My friend is pulling his kid out of Chinese School

The other day I met a friend from long ago. I was happy to find out that his kid was attending the same Chinese school as the one my girl will be entering next year. His kid is attending Std 1 in that same Chinese school this year.

However, much to my dismay I learned from him that he is now checking out private schools because he wishes to pull his kid out from that Chinese School next year.

His reason? Not the workload because he had already expected that. He has a supportive spouse who sits down with the boy and teaches him everynight even though she does not know Mandarin herself. He invests RM1,500 in an electronic dictionary and teaches the boy how to use it to help himself in his work. At the same time, they also send him to British Council once a week to make sure that his standard of written English remains good. Even though they speak English at home, he is worried that his standard of English will deteriorate if he is not given the practise. According to him the British Council is packed and there is a waiting list to get in.

His reason is because he thinks that Chinese School is turning his boy into a reserved kid. According to him he does not know how to mingle and he is afraid that he will either turn out square and reserved or rebellious as he retaliates from the stress of going through the culture of fear day after day. He is afraid of this even though they are supportive parents who give their boy lots of support in school.

He sent his kid to Chinese School because he felt that he had no choice since he has totally ruled out National School. No Choice. Sigh. Why do we have such a screwed up Education System? I am still wondering whether I am doing the right thing to send my girl to Chinese School.

At the moment, she is a bright girl who loves school. She is not afraid of her teachers. She loves to ask questions and she communicates with them well, IN ENGLISH. However, I am worried that all that will change next year. Will I see her shrink into a quiet, frightened little girl who does her work because she HAS to do them and not because she loves to learn the way she is now? Oh well, we’ll see.

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20 thoughts on “My friend is pulling his kid out of Chinese School

  1. hmm, correct me if im wrong but your friend said he’s prepared for the workload but he wants to stop coz the ‘culture of fear day after day’ ??u mean the teachers are nutcases and discipline freaks??

    to tell u the truth i have nephews and nieces all in chinese schools and most of them are able to mingle with friends happily..when i pick them up from schools they are just happy boys and girls..maybe it depends on the individual kid u said ur girl is liking it..

    the only problem i have with chinese schools is the size of the blardy school bags la..

    Perhaps its not just the culture of fear alone but the method of rote learning. Even a headmaster who has kids in kebangsaan school as well as chinese school told me that in Chinese school homework consists of copying from textbooks word for word and the kid from the chinese school memorises her essays and karangan and does not dare write anything other than what she memorises.

    My girl is in kindy this year and starting next year. 🙂 I thought that the school bags was the same everywhere? But maybe lah cos in chinese school they have to study Maths and Science in English as well as Chinese so there is double the work there.

  2. I agree with you about the memorizing essays part as I used to run a tuition center before and kids will tell me which sample essays to be “remembered” so that they can write better at exams. About the school bags, we can’t do much about it as most Chinese schools will ask the parents to buy extra work books because…. (i can’t tell)…:P

    I thot that most National schools will ask parents to buy extra work books too….Anyway, its not just the workbooks, its requiring them to bring most of the books for all the different lessons each day. If its spaced out it should be alright but no…

  3. Oh…sigh…don’t really know what to think of this. Just when you thought the decision has been made, now you have to rethink it again. I guess there is no real harm changing schools if you absolutely must.

    Just heard 2 parents taking their kids out of national schools that I thought were still alright and putting them in private schools too.

    Are we to work only for our kids to be able to learn?

    My sil also took her kids out of National School into private school. My sis on the other hand lets her 3 kids go through the 6 years of Chinese school and then into private school for their secondary education but she complains all the time about Chinese school.

  4. it depends, doesn’t it? Everything depends on the 4W and 1H, Who, When, Why, What and How….
    What seems like poison to one may turn out to be the antidote for another…the most important thing is, your girl likes it. The moment she doesn’t, that’s when you really got to step in and make the change…

    I’m hoping that she will thrive and get the best of both worlds but like you say, if she hates it, then we’ll have to do something about it then.

  5. My twins were indirectly forced into chinese school by us who know nuts about the language(sounds mean). Nolah..we are thinking of their future as China is opening so much market. Good business opportunity in future and they will be lack behing if tak tahu mandarin. Being a chinese , should know chinese. Moreover if they can go through the pressure and stress in a chinese school, they can be mould to have better endurance with work stress in future. We want them to master the Chinese language. taking extra class if you are in a national school will not master the language (I’m a great example). The twins are in Std 3 outspoken as ever, hyperactive and creative..not to mention lazy because they are tired with too much homewrk at times. Big tonned school bag! But those are minor problems compared to what they gain as a CHINESE! So you see , your friend may be wrong.

    Haha. Thats great. A success story instead of the neverending horror stories. I guess it depends on each child. My sister’s children are not afraid of the teachers because they have become so immune to the scolding and beating. I guess they’re turning out to be the rebelious type then. According to my friend, the child either retreats to himself or herself and become unsociable, quiet and reserved or they become rebelious in order to handle the stress.

  6. I think many of us are in a similar situation … english educated but want our kids to be in a chinese school for better discipline, etc. After reading this which is similar to some of my friends advise as well, I am still in a dilemma.

    I am still in a dilemma after confirming a place for my girl for Std 1 in Chinese Primary School next year. And then there’s the second kid to think of too. I hope to get it right the first time so I don’t have to experiment with another type of school environment for the second kid. I feel that as bro and sis they should receive the same type of education so that they will understand each other better. I know of many parents whose had to send their second or third kid to a different school environment because the first one didn’t turn out. Like experiment lik dat. Sigh.

  7. Well… each child develops differently. So, can’t really say whether it’s the school environment or what. Could be the home environment. I know plenty of kids here who go to good schools, but they are very introvert. So… just continue with your plan..and keep talking to your daughter lor…. see how it goes. It’s never set in stone! Don’t worry MG..she’ll turn out fine with your guidance!

    I’m just worried because my girl is rather shy at times. I want her to feel the confidence of excelling in her school work but with Mandarin not our main language at home, I am worried she’ll end up struggling to catch up instead.

  8. MG, I am soooo sorry to say this but if I may be completely honest about how I feel after reading what you wrote, I think your friend is a little too uptight lor. Chinese must be good, english must be good, everything must be very good while the child is only 7 years old!! Oh lord! I cannot imagine doing that to my girl lah… but I suppose to each and his/her own.

    My girl, as you know is in a chinese school. Her result is not fantastic but not bad lah. Apart from Mandarin tuition on Friday mornings, she attends no other extra classes. She is intelligent judging by how she could score 99% in her Chinese exam when I did not even see her studying. Basically, she comes home, completes her homework within an hour, and off she goes to play or watch the tv. And that’s fine by me, as long as she finishes her schoolwork. I buy activity books for her, which she will take out and do as and when she feels like it, and that’s fine by me too.

    As to your friend’s comment about the school turning his boy into a reserved kid, I think that is not a fair statement at all. Every child has his/her temperament just like adults. Perhaps his child is just not a boisterous and loud kid and that’s nothing to do with the education system. My girl is generally quiet in class, and she’s more a follower than a leader, and that’s how she is, even when she was attending kindy. But she socialises with her friends during recess time. She has friends. She talks about them all day long when she’s at home. Anyway, I feel totally baffled by what you have learnt from this man. Must really see what he will say about private schools in future. Hehehe… 😉

    I guess everyone is a little gancheong about their own kids and want to do the best for them. You can classify me under the extremely gancheong and worried category. Thanks for your comments. It helps to allay my extremely gancheong state. Hahaha.

  9. mg, i have to take back that word “uptight”… that’s the wrong word.. I meant highly strung.

    Okie dokie. 🙂 Jomel, I’m so sorry I haven’t visited you in a while. It doesn’t help that you are not on my feedreader anymore! Excuses. Excuses. Hehe.

  10. I’m one of those parents who is english educated and wished to enroll their kids in a chinese school… but I guess I too have the same ‘fears’ as your friend… What we planned is to encourage my kid to be more open.. not sure if it’ll work but worth a try

    Yes, we’ll all try our best but we can’t say or comment anything more until we are in the situation. Wait, next year after she starts school, I will definitely have lots to write about then. 😉

  11. I suppose we should know our child best as to which school will fit them. personally my hubby and I have decided not to put our kids in Chinese school because we are concern about the mentality that is quite “one kind”, from the people we’ve met.

    Also, our sons enjoy talking to adults, exchanging and sharing ideas, and I have heard that in Chinese schools, teachers are too concern about getting the lessons done, so no time for chit-chat and sharing of discoveries in class. Plus the load of home work, the pages of writings, will sure cripple my sons’ love for experiments and explorations.

    My boys will sure end up hating school.

    I have the same sentiments as you but for the sake of learning chinese and for lack of a better choice, I am sending my girl to Chinese School and hope to provide her with a balance at home.

  12. I think it all depends on whether your kids has a liking for the language.

    I attended both chinese and government school in primary, but do not keep in touch with the language, having like other forms of medium more. so I couldn’t read the papers and could only recognise hawker stall signs “kai fun” “kon low mee” etc

    But my other siblings who keep in touch with the language could still read Chinese papers, even though they reside and work in UK, Miami, Aust or US after their graduation and marriage. Me, I live in an Asian country, but do not keep in touch with the language, forgot most characters.

    While I do realise that Chinese school is very much favoured nowadays, I still think it depends on the kid. I think there’s no harm trying out Chinese school. If you don’t think it’s for your kid, you can always opt out later.

    My girl says she likes to learn Mandarin so we’ll try it out. What we want actually is for her to learn Mandarin as a third language, and not let it become the main medium of instruction but it seems we have no choice here.

  13. Just to clarify matters, back in the 1970’s, there is a Chinese private school in my hometown. I realise that there isn’t many Chinese private school around. We attended the government school int he morning and the Chinese private school in the afternoon, but learning the same sylabus in geography, history, science,math etc, except in different medium, Chinese.

    Gosh. You learned double of everything?

  14. Same same here with allthingspurple. I attended morning kebangsaan school and chinese-free-nite-school in the evening, learning all the other subjects as well.

    But I didn’t learn double of everything wor. Becos I was having fun – being an average kid, I dunno how to appretiate opportunity to learn ..always think of play oni…haiz. I also have friends who can master the language from the nite-school, but I can say very very few can achieve that. That’s why I think, tuition alone can’t help much, unless the kid has high initiative.

    I missed the old Chinese text book we used before KBSR or 3M. I liked the old chinese text book. It consists of many short stories. Most of them were Chinese’s moral stories. I can still remember some of them. I regretted I gave them away. Can’t find them now. I learnt a lot of good values from that text book. Who can tell me where to find them?

    Maybe you can try ebay. Seems like can find most things there especially old things. 🙂

  15. sorry, went out of topic.

    I think it’s individual. and teachers also play important part. My friend’s daughter sat for UPSR yesterday. She came out and told the teacher that the Bahasa paper was easy. U know what the teacher said? She said, if it’s easy, that means it will be difficult to score. That remark made the girl so worried and my friend has to “destress” her over the phone in office. Why can’t the teacher says something positive, moreover they have 3 more exam days to go.

    Chinese school teachers too strict, kebangsaan school teachers pulak tidak apa. But not all teachers are like that lar. So parents still have to work alot here to balance things up. Not like last time, parents can leave almost everything to school. My parents donot have to worry a bit on our schooling – just signed report card oni. Now, school can put a lot of stress to students and parents as well. Sigh

    Yah, I wish the teachers would be more positive. They don’t realise how much importance the kids view their words.

    Ya lah, in those days, our parents sign report card only. No need to nag us to study, no need tuition etc. The students are more independant then. And I don’t think its the parental styles that has changed, it is forced by circumstances.

  16. As for me, I plan to send my kids to Chinese school so they can brush up their Mandarin since we speak more of English at home.

    I have friends who send their kids to Chinese school eventhough they know nuts about Mandarin. Turn up, the parents can speak Mandarin now. It’s much depending on how much effort and encouragement the parents put in in their children’s education irregardless it’s Chines or English school.

    Well, we know nuts about Chinese so it’ll have to be that way for us, ie have to learn together with them in order to guide them, no other way. Unless you want to rely on tuition teachers which is something I don’t want if I can help it.

  17. MG,
    to read some of your friends’ comments I think most of the private schools here almost have the same methods and situation. Most of the teachers are too discipline and the kids take too much books to school (like what’ve happened to my 2 older kids, they go to a private Catholic school). That’s why I put Ian in a Montessori preschool. It’s really different and I ‘love’ Montessori methods (kids learn what they loved and what they want to know, not because they have to do), but it’s a pity there’s no Montessori elementary school here. That’s why these days I try to ask for any suggestion from one of my blogger friend who is a Montessori teacher. Transferrig him to a private school that has very different methods really ‘scared’ me. I think we both have same problem 🙁
    I’ll let you know what I’ve got from my friend. Keep in touch!

    My sis sent her first kid to a Montessori preschool and he really had a culture shock when he entered chinese school in Year 1 because of the very different methods like you say.

  18. I dont think Chinese school will make a child reserve. Its more on the child’s upbringing n personality …

    I hope so cos I’ve heard this reserve comment more than once.

  19. I’ve been following ur posts on whether chinese or kebangsaan school since u started writing about it but I never gave comments… because I seriously dunno which is best.

    And I agree with everyone that it depends on the kid as well whether they would be reserved or not. However, I personally have noticed in my area, chinese school students are more reserved. But I feel that’s why they are also more disciplined.

    My neighbour’s kid was an active child when she was in kindie, often came out to play with my kids. Now she’s in Standard Two in a Chinese school, I see she’s so ‘kuai’ at home. I hardly hear her voice and see her come out to play anymore.

    Btw, do you speak or read/write in mandarin? If not u have to be gan cheong about another thing, school events where everyone speaks mandarin and u don’t.

    But seriously, no need to worry so much about it. Children can adapt well.

    Ya lor. My friend’s Std 3 Chinese school kid also very sweeet and “kuai” one compared to her boisterous, talkative mother.

    Me and my hubby both dunno any Chinese lar, otherwise why would I worry. When we went to get the kid’s birth cert stamped at the school, the Malay clerk asked us to write down her Chinese name so they could prepare the badge. My husband and I looked at each other and we both turned red cos dunno how to write her name down in Chinese. We had to enlist the help of a teacher. When I got home and checked, I found that the teacher had written the wrong characters down based on the wrong info/meaning that we gave her.

    The school will have two days of orientation for the parents but I see the program also dunno what its all about, everything in Chinese. So yes, I am definitely gan cheong about school events, starting from the orientation program. Afterwards I misinterpret the school rules and regulations and get my poor girl in trouble. Kesiannya. Hahaha.

  20. I think I am the lousiest mum out there compared to other. I feel shock when I read about Montesorium’s mum long checklist on the pre-school selection, I don’t really consider that when sending my girl to school. On the selection of primary school, I have made up my mind to sent her to Chinese School since day 1, the one next to my house and never thought of checking the school or school hunting or anything.

    Do we really need to be thinking that much??

    My errr…. rather lengthy reply to your comment is here: Parents too picky about kids’ schools?”

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