When it comes to primary school Chinese tuition lessons, we expect (almost instant) positive results out of them. We’re looking for a huge jump in grades, impeccable oral expression and improved writing skills. Yet, it’s easier said than done. Some kids take the learning in so easily and for some, it’s a Herculean task.
One thing we noticed though: the more they’re used to the lessons, the harder it is to tame a kid. Kids are attracted to everything new and shiny, including lessons. Once the excitement wears off, the learnings don’t soak in quite as effortlessly as it used to.
Fortunately, with their impressionable young minds, their brains are ripe for learning and possess that special window of learning opportunity.
If you find yourself sighing and shaking your head as you wrestle with your kid’s lack of effort in learning…maybe you’re not making full use of your kid’s natural learning ability, and asking the right questions. Maybe it’s time to.
So what are these questions? Let’s take a look.
7 Questions To Ask To Help Your Kid Get More Out Of Their Tuition Lessons
Can you imagine?
Being one of the most powerful words in the English language, you can imagine why we’d want to use it as one of our questions. Can you imagine a totally different ending to the story that you’ve just read? Can you picture a new character and what he or she will say? Learning is stressful when it involves nothing but drudgery. Honestly, the challenges of learning something that doesn’t spark interest is very, very real. Asking children to imagine, which happens to be one of their strongest knacks, is inspiring them to create images in their minds, and can catalyze some really beautiful flair for creation (especially for writing).
Of course, being correct is important, but as kids, it’s their right to be creative; don’t let them become paralyzed with the fear of being incorrect. Asking the right “whys” helps them wrestle all the learnings all into their rightful place, just in case they got jumbled up. And not just that, so as they’ve worked out their thoughts, it also lay down a strong foundation for their next lessons.
Can you explain?
We’ve always highlighted about how teaching someone else is the best way to learn, a.k.a the Protégé Effect. Dig in and start getting your hands dirty: ask detailed questions such as why 能 is used instead of 可以. Questions like these can be hard for children who didn’t pay attention. Otherwise, they should be able to nail it. Having them give you a clear explanation of what they know can help them understand the content and context better, and also lets you discern how well they’re understanding the things that they’ve learnt.
What if you change the character’s dialogue? What if the boy did this instead of that? What if the weather changed? One of the most powerful questions you can ask, this question is simply life-changing. No bad things will happen if your child embraces changes, even in the most absurd way. They’ll just get a completely different story, that is! No matter what, it always doesn’t hurt to work that creative brain of theirs in any way you can.
What do you think?
After learning what they did, speak about your opinion on one certain area, then ask them what they think about your views. We’re pretty sure that their little minds wander as the tuition teacher goes on about “foreign” things. To see that their thought process is settled in the right place during lessons, asking for their thoughts remains a superstar question.
What was difficult?
Learning a new language requires learning a lot of new words, possibly up to 20,000 characters. There’s no way around it. Sounds scary? Yes, it does. Imagine how a child would feel. Start asking in a casual manner, for example, “how was class today?” Then dive deeper into the specifics. It could be a word that they can’t pronounce however hard they tried or a definition that they couldn’t grasp no matter how. By being aware of their learning difficulties, you can start making changes like discussing it with their tuition teacher and see the available learning alternatives.
Which is your favourite word today, and why?
It may sound like a weird question to ask, but it’s unbelievably useful to determine whether your kid is learning effectively for the day. First, being able to pinpoint the word that they liked means they’ve been paying ample attention. Second, their method of explanation lets you know how deep into understanding they are of the lesson.
The benefits of asking your child open-ended questions are endless — it’s also necessary and creates an entirely different dynamic for learning. But don’t push it too hard or ask in a way that’ll make them feel like they’re being interrogated.
Remember the feeling you get when you’re in class: praying that the teacher doesn’t call on you when questions are being asked? If they feel like it’s a big, scary conclusive thing that they have to do every single time they’re done with their lessons, you can’t blame them if they clam up.
Ask exciting questions so children can engage. A massively useful way would be including interesting tidbits of conversation.
In general, intentionally asking questions is the shift in thinking from, “my kid will be able to learn on their own with just their tuition teacher” to, “I can’t depend entirely on the tuition teacher; I’d have to take the initiative to learn how my kid is doing.”
Even if you can’t (or too lazy to) ask them these questions all the time, it can be extremely rewarding for you and your child to try it from time to time. You’d be surprised at how asking the right questions can help your kid get more out of their tuition lessons.
If you’re pondering over what needs to be done to make Chinese learning easier for your child, sign up for a free trial lesson with Connected Learning.