School Grade: Primary 4
Center: Kumon Island Resort Education Center (Hong Kong)
Kumon English (EFL): Completed in May, 2016. (Equivalent to senior secondary school level)
The “Transformation” in Learning - Student Chan
The founder of the Kumon Method, Toru Kumon, says children are born to love learning; if children can self-learn, moving forth at their own pace, they will gain self-confidence and become more thoughtful and friendly. Student Chan, having the big dimples on her face and filling with curiosity in her eyes, patiently waiting for the start of the interview…
The girl who once struggled in English lessons has “transformed”
Chan started learning Kumon when she was soon-to-be a K3 student. After paying effort for more than three years, she completed the Kumon English (EFL) programme, when she was in Primary 3. Looking back this learning journey, she said, “Learning Kumon has become a habit for me. Kumon English (EFL) requires listening to the CD daily and doing the worksheets. For me personally, I particularly like reading and writing part. Even so, I am still able to listen to the CD every day.
After hearing Chan’s sharing, her mom shared more with us. We found that the great “transformation” in her learning was not easy. “When Chan turned to be a P1 student, she slept with me one night. She told me, ‘When we had English class, my teacher told us stories in English fast and fluently, and everyone was laughing. I am the only one who did not know what the teacher said.’ Then she cried and thought that she was the worst student in the class. To be honest, I don’t know English, and I know my daughter’s classmates’ parents are very good in English. They even speak English at home, but we don’t. She cried and asked me what she should do. I told her, ‘Even though you do not understand English now, your Math and Chinese are great, and you speak Mandarin fluently. On average, you are as good as them. And now you are enrolling in the Kumon English (EFL) programme, you will get better soon!’”
Chan smiled and said, “At the beginning, my English was really terrible, I gradually get better each day through learning Kumon English (EFL). As I kept moving on, I enjoyed it even more. My favourite article is “Matilda” (A renowned poem selected for Level M in Kumon English (EFL)). When I reached Level O (the final level in Kumon English (EFL), which is equivalent to senior secondary school level), I found it very difficult, and there were lots of vocabularies that I did not know. I had to look them up in the dictionary one by one. When I did not know how to do, I asked my instructor. Now I am happy that I completed all levels.”
Hardworking and Smart Chan wants to become an actress
Though studying Kumon every day, Chan understands the importance of repetition. “Sometimes I missed the focus point when I did it for the first time, and when I had to do that again, I found that I was so careless.”
When asked about if she had any suggestions for children who are still learning Kumon English (EFL), she suggested, “Listen to the CD daily is a must, if you do not listen, you perhaps do not know the pronunciation, and it is very difficult to spell it out on your own. Furthermore, when you do the worksheet for the second time, pay attention and do it patiently. Since you have made the mistake once, it will be silly if you make the same mistake twice.”
Chan is also learning swimming and drawing, and she wants to become an actress in the future, “I love everything that requires performing on the stage, I am fine for appearing on the screen.”
Chan started learning Kumon when she was not yet to be a K3 student. Even now she has become a completer of Kumon English (EFL), she is still a Primary 3 student. Compared with older children, it’s surely hard for a little child, like Chan to control her autonomy and emotion; we definitely believe her parents and instructor must have put lots of effort into helping her. Let us hear what Chan’s mom shared.
Giving a little bit Pressure, Gaining more Motivation
“At first, my friend introduced Kumon to me. She gave me all her child’s used CD books and CDs to me. Since the books are given by others, there were no instructors and no guidance, Chan learned without any pressure and did not take it very seriously. So she listened to the CD when she was free, and she did not listen to it when she did not want to. Therefore, I decided to let her study at the Kumon education center, where the instructor could give some professional advice. Having an instructor and knowing the requirements of the Kumon Method, she felt stressed, and finally paid attention in learning.”
Chan went to Kumon education center once a week and she worked on the Kumon worksheets six days at home. She is energetic and loves to play, and it must take lots of effort to keep her work on a certain amount of worksheets every day. “At the beginning of her learning journey, her instructor asked her to complete the worksheets in half an hour, and it took her two hours to finish. She was drawing, playing with the pencil… and this situation lasted for the first half of the month. It certainly should not be like that, so I told her at first, ‘Be serious, and you can play after you are done with your homework.’ But you can tell that she won’t listen to me, so I talked with her seriously, sat with her to make sure she finished.
I know many children who do not listen to the CD, but I needed her to listen. At first, I worried that she would lie to me and pretend that she had listened; therefore, I sat next to her and let her read it aloud. If she could not read some vocabulary, she had to repeat and listen again. After listening to the CD, she followed and repeated those vocabulary words, and then she would know how to pronounce them.
Look Back and see…it’s worth it!
“After passing this task, she becomes more proactive. I am not sure if it is because I have been so strict to her or she understood it herself, and I still do not know the answer now. Now she would say every day, ‘mom, I need to study English!’ She knew that if she had not finished, she could not go out to play, and it has become a habit for her. She wakes up, has breakfast, and does Kumon afterward, and that is her daily routine. Besides her English gets much better, her time management skill is improved as well, she knows how to allocate her time. I did not need to worry about her so much since she was in Primary 2. She can arrange tasks by herself, and she plays cell-phone only after she finishes her homework, she knows what she needs to do in a certain time.
Chan’s mom said, “Now she completed the entire programme (Kumon English (EFL)); if possible, I will discuss with her instructor to let her study one more subject. I am really thankful that her instructor stayed in touch with me for the whole time. During these three years, I introduced many friends’ children to learn Kumon, regardless of their ages. Kumon advocates individualized instruction; for some children who are naughty, her instructor would spend lots of time with them, even though the instructor has to work overtime, spending two hours to tell children why they have to study, and what may benefit them.”
Kumon children spend most of their Kumon study at home. We absolutely have to give credit for their parents’ hard work. We asked Chan’s mom, “From your sharing, you have been working so hard for Chan for years, and you put so much effort, what is the most unforgettable thing?”
Perhaps all topics have been around her child, when she was asked about her own feelings, she suddenly became silent and seemed a little bit overwhelmed. After a few minutes, she shed her tears. She said, “For more than three years, I have never had breakfast out of the home. In order to build a habit for Chan to do Kumon after breakfast, I insisted on having breakfast at home, sometimes I would ask Chan’s daddy to buy takeaway breakfast and eat at home, and that saved time. After a short break of breakfast, we would let her do Kumon. If we schedule the Kumon time at night, we worry that it may mess up her study habit. Chan has been making progress, as I look back, everything is worth it.”
Parents are great; they are selfless for the sake of their children. We believe that Chan will become a great person with her parents’ love.