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"YingHua in Beijing" Honors Program Announcement

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by on 0000-00-00

Hello everyone!
I attended the 2nd Conference on Chinese-American Parenting Practices last Saturday. At the Kids Speaking Out forum, we met a 16-year-old boy who could speak fluent Mandarin with confidence and poise in public. Parents were amazed by his maturity and sophisticated behaviors. It turned out that he had studied in Beijing for the 8, 9, and 10th grades. He has just returned to the U.S. with his parents to continue his study in the 11th grade. What impressed everybody was how his school life in Beijing had changed him.
Making a long story short, he admitted that before he started studying in Beijing, he was just like any other American 7th graders - very immature. (His experience was a lit like Brandon's in that, at the end of a summer vacation in Beijing, his parents told him that they were not going back to the U.S.) He admitted that his Chinese tests were never ji2 ge2 during his first year no matter how hard he tried. Then in the second year, something finally happened and he not only graduated from the middle school but also was accepted by the prestigious high school affiliated with Tsinghua University (qing1 hua2 fu4 zhong1).
He definitely attributes a lot of his uniqueness comparing with his American counterparts to his unique experience in Beijing. It's an amazing story. It has also shine some light on what we, as parents, should expect our children to accomplish in one semester.
I am hoping that YingHua can provide a common thread for these four students to bond and to provide a window for these four students to share their experience with parents and students to the outside world, especially in the U.S. Our webmaster is finishing up a simple application for them to share their journals and experience online voluntarily. I have got Karen and Rachel's agreements in doing this. (Of course, if we see anything inappropriate for them to share, we can quickly remove them from the database. This is why I'd like to ask them to share on our own server so that not everything they accidentally post would become permanent public records.) I would hope Michael and Brandon will join them as well - with your permission of course.
My thinking is that these kids are at an age when they can be sensitive about their environment and about themselves. They will need a LOT of support from any sources they can get. If they have an outlet to vent, at least it will make it easier for them to bounce back when facing challenges or even loneliness.
If you allow me, I would share my thoughts with you and sometimes your children directly. Let us command them for their courage in making this important step in their life instead of taking their courage for granted.
Based on my children's experience and my experience in spending a month with 34 kids from the U.S. in Beijing this summer, I would suggest that, during their first week, we focus on reminding the children two things: 1) you are there to EXPERIENCE the cultural differences, and 2) as long as you are making your effort, do not get discouraged by your grades.
By saying they are there to EXPERIENCE, we may help them lessen the urge to JUDGE and CRITICIZE, which is so easy for a teenager to do. For instance, ask them to ask themselves when they see something they are not accustomed to, Why such a way of living or learning could exist for so many thousands of years? as opposed to saying How stupid these people are! My favorite line to share with the students is, If everything were the same as in the U.S., you would not need to come here. Or This is the REAL culture - more than just the 'fan dance' or 'dragon show'.
Ideally I wanted our students to be observers of what's going on around them while not being too separated from their environment; being immerged in the culture without being caught up by the unnecessary pressure to outperform.
Should you have any suggestions for me, please share with me. Please also kindly include me in your email exchanges - unless you're discussing something about me. :-) I may not have all the solutions, but I have talked to the school about certain issues before, in which case, I may be able to inject some opinions for your reference.
YingHua Language School

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