Kumon Bandar Sunway’s First Completer!

14 10 2010

Here’s our tribute to Kumon Bandar Sunway’s FIRST Completer – Doogie Yong!

He had been studying with us for 7 years and performed consistently all during that time. He was always very quiet. But still waters run deep! Beneath his quiet exterior is a very talented young man, whose heart is as big as his dreams!

We wish Doogie all the best for as he takes the next step in his journey of life!


2 Simple Ways To Guide Kids Through Learning Frustrations

27 04 2010

Imagine your boss one day telling you that you have to write out all your documents – using only your LEFT hand (or your RIGHT hand if you’re left-handed).Imagine your boss constantly looking over your shoulder and criticising you for your shaky writing. Not allowing you to explain why it’s difficult for you.

Most of us would probably feel very frustrated. Some of us would probably want to smack our boss. Maybe a few of us would really do it!

Sometimes during seminars, Kumon Instructors are asked to write a sentence with our other hand. This is just to give us an experience of how frustrating it feels to be doing something unfamiliar. It helps us gain some perspective on how children feel when they are trying to do/learn something new.

Just as we feel frustrated attempting unfamiliar tasks, children feel the same way too. And some of them probably want to smack us for making them do it. And perhaps, a few will really hit out! I’m sure if you have children or deal with kids regularly, you would have experienced these reactions sometimes.

As adults, it is our responsibility to guide them in a way that encourages them to keep trying until they succeed.

Here are 2 very simple ways to keep kids motivated. And they don’t cost a thing!


The most effective (but perhaps most under-used) method. But children will recognise empty praise and lose their trust in your words! So look for specific things you can honestly praise them for, no matter how small.

For example, you could praise them for drawing slightly straighter lines today than yesterday. Or for talking less when doing their work. Or being able to concentrate on their work for 1 minute longer than the day before.

By praising kids, even for the smallest improvements, they will understand that you appreciate them so much that you notice even for the smallest things. This does wonders for their self-esteem and that in turn does wonders for their performance!


Many parents are concerned that if they give their children a reward for doing something, it is equivalent to offering a bribe. There is a difference.

A bribe is when nothing gets done until a something is given. A reward is something given to recognise for good performance.

Think about it…would anyone want to participate in sports competitions if there were no medals? Would anyone want to work harder if there was no bonus at the end of the year? Children love to be rewarded for their hard work as much as we adults do!

Rewards don’t have to be extravagant. It could be taking your kids swimming or on a picnic, or buying them a favourite ice cream. At Kumon, we give stickers to students who get all correct in their classwork. The stickers cost next to nothing a piece but the shine in kids eyes when they receive it is priceless!

Celebrate Language differences, learn from one another.

3 12 2008

Instead of closing down vernacular schools..

Celebrate Language differences, learn from one another.


Below are excerpts from an essay I wrote on respecting the child’s right to his/her own language:

Imagine a scenario in Malaysian classrooms where primary school children learn the meaning of the word ‘peace’ and muhibbah in many different languages: Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Jawa, Siam, Bugis, Bawean, Bangladeshi, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Tamil, Urdu, Tagalog, Hebrew, Arabic, Senoi, Jakun, Iban, and Kadazan-dusun.

Imagine the children, in weekly language word-study circles, explaining to each other the meaning of the word in their own language.

Imagine the children learning Language Arts and Social Studies exploring the interdisciplinary theme of the language they use at home.
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Diagnosing a Learning Disability

28 11 2008

If your child seems to have a lot of difficulty with his school work and exhibits a lot of anger, frustration and sadness at school, it’s possible that he could be struggling with a learning disability. Learning disabilities affect approximately 11 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 13. They can be mild or severe in nature and typically occur in children of average or above-average intelligence. Some common types of learning disabilities include the following:
Academic skills disorders (difficulty mastering reading, writing and math). This includes: developmental reading disorder (formerly known as dyslexia): difficulties with word identification or word comprehension; developmental writing disorder: difficulties with vocabulary, grammar, hand movement and other tasks associated with writing; and developmental arithmetic disorder: difficulty recognizing numbers and symbols, memorizing facts (for example, multiplication tables), manipulating numbers and/or understanding abstract concepts.
Speech and language disorders (difficulties with listening, speaking and comprehension).
Motor-sensory integration skills disorders (difficulties with coordination, balance and the physical mechanics involved in the writing process).
Developmental disorders (various types of developmental delays that may interfere with the learning process).
Attention disorders (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for example).
Memory disorders (difficulty processing and retrieving information).
Other types of educational challenges include mental disability (a condition that is characterized by lower-than-average intelligence) and autism (a condition that is characterized by difficulties communicating with others, and, in some cases, mental disability). Early and ongoing intervention can improve outcomes significantly for children with autism, so it’s important to have your child identified as early as possible if you suspect autism.
It’s important to note that it’s unusual to diagnose a learning disability before the age of 6 or 7. Although a parent or teacher may suspect that a younger child is struggling with a learning disability, the formal identification process may not be started until he’s a little older because there is such wide variation in what young children are able to do at any given age. If there still appears to be cause for concern by the time your child is in grade one or two, you may wish to begin the process of having your child formally identified.

Malaysian Education: Revert to old school set-up

14 11 2008


IN the 1960s and early 1970s, children from poor families could study at English-medium schools free of charge.These children could enjoy comics such as Beano and Dandy. When they reached Standard Four or Five they could already start reading English newspapers and books by Enid Blyton. By the time they were in secondary school, they could move on to Shakespeare and great poetslikeWordsworth. At this stage too, they were generally knowledgeable in world history and geography.

Schooling was enjoyable then as the teachers were dedicated to their jobs. And, of course, the students respected their teachers and vice versa.

Change” is indeed painful.

In the name of narrow nationalistic sentiments, the present generation, a product of the Sekolah Kebangsaan education system, is not as lucky as their parents who studied at English schools.

Currently, only privileged children of the rich and famous can afford to study in private English schools. They have the advantage of an English education which enables them to be competitive in the job market.

What about those in Sekolah Kebangsaan? We ridicule them because they are poor in English. They can’t read, write or converse properly. Even the teachers who are supposed to improve their language skills and knowledge are no better as they too are products of this system.

We blame students for not taking English seriously. We blame teachers for not taking their profession seriously. We blame parents for not guiding and encouraging their children to be proficient in English.

We blame everybody, except the system.

How can someone who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan be proficient in English, compared with the son of a minister or a diplomat who studies in an international school? It’s a pity we adopt amyopic view when addressing the problems faced by today’s children in their quest for proficiency in English.We continue to experiment on them and make mistakes along the way.

We refuse to reintroduce English- medium schools while retaining vernacular schools.

While politicians, academicians and nationalists indulge in rhetoric and debate, the children suffer in silence.

After completing school, these children would envy those who are articulate in English. They envy their colleagues who are able to debate in English at international forums.

They envy those who can enjoy the latest bestsellers from the West. And should they buy a book of nurser y rhymes, they would face prob – lems in teaching their young ones.

They wallow in self-pity and would try their best to improve their English. They would condemn the system in silence, condemning the politicians and nationalists. And now, their own children will also have to attend Sekolah Kebangsaan as they can’t afford the fees in inter national schools.

The British and Americans were once surprised that we could speak very good English.

Today, our students have to pass a special English test to be admitted to British and American universities, where the failure rate is high.

If Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants to leave a lasting legacy before March next year, I suggest he reintroduces English-medium schools to Malaysia.

Teaching Your Child to Love to Read

28 10 2008

By Lily Morgan

Raising a child who loves books can be easy, if you have a plan. However, you must keep in mind that no matter how well you prepare to foster a love of books in your child, other influences may keep her from being a reader. All you can do as a parent is provide the encouragement, but the rest is up to your child.

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Research Shows Parent Involvement in Education Important To Student Success

21 10 2008

It is no wonder that parent involvement with the schools has become a major educational issue. This is an era of increasing concern about the quality of education in this country. States are taking a greater role in monitoring and maintaining academic standards. Communities are ever more watchful of the expense of public education. Local schools are concerned about continuing to provide high-quality teaching and other services with dwindling resources. And parents want assurance that their children will receive adequate preparation to lead rewarding adult lives.

.  A recent review of the research literature by Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory found that, “clearly, parent involvement is effective in fostering achievement and affective gains at all levels, and schools are encouraged to engage and maintain this involvement throughout the elementary, middle school and secondary years”.  Below are some excerpts from the article highlighting key findings by the researchers: Read the rest of this entry »

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