Sunday, February 12, 2012
jo's ting xie
The tears, all these tears.
Jo is getting the worst academic start on her Mandarin road.
It’s Ting Xie.
Same teacher as Day, same ideology of giving the kids crazy difficult words to learn which I cannot write myself.
* Jo's word list
Does it work?
The words fall through their memory sieve a week after they learn it.
And what it does is create the idea that Chinese is full of fiendishly difficult words.
With Day, however, this teacher’s crazy Ting Xie was alright.
He’s always been academic in a manner which sits well in the Singapore system.
He learn his Ting Xie within 30 minutes. He didn’t take it too seriously. KK would set the timer and he’d be on his own.
Jo is a completely different child.
And what makes Ting Xie ultra-tough for her is two things:
One, she isn’t as academically intuitive as her brother, not when it comes to Ting Xie anyway. The first few Ting Xie learning sessions at home took over two hours.
Two, she is a perfectionist. If she hasn’t learnt her Ting Xie, she would rather not go to school (which did happen once, in which case the Teacher capitulated and said she would change the Ting Xie day)
Should I blame the teacher?
I think not. This is the teacher and this is what she believes is the best way to teach, and while I may express that her Ting Xie is making Jo hate Chinese, I certainly won’t expect her to change her pedagogy on my behalf.
What we are more concerned with is not even Chinese (although it’s probably necessary for us now to take some sort of kiasu action. Urgh)
It’s Jo’s response to failure.
The mere thought of it induces paralysis. If she knows she is not perfect, she will not even attempt.
And her response to stress.
She can’t take it.
The timer which Day uses even today to time his writing practice makes her panic. The first time we put in front of her, she kept eyeing it as her face progressively crumpled by the minute. You could almost imagine her tunnel vision zooming in and focusing on the face of the timer as it ticked relentlessly away like a bomb.
And when KK used to give her Ting Xie, she could not take his demeanour either, which was stern, but he never even raised his voice. Tears used to rain down on the paper when he taught her.
KK says: I think we need to send her to Australia.