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"YingHua in Beijing" Honors Program Announcement

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10/11/2005


by Director on 0000-00-00

Dear YiB Parents,
I talked to Mr. Wong, Director of chu-zhong bu, this morning.
Based on the information I got from Samantha, Lihong, and Nanjun, who all had spent some time with their children last week, I proposed the following ideas to Mr. Wong.
1) Designated teacher. For the next month, provide a dedicated person during the evening self-study hours to help the four YiB students. This person will NOT be responsible teaching the materials the teachers taught in the classes. This person WILL answer questions on the homework, especially on explaining what the words in the homework assignments mean. It will be the students' responsibility to learn the material and provide the answers to the homework.
Making this person's responsibility very specific is because we would need this person to be able to help the students UNDERSTAND the homework. We will NOT require this person to have adequate knowledge on physics, history, biology, math, and political science to tutor the students.
I am hoping this would help the school to be less pressured in finding the person to help. Of course, if this person happened to know enough to tutor on the contents, it would not hurt. I'd like to keep it simple for the school to administer. If this prooved to be inadequate, we could ask for additional help.
The school does have a policy that teachers are NOT allowed to be paid on a side for helping students. So Mr. Wong will approach the Principal to find a longer term solution for providing individualized service to YiB students.
I have also indicated that, should money ever come up to be a barrier, our YiB parents would be willing to pay for additional service - provided such a service would be specific.
We are only focusing on the next month. If things are working out well, we will decide whether to continue or whether it will be enough for one month.
Mr. Wong thought this should be no problem.
2) Homework expectations. I wanted all teachers know that we wanted to hold our students to high standards. By saying high standards, I meant that no students should be allowed to goof around and wasting their time. The time and effort they put into their study and homework should be expected to be as much as, if not more than, the local students.
To that end, a teacher needs to know how much to expect from YiB students. Students are responsible for submitting a balanced homework, i.e., they should NOT spend all the time on one subject and ignore the others.
This also makes the request for having a dedicated teacher more necessary as the dedicated teacher would be able to know whether a student has spent adequate time on his/her homework or not.
It is the amount of their effort that should be required and expected.
Mr. Wong thought this should be no problem.
3) I thought this one would be more challenging, but Mr. Wong also thought should be easy.
I wanted the dedicated teacher, or a different person, can advise students on HOW and WHAT they should pay more attention to considering the objectives of the YiB program.
For instance, Nanjun came back mentioning that not only her daughter but also herself had an impossible time trying to comprehend a lesson written in ancient Chinese about a piece of micro-sculpture made with a walnut seed. The piece marveled and described the exquisite design and workmanship of the art piece.
My questions to her were, Did you know when that piece of article was written? What dynasty was it? Was there any landmark historic events going on at that time? Since there is a translation of this piece of ancient Chinese into the modern Chinese, the students should understand the meaning of this piece already. Then why waste their time trying to recite it or trying to learn how to translate this piece into modern Chinese word by word?
I would rather having an advisor directing the students effort in learning more about Chinese culture instead - researching on the background of this article, the art form of micro-sculpturing, and the historic facts mentioned in this article, e.g., su1 dong1 po1 you2 chi4 bi4 and the battle of ?hi4 bi4?in ?an1 guo2,?etc. Or even translate this article into English or write a short English essay on this subject (The ancient Chinese not only could do great artwork, they also wrote such a detailed description about their artwork xxx years ago in the Ming Dynasty...?
Another thing they could have paid more attention to is to recognize all the characters that are new to them. They can write down all these new characters and try to understand their modern meaning first.
I am sure in that way they would be challenged, more interested in learning, and learning more.
I consider this last request to be more advanced than basic.
Mr. Wong will contact the Limai Principal and start acting on it this week. I will contact him next Monday or Tuesday.
Based on the feedback from the school through various channels, I would strongly suggest that the YiB parents not to contact teachers by phone directly any more unless in emergency situations. Please direct all your inquiries and concerns to me (yib@yinghua.org) and I will communicate with the teachers in a more orchestrated manner.
This was part of the original design of the YiB Honor Program anyway. Although we have had a late start on this, it is still worth the effort to try to make this communication channel work.
Let? see if we can learn some valuable lessons in balancing effective communications and lessening the burdens on the teachers. Please remember that too much direct communication with the teachers could backfire causing resentment or other negative feelings in the teachers. After all, they are VERY busy with more than 20 students to care for.
Please trust YingHua? ability to be the key contact for all communications with the school and teachers from now on.
To contact me, please try email ?to give me the details of your concerns and issues or set up a phone appointment with me.
Thank you for your cooperation!
I am scheduled to spend 10 days in Beijing from Oct. 19 to 28. I will visit your children and spend some time with them.
Regards,
Bonnie
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