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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2012-07-11

Dear Parents,

A quiet day at the hotel today. For morning exercises, we stayed at the Yong An's courtyard as it seemed that it might start raining and Bonnie wanted to make it easier for the kids ... or so the kids thought.

There is a coffee shop on a beautiful large patio in the center of the couryard. The pavement around it is about 150 meters. The kids first did their "radio gymnastics" (have you tried to learn how to do it following the link last time?). Then Bonnie asked them to run nonstop for 15 minutes and report how many laps they ran. The kids worked very hard at their own pace. In the end, the number of laps ranged from 10 to 18. Everyone had a great workout!

After morning classes, the students had a class on the Chinese nine ring puzzle, which requires repeating steps over and over again and seemingly go backwards to solve completely. Congratulations to Remy, Alice, and Evita, who were focused enough to be among the first students to complete the puzzle, but more importantly, Bonnie and I were impressed with the perseverance and patience displayed by those who didn’t get it immediately, including Justin, Natalie, and Dennis. Eileen and Sarah patiently started over when the teacher caught them in a mistake. Many of the students enjoyed the puzzles and appreciated the patience it took to solve; some of them decided to spend 30 yuan buying one after the class. All 24 students were able to solve the puzzle independently.

We then asked the students to do some research on religions in China, in preparation for our trip to the Islamic mosque andn Buddist temple tomorrow, before taking them to Chao Yang park to practice the Chinese yoyo, kick the feather (jian4zi) and just hang out outside.

Dinner was once again thanks to Remy and Tatum’s parents—the spaghetti was appreciated by all the students. Wang LaoShi also bought bao1zi in case we didn’t get enough food.

Before reflections, Bonnie talked briefly about types of praise and the resulting affects on children's mindset. Praising for talent leads to a “fixed” mindset, which leads to limitations and less effort. In other words, children feel that their effort would not change the outcome much. Therefore, the less effort they put in, the less risk. So they would not likely to put in the hard work needed to be successful. Praising for effort, on the other hand, leads to a “growth” mindset, which leads to pushing the limits and more effort. In other words, children feel that their effort would greatly change the outcome. Therefore, the more effort they put in, the less risk for failure. So they would likely ot put in the hard work needed. In a single person, the fixed and growth mindset can coexist – for example, a student could want to exert effort to improve in school (growth mindset), but may have given up on relationships with the parents at home (fixed mindset).

Then Bonnie and I got a little carried away talking about intelligence versus hard work and the value of having to work hard to have any chance of any type of success. The experience that I had at Limai/New Talent Academy required hard work of this kind: as I told the students, I went from understanding only the English acronym DNA in my Chinese biology class to getting A’s because I was willing to put in the effort. (Oh, today Detorea joined us. She attended YiB Summer last year and came back to Beijing in september 2012 for five months to study at Beijing new Talent School.)

So far, the kids have met Rachel, Peter, and Detorea, who have studied at New Talent School. They have also learned that Eileen and Jamie will study at the school for five months starting in September. This has given Justin and Remy the inspiration to do the same!

Student Reflections:

Dennis: the puzzle seemed complicated at first, but was actually simple once he understood the steps. Made him reflect that all complicated things are made up of simple ones. Thanks to Remy’s mom for food.

Sarah: At first she thought the puzzle was simple, but it turned out to be very time consuming, though not impossible. But the puzzle required patience, which should be a virtue but may not be common enough in society to be considered one. In life, people should find the patience to overcome obstacles and not lost sight of or give up on their goals.

Narendra: Time passes quickly here. His views of China have changed, and he now realizes that not all Chinese stuff is bad. He can learn from China and the Chinese, not just the Europeans and Indonesians.  

Natalie: Kept messing up the puzzle and wanted to give up, but kept going. Helped her realize that anything is possible.

Tatum: she got better with the puzzles once she practiced more and focused on reciting steps. She realized that some things come easily to some people and not to others, but making effort matters more.

Karma: Her Chinese teacher back at home will be surprised when she gets back at her improvement. She enjoyed meeting Detorea from New Talent Academy, and she appreciated the Western food in the evening. She was frustrated at first with the puzzle, especially when she was putting back on, which was harder. She was happy that she ran 15 laps in the morning, since she’s usually a sprinter and not a good distance runner.

Alice: The puzzle was easier once she noticed the pattern. Bought one for 30 yuan but then felt guilty because of the “save more” rule [from the “what the US could learn from China” article].

Serena: wanted to do the overhead obstacle course at Chao Yang park, but it was 180 yuan so she didn’t and learned to save.

Justin: Liked exploring the park today, since he noticed stuff that he had never seen while running. For example, we pass a white mansion that he saw only as a blur. He got confused with the puzzle especially since he didn’t even get the point/purpose at first, and he got paranoid because it seemed like he was doing the same thing over and over again, He was slow but made a good effort.

Rachel & Bonnie

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