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Education of Students with Family Enrichment (Part 1)

On August 2 and 3, 2011, our staff were fortunate to have Ms. Joan Wallace visit Jingdou Language Centre. Ms. Wallace is a facilitator in the Family Enrichment Programme (FEP) in London, England. Among the points that FEP gives importance to are: early education, education by example, motivated and personalized education. They give practical points on how to help students become happy and be balanced members of society, by giving them values, developing their sense of order and truth, as well as helping these students’ parents guide their children to make good choices, by building a family with strong moral values based on trust.

There were three sessions held during her two-day visit. She shared her teaching experiences and we talked about issues relating to students and their parents. The staff explained to Ms. Wallace that we hold Parents’ Days in Jingdou, especially during intensive English summer courses.

A question raised to her was the importance given to student grades in Macau. In general, desire for achieving success might come from the parents, who want their children to be the top of their class. For Ms. Wallace, there's nothing wrong with this ideal, which can be a good goal. However, she noted that people may need to remember that education is to bring out what is inside the individual, that is, helping each child to reach their own potential. She reminded our staff of the origin of the word “education”, which is from the Latin word educare, meaning, “to bring out”, and from ducere, “to lead”. She pointed out that this is how teachers are going to help parents, since parents are in fact the first teachers. Both parents and teachers help each other by discovering their child's potential, working together for the good of the child. The teachers do not take over the role of the parents, but are there to facilitate the learners. Parents and children should also be working together towards specific goals, with parents as the guide and motivator. It will be good to help the child compete with him/herself and not with the others around, as this would lead to the child comparing him/herself with others.

Bringing up a child is like putting up a building, brick by brick, which requires hard work. It is easier to demolish than to build, because it does not require effort. In a way, we can “demolish” a person in a second, by giving a careless comment. People have to be careful about praising their child(ren), and should encourage them as they grow up since people are all good at different things.

In relation to seeing their grades, Ms. Wallace suggested to the teachers to ask the students if this is their best piece of work and to present a good challenge, by asking them: “How can you improve on it?”. The point of the exercise is to learn from mistakes. The question – where can I improve?” should be encouraged. If a student is clever and knows he/she is clever, the student can be made to help others.

In addition, Ms Wallace advised to “always remember the importance of the Positive Approach. As a teacher, one should not only teach a lesson, but you also need to create the right kind of atmosphere to make the students want to learn”. She continued, “Everyone in the world is in search of happiness. Teach your students to reach out to doing things for others, including their coming to Jingdou and doing their homework, not only because they do not want mom to nag them. For them to be truly happy, they need to learn about sacrifice and forgetting themselves; they can easily turn to the superficial and earthly happiness that does not last, as these are material matters, such as, money, prestige, etc”.

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