning Chinese, you know where the world is heading. Think big.