Connected Learning F.A.Q.

SECTION A – Philosophy, experience, lesson plan

Connected Learning specialises in interactive, fun, online Chinese lessons for children (from Primary 1 to Secondary 5), from the comfort and convenience of your home. Our Chinese and Higher Chinese lessons are meticulously researched and crafted by our team of experienced teachers, in accordance with the Singapore MOE syllabus.  

We are a young company, formed by a group of parents who experienced how difficult it is for Singaporean children to learn Mandarin, especially since English is becoming the most common home language in today’s families (see links for more articles on the subject).  

Since our formation, the uptake of our classes has been extremely encouraging — many parents have quickly recommended other friends, and fed back that their children enjoy the lessons tremendously and look forward to class — further reinforcing our belief that Singaporean school children (and parents) can benefit greatly from this concept!  We invite you to grow together with us as we share this concept with Singapore and the world.

(“The battle to speak Mandarin“; Feb 29)

(“Less room for mother tongue to flourish”, Mar 14)

Our teachers are from China, and all hold Diplomas / Degrees in Chinese Language or related fields. The management teachers have 10-15 years experience in teaching, and even our most junior teachers have minimum 2 years experience. More importantly, they are well-trained and experienced in online teaching, which requires them to be able to read the child’s cues and body language from a remote location. They are constantly engaged and maintain a sense of passion and enthusiasm throughout the class in order to keep the class fun.

Our tutors speak pure and accurate Chinese, with no local accent. In this environment, your child is constantly exposed to the proper way the language is to be spoken, and will learn naturally and subconsciously.

We adhere to the latest syllabus and exam formats as advised by MOE. We also have regular dialogues with the teachers to keep them updated on the education requirements in Singapore. Our teachers have access to the Chinese textbooks and assessment books available in Singapore. In addition, the Secondary School teachers are required to read local Chinese newspapers daily so that they are aware of current affairs and culture in Singapore (part of the Secondary School syllabus).

Yes, our teachers put in a lot of thought and research into crafting lesson plans and content based on the latest MOE syllabus.  In addition, they consciously factor in all elements of successful language learning such as 听(listening), 说(speaking), 读(reading), and 写(writing) in each lesson.  Most of the bigger enrichment centers are not able to provide enough opportunities for all students to individually practice speaking and reading, hence decreasing the effectiveness of the lessons. This is where Connected Learning is able to value-add.

Our concept marries the convenience and customisation of private tutors, to the experience and standards of brick-and-mortar enrichment centers. Our students are able to log on from home without the hassle of travelling, and yet still benefit from personalised attention and teaching experience of our teachers. In fact, our pricing reflects our philosophy — that lessons can be fun, interactive, convenient, and not have to cost an arm and a leg.

SECTION B – Timings, schedules

Our classes are online, synchronous e-learning classes, meaning students are not able to take the lessons at any time of the day or night. We are strong proponents of interactive learning, and hence, you will still need to schedule a regular timeslot (2 or 3 times a week) so that the teacher is available and prepared for your class.

Yes. Our key priority is to make as many timings available as possible so as to suit your child’s schedule. Therefore, you select the timings that your child can make. The teachers will moderate the class to ensure that each child learns and progresses accordingly. In fact, “因材施教” is a philosophy that all our teachers embrace.

Our classes are purposely kept small, with no more than 4 students in a class.

We will keep students with similar progression and ability in a group as much as possible. From experience, we have found that in small close groups, there is friendly competition and some peer pressure to complete their work better than the rest. This fosters group interaction and maximises speed of learning. Not to mention the kids have more fun!

We have different available time-slots for different levels. Contact us by email [[email protected]], telephone [8725 7379] or SMS [8725 7379] for updated availability.

The recommended deadline by MOE was for all primary schools to switch to a single morning session by 2016. Although some schools have missed the deadline, we planned our lessons based on this recommendation. Our lessons are now scheduled for afternoons / evenings and Saturdays. If you have a specific requirement, do contact us to see what we can work out.

Yes we do. Go over to our P1 Prep Course to prepare your K2 child for P1.

Research has indicated that shorter, frequent intervals are most optimal for language absorption ability. Hence for Primary 1 to 3 for example, our lessons are structured as 3 times a week of an hour each. During the first 2 lessons, the teachers will cover vocabulary, related phrases, sentence structures and usage patterns. The third lesson will be for homework and assessment work. Throughout the lessons, our teachers will converse with your child, do some exercises, and also play short clips to reinforce the lessons. Frequent usage of the vocabulary and sentences will help your child to retain it better in long term memory and it will become part of his / her “natural” vocabulary, thus increasing his / her confidence in the language. Should you prefer less frequency (minimum 2 times a week), let us know. Pricing will be adjusted accordingly.

There will not be any lessons scheduled on public holidays, and neither will there be any replacement lessons given. We will remind parents via email or sms at least 2 days before the holiday.

Yes. Please inform us by email [[email protected]], telephone [8725 7379] or SMS [8725 7379] at least one day before the lesson (if possible). Students who miss a lesson may arrange for a replacement lesson subject to the following:-
a) up to 1 replacement lesson a week, but no more than 2 replacement lessons in a month, subject to availability
b) replacement lessons may be conducted by a tutor other than the student’s regular tutor and in a class size larger than 4 students
c) no refunds or further replacement lesson will be given if a student fails to attend a replacement lesson
Our teachers take detailed notes and will give a summary of your child’s progress for each and every lesson. We will then collate and send out as a monthly progress report. Here is a sample of a progress report. In addition, please do email us your concerns or suggestions for improvement.
Date 学习内容 掌握情况
2/3/2016 学习第五课字词完成CL5.1,CL5.2学到P45。 xxx这节课表现非常好,学习字词他非常活泼,像“抬腿”他还会站起来给我演示一下,非常可爱。而且xxx做笔记非常好,字写得很认真,语文应用也完成得非常好. 现在看到图片我一般会让他先告诉我这幅图片是什么意思,让他结合学过的词语来告诉我。非常配合老师,表现非常棒,希望他继续加油,保持下去,就一定会有收获,加油!

Not a problem! As long as your child or another guardian knows how to sign in to our video conferencing software, minimal adult supervision is required for the lesson. Our teachers will take over from there and will be able to quickly notify our Connected Learning coordinators if there are any problems during the class. That’s why it is important that you provide us with a reachable phone number in case there are disruptions during the class.

Many parents have found that as they listened in to the lessons, their Mandarin actually improves as well. Not to worry — we have coordinators based in Singapore who speak both English and Mandarin. If you need to feedback on the lessons or teachers or have specific enquires, please drop us a note at email [[email protected]], telephone [8725 7379] or SMS [8725 7379], anytime.

We are still working on getting more videos up on our website. In the meantime, here is a short clip of our students.

Also attached is part of a lesson plan of the P6 syllabus.

课文
假期 1 第一课 珍珠项链
2 练习一和第二课 红头巾
3 第二课 红头巾 和练习二
4 口试、听力和作文1
5 第三课 倾斜的伞
1月 6 练习三 和 第四课 小青蛙和它的朋友
7 第四课小青蛙和它的朋友 和 练习四
8 第五课 黄龙的化身
9 练习五 和 口试 听力
2月 10 作文2
11 CA1考卷
12 CA1考卷
13 CA1考卷

The teachers will try to complete all work within the lesson timeframe. In the case of unforeseen incomplete work, it will be assigned to the child and the work will have to be scanned and emailed to the teachers for checking.

Yes! We welcome your child to join us for a FREE trial lesson. Simply fill in your details (child level and preferred timing) under the “Free Trial” tab on our website, and we will contact you with confirmation timing and details on how to setup the software.  Do note that our trial lessons are conducted 1 to 1 in order for our teachers to better assess your child’s optimal level, however, the pricing for our lessons are based on groups of no more than 4 per class. To understand why, please refer to item 4 in Section B.

SECTION C – Costs

Fees are payable on a per month basis. All fees are neither transferable nor refundable. An invoice will be sent to you via email and payment can be made by cheque or by internet banking at least 1 week before the start of the new month.

We will willingly prorate the course fees for you.

Our teachers will be using assessment books and textbooks to enhance your child’s learning. For your convenience, we will offer to purchase the relevant books on your behalf and send them to you by registered post. The cost of these books (plus postage) is the “course materials” fee. If you already have any of the books or you wish to purchase the books on your own, just tell us and we won’t send (and charge) duplicate copies to you.

Although we ask for a 2 day notification timeline should your child not be able to make a lesson, we understand that children’s lives can be unpredictable. We will offer a replacement lesson of not more than 2 lessons a month, excluding missed lessons due to internet disruptions.

SECTION D – Technical

  • Broadband internet access
  • Desktop computer / Laptop with webcam or iPad
  • A headset with microphone (optional), speakers will work fine if the environment is not too noisy
  • Stationery such as a pencil and a notebook
In addition, we will send you instructions on how to download our video conferencing software, and also provide the Meeting ID to log into the conferencing system. It is recommended that an adult install the software prior to the first class / trial and teach the child how to log in and exit the conference session.

Here is minimum requirement to run OmniJoin 7 conferencing software:

Windows

OS Windows Vista or later (Windows 7 or later recommended)
CPU Intel Core 2 Quad
Intel Core i3
Intel Core i5
Intel Core i7
processor or equivalent
Memory
(RAM)
2GB or more
Web Browser Microsoft Edge
Internet Explorer 9 or later
Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome

Apple

OS OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or later
CPU Core 2 Duo processor or equivalent
Memory
(RAM)
2GB or more
Web Browser Safari
Mozilla Firefox

If there are problems with the connection, our teachers will notify our Connected Learning coordinators that are based in Singapore. Our coordinators will then liaise with you (or your guardian who is home with the child) to help them resolve the problem.

The videoconferencing software that we have selected is a licensed product and is commonly used.  Instructions and user guide on how to download and install the software will be provided upon confirmation of trial / first class.

Yes. Please contact us if you encounter any problems with the installation.