Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sending a English-based Kid to a Chinese School - Is it a good move??

Kinda strange. When I resumed blogging, what is top most in mind is not just my children but their education. No, I'm not saying that this is not in my mind but the focus wasn't really there. Hence, I have somewhat slacked in that area. Now that I'm back, this piece is coming back in sharper focus. The guilt of slacking naturally comes with it.

I was having this conversation today with a friend. Her daughter will be starting school in 3 years time and darn, she is already wondering which school to send her to. She was asking my opinion on SJK(C) versus a private school. Is there a hard and fast rule to it?

A few months back, when my husband was coaching Ryan on his BM, he was real upset to see that Ryan's Malay literacy was and still is below par. In fact, his Chinese now is a lot better than his Malay. We started to question.. have we done the wrong thing by sending Ryan, an obviously non-Chinese speaking and pretty much a banana boy, to a Chinese Primary school. He went thru a very tough time during Standard 1.. to the extend that he dreaded going to school. His results other than English and Math, weren't encouraging then. His spirit was really low. Now that we realized that with this approach, we could be doing it at the expense of Malay literacy. Is it worth while? After all, we are living in Malaysia and Malay is definitely very important. Now, I'm not saying that Chinese is not important but should it be Chinese in all subjects? Our earlier decision to put him in a Chinese school was also because we wanted the strict disciplinary training that usually comes with the teaching culture. But what's my cost here?

In fact, at this stage, I'm kind of stuck. Ryan can't go to a Kebangsaan school. He will be soooo lost especially with his weakness in BM. But can he strive thru all the way to Standard 6 in a Chinese school? I'm not confident about his grades. And I don't want also a Grade 2 if he does badly in BM next time. That leaves us with the consideration of a private school. Of course, the cost is real $$$. I have many friends in similar situation who ended up pulling their children out of SJK(C) and into private schools.

I was given so many opinions of private schools. Not all are favourable. There have been sweeping remarks that children from private schools tend to be spoiled and kinda self centred. And there have been some that said that it really depends on the school. I have yet to check out the different private schools. I felt that what's important when it comes to that is the parents' testimonial and the course structure/syllabus of the school. I'm in fact quite weary of the over-commercialized private school. Ryan was in such similar over-commercialized private kindy and guess what? I have get him out and raced against time to get him ready for Standard 1.

Frankly, I don't know where to start searching. At this point, I will be most happy for any recommendation to me :)

I'm not going to pull him out of SJK(C) just yet. Ryan is showing good signs of improvement especially now that he takes pride in his results and achievements. But it is still a long way to go. My husband and I agreed to wait for his term exam and see how he fares. The decision will come after that.

Sometimes, I feel really bad for Ryan. Whatever and whichever moves/decisions we make for him have always been a trial and error. And definitely, there have been glaring mistakes and he has to do quite a bit of catch up. Raymund and Rachel are more fortunate. That is probably why I focus a lot of attention on Ryan. Nevertheless, I'm pretty worried over my younger kids as well and whether they can survive SJK(C). My kids are all banana kids. My hope is that different kids have different pick up and learning capabilities. I still maintain that SJK(C) is still the 1st step. But I can always ram up their base first.... and therein lies yet another headache especially when I'm not a SAHM... coming up next...


Sue said...


I totally understand your concerns..I am a banana too and 5 years ago I started my eldest boy in a SRK (C). He is still there and prefers to stay there even though I have asked him whether he'd like to transfer to kebangsaan school since his grades were really bad for Mandarin subjects last year (Std 4). The reason for that was he wanted to stop Mandarin tuition( in Std 3) so I allowed for a year as I wanted to see whether he could cope on his own. Obviously he couldn't and after starting him with tuition again, his grades have picked up and no more failed tests.

As for BM, you can tutor him and speak more to him in Malay or he can go for tuition...don't worry too much, he can improve on it when he moves to Kebangsaan school in Form 1..if you are hoping for him to enter public universities, then he needs a credit in BM...otherwise what is the problem really if he does not score in BM? BM can be picked up later in life...Mandarin more difficult. Children pick up language much easier from birth to 10 years teach them the hardest one first...English and Mandarin. My 2nd child, a girl, also just started Std 1 this year in the same chinese school. With a private tutor's help, she is coping. will keep her there till she tells me she hates learning Mandarin..

My objective in sending 1st child there was so that he can speak a 3rd language and wont be a banana like me and I'm very happy that mission is accomplished! Everytime I hear him speak Mandarin, I feel so proud and happy. He even translates for me whenever someone speaks to me in Mandarin and I don't understand...yay, I have my own translator!

Just my opinion...hope this helps :)

kathleen said...

Hi, long time didn't drop by your blog. You can check out this forum from Lick Hung parents.

I sent my daughter there as well, this year Std 1. Don't give up.

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