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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2011-06-29

Dear Parents,

The kids are studying hard!

This is the kind of \"positive peer pressure\" I\'d like to develop in this program. It started when we asked the students to write their essays about why they wanted to come to this program and why they should be accepted.

Second to that we do give them immediate feedback on how they are doing. All students had their first quiz today. Ben reflected on it and shared with the group that he did well because he studied. Those who were not going to give their study as much attention before now realized that to \"fit in\" in this program, you\'d better study hard ... because everybody else does.

Some boys are still \"roughing\" up each other or playing \"unappreciated\" pranks on others as a way of getting to know each other. They have found out that, if they did not respect other people\'s style or space, they would end up in my room having to resolve the conflicts among themselves.

So far, it has worked very well. I rarely scold them, if at all. With patience, we can see all kids can develop the skills needed to cohabit with people who may be different from them. \"Treat others the ways THEY wanted to be treated.\" This \"Platinum Rule\" is one of the many things we discussed during the EQ seminar today.

PLEASE NOTE: We really do NOT want the students to be taken out for dinners or lunches. You are welcome to come visit them if you happen to be in town. Please do not bring them any food such as snacks or soft drinks, which are not allowed in our program.  If you must bring something edible, then please only bring a few whole fruits that your child may share with his/her roommates.

We would only make exceptions for urgent and significant needs.

Thank you for your cooperation.

From Robert Zhang -

Today was another day on campus. For a lot of people time is flying by because every day is so filled with activities, people don\'t have the time to contextualize the time they have been here. 

7:00 In the morning we had an optional run and more Chinese exercise practice at the park. The only people who ran the path around the lake were Sophia, one of the younger girls, and myself. I was much slower than her. In reflections she said that despite that fact, she believed I was trying my best, which everyone thought was really funny. Later she came up to me and told me she didn\'t mean for it to be funny, and that was what she sincerely thought. I told her I knew.

8:50 After breakfast we all went to class, myself included. Today I spent most of my time in \"A.5\" in B class which I explained incorrectly in a previous e-mail. A.5 is a group of students in B class, where the difficulty is between A and B. Students actually  helped to initiate the idea for this class which I think is very cool because they\'re putting some conscious thought into their education here and how it can be more suited to their needs. A lot of students are taking advantage of this A.5 class, in that many people who were originally placed in A are trying to challenge themselves by being in A.5. Some of those students are Sophia, Annie, Mickee, and Tristan. The class is going quite well as the teacher uses a lot of ways to motivate the students. Stars and demerits are reintroduced from kindergarten but are actually quite effective in this environment because the students take them quite seriously. Students will often rise up to read or participate for the stars and avoid speaking English lest they get a demerit. Yang Laoshi is the teacher for class B and despite having the largest  class in the program she is handling the students very well.

13:30 As a follow-up to our Peking Theater viewing last night (I myself have only just now begun to notice how well all the activities flow together at YiB, courtesy of Wang and Liao Laoshi or Bonnie), we did Chinese Theater Mask painting. Here is a summary of what the kids learned:
-Symmetry is the most important aspect.
-The curvature or lack thereof of the eyebrows and other facial features symbolize the personality of the person wearing the mask. Straight lines symbolize straightforwardness and curly lines represent deceitfulness or trickery.
-The colors also symbolize different traits. Red means loyalty and strength, black is righteousness and strength, yellow is ruthlessness, and blue is impulsiveness. 
-Details should be sharp with no color blending.
After a draft, students began to draw on masks. Detorea\'s mask was used at the end of class as an example.

15:30 Martial Arts class was continued and the 18 steps were expanded into a lengthy 35. The class followed the same pattern as yesterday. The boys were consistently less synchronized than the girls but everyone got it in the end. LinLin mentioned during her reflection that the teacher was extremely patient and an overall really good teacher, and she hoped to be like that some day. I also agree that the teacher had a really nice balance between fun and learning so the kids would not get too antsy, the pace was kept up very well, and everyone came out having a very good time while learning Wushu.

17:00 We had our second leadership training session with Bonnie. The focus today was EQ. What it is and how it can be applied in life. There was a lot of discussion first about IQ and then the importance of EQ, and in general why EQ matters more in life than IQ. EQ is emotional quotient or emotional intelligence. We then talked about positive and negative emotions, and the steps to take to deal with negative emotions in life such as anger or sadness, in order to grow. Here are the five \'domains\' of EQ:

1.   Knowing your emotions.

2.   Managing your own emotions.

3.   Motivating yourself.

4.   Recognising and understanding other people\'s emotions.

5.   Managing relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.

20:00 During tonight\'s reflection, I forgot to take notes. In general, I remember there was a lot of appreciation, and there was a higher percentage of actual reflections rather than simple agenda reiteration. Many students such as James and Matt expressed their sincere desire to study Chinese so they could do well on tomorrow\'s test. Later I saw Annie and Sophia studying in the floor lobby, so I think everyone is taking their studies very seriously. Because I forgot to take specific notes, even though I know you all want to hear about your own kids, just this once I will share my own reflection. 

Today was a good day, although there is a lot of conflict among the boys, this is just another opportunity for them to grow up a little bit. I have faith that they will overcome their problems with each other soon and I know that I will grow too if I try to help them during this process.

That\'s it. Tomorrow I know B class is having a test and I\'m sure all the other classes have similar pressure. Everyone feels the urge to study tonight.


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