Kumon ASHR – from a Completer’s perspective

10 12 2008

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I am glad that… I am back.


People were curious and asked, “Won’t you be tired of travelling?” Yes, I need to admit that flying from Singapore back to Penang for two continuous weekends was really not easy.


12th Oct 2008… For first ever Penang G-Club Camp.


19th Oct 2008… For Northern ASHR.


Yet, after seeing the smiling faces on G-Club students at the end of the one-day camp, my weariness wiped off. After some sharing of experience with parents at KMCC booth of ASHR, I could see the relieve on their faces and the confidence in their eyes, that encouraging their children to continue with Kumon programmes is truly a right choice. I was glad, in fact, so glad to see all these happenings.


Spending a Sunday afternoon to talk with the parents and students was really worthwhile. It makes me understand how important parental support is, which is almost equally important to the student’s own determination. Witnessing fellow dear juniors receiving their medals on the stage, they really looked like stars of the day. The medals, the applause, the memorable photos, had compiled a sense of assurance on their achievement.


Of course, it was also an excited moment to see the birth of 16 northern region completers. I really hope that through receiving plaques and participating in the globe relay event, they enjoyed the sense of pride and accomplishment for becoming a completer. Most of them were so looking forward to participating in KMCC activities. And we are ready, to welcome all the newbies into KMCC family!


Every year, the day of ASHR would be written into my life history.


In ASHR 2005, first time for me to receive the gold medal in Mathematics.


In ASHR 2006, I have taken part in the parent-student forum. It was also the year which marked my new Kumon journey as a completer with the historical moment of receiving Math completer’s plaque.


In ASHR 2007, first opportunity for me to interact with the crowd, promoting KMCC to the parents and students.


In ASHR 2008, I have participated in the globe relay event and even given a President speech.


In ASHR 2009 and many years to come, I wonder what’s next?


For every now and then, I would have no regret to say that: I am glad that I am back, for ASHR.


Composed by,

Tham Chie Kuan


How to fix our education system, Part 1

5 12 2008

by Azly Rahman


Here is my early thought on Malaysian education, after having many conversations with fellow Malaysians over the last few years.

Of late we hear the concern for the teaching of Maths and Science, closing down of vernacular schools, and on the quality of education. The issue is access to success. The vision is to collaborate and not to compete, and to bring in cultural perspectives into teaching so that each child may learn, learn well, learn meaningfully, and be able to live a good life as good, ethical, thinking and world-wise citizens.

It is in the realm of thought, language, education system, teaching strategies, nature of human intelligence, and how these relate to the economic condition that is central to our approach to designing an equitable and just principle and practice of education. We need to teach the nation how to celebrate the beauty of all languages and draw out their peaceful and ethical dimensions and not to politicize them at the expense of the advancement of human intelligence. Read the rest of this entry »

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Kumon Free Trial Campaign

5 11 2008

ftc-nov-2008-bannerKumon’s Free Trial Campaign in back! From 17th to 30th November, you can have the full “Kumon experience” for free.

Parents will need to attend a Parent’s Orientation before enrolling their children. During the Orientation, children will be given a Diagnostic Test to determine their present level of ability. The Instructor will then explain the results of the test as well as the aims and objectives of Kumon.

For Kumon Bandar Sunway, our Parent Orientations will be held on 4.30pm on Sunday, 9th November and 4.30pm on Saturday 15th November. All are welcome to attend!

Please call us in advance to reserve a place if you intend to attend out Parent Orientations. Thank you!

Kumon ASHR Ceremony 2008

2 11 2008

This morning was one of the most important events of the year for Kumon. More than 600 Kumon high achievers (this number does not include their families, Kumon Instructors and Kumon staff!) converged at Berjaya Times Square for the Central Region Advanced Student’s Honour Roll ceremony. This ceremony recognises the Gold and Silver achievers (at least 3 years or 2 years ahead of school level, respectively).

More than a thousand people were in the hall! Many cancelled at the last minute or else there would have been many more people!

The ASHR ceremony has grown larger year by year. Last year, because it was not feasible anymore to accommodate all the Kumon Achievers in one ceremony, the ceremony was split into 4 parts – the Northern Region ceremony, Southern Region ceremony and Central Region ceremonies (morning and afternoon session). We can see that the number of high achievers are growing more and more.

Read the rest of this entry »

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