Friday, November 30, 2018

Chinese Composition with Fun Learners' School

All of you know that DinoBoy is a "potato kid" meaning that he converses in English most of the time and that his Mandarin is weak.  I should have persisted and stood my ground to make a greater effort to get him interested in the language when he was a toddler.  I didn't see it as a big issue as he was doing okay in kindergarten but I started to get panic when he enters into formal education, his Chinese language grade has always been along the borderline during the lower primary days, we really struggled to learn the language.  I am glad to say that 2 years ago, our effective ways of learning Chinese managed to pull his grade up a little.

Then comes another challenge - Chinese composition.  For a component that carries 20% weighing, composition wasn't given much attention in the school from the number of composition pieces DinoBoy brought home, this means that the teachers do not have enough lessons to coach the students in this area.  

Chinese being his weaker subject means writing poses an issue too, I didn't want composition to affect his overall marks but I am unable to help him because I do not know how to grade a piece of composition nor have any idea how to coach him on writing, therefore I decided to seek for external help.  

We decided to let DinoBoy join Fun Learners' School PSLE Chinese Composition.  We attended their workshops last year and like the way they facilitate the workshop.  We went for a trial and found out that their lessons are as interesting too.

What goes on in the classroom
The simple white colored wall classroom does not have any fancy furniture, except for that 2 notice at the front there are no posters or anything on the wall.  A long table, some chairs and a projector screen decorates the room.  A clean room means minimum distractions.

A typical lesson starts with spelling which can either be a short sentence or idioms 成语 or powerful words/phrases 好词好句.

Lesson follows with the start of discussion on that day's composition which could be picture based composition 看图作文 or topic based composition 命题作文.  Teacher will guide the students in analysing each picture or the topic with SAFE; Speech Action Feelings Expression, listing down relevant keywords or phrases and writing idioms that best describe the events or situation.  It is then followed by reading model composition, sometimes extra work is given to practice and strengthen their use of language, idioms and characters.

Lastly the students will be given 50 mins; the same amount of time given during PSLE exam, to write their composition.  The students have to finish composition by end of the lesson, no home work will be given to them.

Each student has a Journal where the teacher keep tracks of their individual progress, she will write encouragements & advice to them on their work and praise them when they do well.

I may have written to show that lesson structure is easy and simple BUT if your child does not have a strong foundation for Chinese either written or speech, chances are they are weak in structuring the composition piece with all the necessary elements to score or even ace it.  They will need assistant from experienced tutor to coach and supervise their learning progress. 

What makes Fun Learner's School different from the other tuition centres?
Children are simple minded; so to say, they either love or dislike something or some one.  When it comes to studying they automatically hates it... to the max especially for subjects that they are struggling with.  The more we force them to learn the more they will reject.

Fun Learners' School understands this and they inject some FUN into their lessons; pretty in line with the school's name ya?

For the composition class that DinoBoy attended, the atmosphere in the classroom has always been light-hearted, happy, relaxed and FUN.  At the end of each lesson the teacher will revise the stuffs they learn during that lesson with some games like pop quizz.  Prizes will be given to the one that scored the most during the game.  

This creates a FUN learning environment and we know children learn best when they are relaxed, intrigued and interested.  Fun Learners' School definitely hit the nail right on the head!

InteliNote - One great tool
With so many things to remember just to score that 40 marks, how did Fun Learners' School managed to get the students to remember most, if not all of them? 

Taking notes of course, but not just any notes, its Fun Learners' School InteliNote.

Since this InteliNote belongs to them, they are allowed to decorate the cover in any way they fancy, the same goes for the things that goes into the note book.  For example, the students from the composition class are encouraged to write down the things they learned during lessons, in school or even during their daily life.  They can pen down the idioms, phrases, good opening/ending in the notebook in ways that enable them remember it easily.  Being a visual learner DinoBoy does that by adding sketches or doodling relating to the notes.

I am not sure the true meaning of InteliNote but to me it is the Intelligent Notebook because they can write down so many things in that small note book.  I have seen the InteliNote from Science class, one glance of any page and you will see all the key points and important notes about any topic.  Very impressive!

Revising for composition is easy peasy, he go through his Composition InteliNote every week, here you see him studying the notes the morning before PSLE Chinese composition exam.

We achieved our goal!
Nothing beats showing the results, here are the 2 composition that DinoBoy did during the first lesson on April 2018 and last lesson on September 2018.  He managed to improve his composition in just 6 months with Fun Learners' School.  Now isn't that is amazing!  I would think that he could be scoring over 30 marks if he started months or even a year earlier.

This improvement was also reflected in his school composition.  As you can see from the photo I am sharing below, he scored a pass with the 1st composition he did in Primary 6, this is his "normal marks" as his usual composition marks over the years were between 20 to 22 marks, there were a few times he didn't managed to pass but that was mostly because he wrote off topic/theme.

His last composition in August 2018 showed an improved score of 4 marks, of course the marks fluctuated through the months but he managed to score a record high at the last minute!  I was hearten when I read his Chinese teacher's comment even though he used it incorrectly.  He had never use powerful phrases 好词好句in his composition because he does not know many and does not know how to use them, this clearly shows that he is putting the things he learned at Fun Learners' School into his school work.

Of course he is far from being a prolific writer but I am satisfied with the improvement in such a short period of tme, I can see that he has put in a lot of effort in and I am glad that his hard work paid off.  

We started our composition tuition with Fun Learners School around mid April 2018 till the end September 2018, just 1 day before the PSLE Chinese composition exam.  

Initially I was hesitant to start the tuition with Fun Learners' School as the school is located in the West part of town which is about an hour's travelling time away from our house.  The 2 hour plus travelling time and 1 hour 45 mins lesson time would mean that half of his Saturday is burnt.  I was worried DinoBoy would not have time to rest and revise his school work.  After thinking through and discussing with DinoPapa, I decided to bite the bullet and went forth with it, having the best interest for DinoBoy's learning.

Everything turned out to be fine!  DinoBoy looked forward to lessons every Saturday so he didn't find it a chore to travel that distance to and back.  

During this short journey of with them, I see DinoBoy gaining more confident in conversing in Mandarin and his vocabulary has increased significantly too.  From the pieces of composition he did in school and with Fun Learners School I can see that he is more expressive when describing incidents and feelings.  His sentence construction are more logical and with lesser grammatical error

From the tutor and teacher's comments in his composition, he still have a few flaws that needs to be addressed but with much practice writing he should improve in time to come.

I am impressed that Fun Learners' School helped Dinoboy improved his composition writing in short period of time!
I especially love the vibes in Fun Learners' School.  Most of the students have been with the school for a few years or since they were in Primary 1 so it is like a 2nd home to them, making the school like a big happy family.

The teachers and staffs, even the bosses too are friendly and approachable. Sometimes I meet them along the corridor, we will chat for a while before they rush off to their next class or finish their work.

We rarely see such unique relationship between bosses, staffs, teachers, students and parents.  Definitely a plus point that makes me decided to continue the lessons with Fun Learners' School.

I have asked DinoBoy to pen down his thoughts about attending Fun Learners' School Composition class, here's what he has to say.

Last but not least, if your child needs a boost in his or her Chinese composition, based on our successful journey with them, I will recommend that you give Fun Learners' School a try.  Call them now and arrange for a trial!

About Fun Learners' School

Photo taken from Fun Learners' School facebook with permission.
Fun Learners' School has been established for 13 years by Mr Chee Chin Young (Principal) and Ms Cha Pei Pei (Vice Principal), who are both qualified with Master Degree in Education.  Together with their team of  high achieving and qualified teachers with years of teaching experience under their belt, they have been inspiring children and guiding them to ace their academic with the unique teaching style and method (Concept Mapping, Blooms Taxonomy and Linchpin Competencies).  Their challenging teaching materials are in line with the current school curriculum and syllabus.  

They have classes from pre-primary to secondary, covering English, Maths, Chinese and Science subjects.  They also have classes specifically for PSLE students where they will work with the students intensively to ensure that they perform well during the PSLE exam.

Besides the regular classes they also have Ace my PSLE Camp, Speed Studying Strategies for Science and PSLE Camp.

Read more about the school here.

Fun Learners' School
Address : Blk 371, Bukit Batok Street 31, #02-328; #02-326, Singapore 650371
Tel: +65 6567 3208
Website :

Disclaimer : We were requested by Fun Learners' School to try out their PSLE Chinese composition class for a term for the purpose of this post.  No other compensation were received.   We decided to continue by paying for the lesson after seeing the improvement DinoBoy have shown.  All opinions in this post are 100% ours and based on our experience with Fun Learners' School.  All photos in this post belongs to The DinoFamily, you may not take them for personal use without our permission.

1 comment:

  1. Nowadays, the greatest hurdles faced by the students are lack of composition writing skills and lack of knowledge. It was your right decision to seek external help in order to pull his grade up in Chinese composition and It's really appreciable that you explained what exactly goes on in the classroom.