He has no exams in Primary 1 and Primary 2 from this year, but that doesn’t mean your kid doesn’t have to study at all.
Primary 1 and 2 children will still have a bite-sized assessments such as discussions, homework and quizzes.
While these are now ungraded because of the exam changes, your kid still needs to be on track academically. We show you how to help him cope with the most common ones.
“I didn’t have time to study for my quiz/discussion.”
With so much on his plate, it’s important for your Primary 1 kid to stay on top of things – but this isn’t always easy. So, when he learns that he has a bite-sized assessment in a few days, he may find that he hasn’t got enough time to prepare for it.
Ensure he’s not cramming at the last minute by making studying a daily habit. Consistent revision means he’ll be better prepared.
Charlie Spiller, head of Primary Courses at British Council, suggests working with your child to design a study timetable. Don’t forget to include fun or rest breaks and “spare” periods that can be used to go over any topics he isn’t sure about.
And be strict about him following the schedule. “Studies show that students learn better when there is variety, when different concepts or subjects are studied simultaneously or very closely, and when they’ve had regular breaks and enough sleep,” Charlie explains.
Lau Chin Loong, co-founder and curriculum director, Seriously Addictive Mathematics (S.A.M.), suggests removing or reducing any distractions, like TV shows or electronic devices, while he is studying.
“I thought the quiz/discussion was tomorrow.”
On top of making sure that Junior revises regularly, help him keep track of which bite-sized assessment are coming up so that he’s not taken by surprise. Over time, let him manage his study and schedules independently, suggests Chin Loong. So, don’t demand that he study .
Instead, say: “I see you have a math mini assessment next week. Are you ready for it? What do you need to do to prepare for it?”
“I was so nervous that I forgot what I learnt.”
This is common when it comes to mathematical concepts.
To minimise your child’s anxiety, be encouraging, and explain to him that assessments are opportunities for him to demonstrate that he’s understood the mathematical concepts and procedural skills that have been taught, Chin Loong suggests.
And remember that achievement will naturally follow when the learning is in place. So, for instance, before your child understands the procedure of a sum (that is, how it’s written out), he should understand the concept behind it.
“Next, determine which part your child is weak in: concepts or procedures,” says Chin Loong.
“To address gaps in conceptual understanding, have him explain what he understands and practise simple questions before progressing to more complex ones.
“To address gaps in procedural fluency, have him practise a variety of questions. This will help him feel more confident and competent. And remember to review past errors and make sure that he’s learnt from
Memorising the procedures or practising the test questions is pointless if he doesn’t understand the concepts to begin with.
When it comes to Mother Tongue, say, Mandarin, practising the characters will help your child recognise and become more familiar with them, says Lim Szei Ching, Dean/Curriculum Design & Implementation at Han Culture and Education Group.
And the more familiar he is with them, the better his recall ability.
“In addition to revising vocabulary lists and example sentences, he should also attempt to use the words in his school work and daily life,” Szei Ching adds.
“Reading is also important in language acquisition. It’ll help him recognise Chinese characters and learn how words come together to form meaningful sentences and paragraphs.”
“I’m too shy to present at show-and-tell.”
Preparation is key to helping your little one get over his shyness, says Charlie. Even the best speakers feel nervous, no matter how many times they’ve spoken to an audience.
The trick is to discuss with your child how he’s going to start the presentation, what he’s going to present, and how he’s going to end it.
It’s also crucial to rehearse what he intends to say. Rehearsing as often as possible helps your child build confidence and gives him the opportunity to practise his speaking skills.
It would be even better if he rehearsed his presentation in front of family members – this will help him feel more comfortable discussing his topic in the presence of others and teach him valuable tips, such as how to make eye contact with his audience, how to adjust his voice to make an impact, and so on.
The same goes if his presentation is in Mandarin and he’s not comfortable using the language in front of people. “Give your child ample opportunities to speak or perform in front of you,” Szei Ching suggests.
“It could be singing a song, telling a story or reading a passage in Mandarin. Encouraging him and giving him advice will help him develop his enthusiasm and self-confidence over time. Eventually, speaking Mandarin in front of others will feel natural for him.”
“I forgot what I was supposed to say at my show-and-tell.”
Charlie suggests teaching your child the simple technique of reducing his presentation to three key words. This will help him recall his main talking points.
So, for example, if he’s planning to discuss a recent holiday, he might want to make “airport”, “hotel” and “sightseeing” his key words.
He should use his fingers to count out these key words as he introduces them. Saying them out loud in the introduction will also help him structure his thoughts.
If he forgets what he’s supposed to say mid-way through the presentation, he just has to look at his fingers to see which point he’s on. If “brain-freeze” kicks in, he should move on to the next finger (talking point).
“My teacher told me that I spoke too softly at show-and-yell. But I did speak up!”
Posture is really important, so make sure your child stands up straight and isn’t looking down at his shoes or dipping his head while he’s talking, says Charlie.
To prevent mumbling, he should focus on the students farthest away from him. “Students are often unaware of how loudly they actually need to speak,” Charlie adds.
“In their own head, their voice tends to be loud enough. Get your child to practise his presentation and place your mobile phone on record on the other side of the room.
“Play the recording back. If it’s clear, your child projected his voice well; if not, have another go until your child knows how much louder or clearer he needs to speak.”
(Photos: Straits Times and 123RF.com)