STAR RIVER SCHOOL
Nestled in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood area is a small but critically acclaimed Chinese Language tuition centre, known to students and parents as Star River Language School.
With their primary focus on and specialisation in composition, Star River also offers a wide variety of Chinese tuition and enrichment courses such as comprehension, performing arts, calligraphy, Chinese Painting, and more. Over the years they have been offering these courses to students from pre-school all the way to secondary school, overseeing many improved exam results along the way.
The #1 misconception most parents have about the SECONDARY School O/N LEVEL Syllabus in Singapore
Most parents seem to think that english is “common sense” and can be improved by reading books or news articles… Yes, this statement is true to a certain extent. English can be improved naturally through time and by reading more books or articles, leading to a stronger command of the language. However, the GCE ‘O/N’ Level syllabus does not just measure “command of the English Language”.
Even if a child is “naturally gifted” and has a flair for wr iting, he or she still won’t be able to do well in Paper 1 just with that talent alone.
Each essay type requires specific structures and rules that are likely to be penalised in national exams if not adhered to…
16 years old
14 years old
7 to 12 years old
25 - 50 years old
30 to 50 years old
This completely shattered their dreams of enrolling into their school of choice. Even though their children did well for the other subjects, English pulled them down like an anchor which resulted in them having to give up on their dream junior college or polytechnic course…
However, I also know of other parents in the complete opposite scenario.
Their children were struggling a lot with English, barely managing to secure a pass in the secondary 3 End-of-Year exams.
Yet, when they were in secondary 4, they did weekly consultations with their English teacher and worked extremely hard to pull their grades up.
In the end?
They managed to secure B3 or better in their national exams.
Some in the previous cohort even credited this improvement as the main factor that allowed them to qualify for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) or for Nanyang Junior College (which is the top Non-IP linked Junior college in Singapore).
This would not have been possible had they not improved in English, the L1 subject that was always pulling their overall score down.
The biggest takeaway about secondary school English here…
As a proud parent of two children myself, I understand how you feel when you see your child underperforming in school, and feel that he or she has the potential to do better. You’ve seen your child shine in other activities before — whether it’s a hobby like playing the guitar or basketball, or even leadership roles in school activities. You know that your child can direct the same dedication into bucking up their academics. However, you seem helpless when it comes to helping them even if you wanted to.
The English Language Syllabus we parents learnt back in the days is completely different from the one our kids are learning now.
Meaning, many parents have no idea what their kids are supposed to be learning, and are even more clueless when it comes to tutoring their kids for English.
The situation just seems very bleak.
Having to entrust your child’s success solely into the hands of his or her English teacher in school, knowing very well that the teacher probably is responsible for over 100s of students in the school with a class size of almost 40 students as well, is not a very encouraging thought.
It’s not the teachers’ fault.
They too have 24 hours in a day, and they can only give so much time and attention to each individual student.
As parents, we just want the best for our kids.
We secretly despise the current “textbook style” education in Singapore, and pity our children for having to burn the midnight oil regularly to complete the mountain of homework assignments.
But at the same time, as much as we can’t bear to see our children suffer, we know that excelling in this system is necessary to open doors in the future…
To give our children more options…
The freedom to choose the courses and career paths that they have a passion for, instead of being forced to choose from a narrow pile of “unwanted” courses due to their ‘O/N’ Level score.
The last thing we want is that our children grow up to be depressed adults who hate their jobs, and see it as a massive source of unhappiness in their lives.
These are the 5 values in our Pentagon Values System
Students can only improve when they accept that they’re making mistakes.
Careless mistakes will also be minimised as students will be guided on how to pay precise attention to detail.
This is done through equipping students with the right frameworks to help them analyse situations logically – such is what will distinguish them from the rest of the pack.
Old fashioned hard work is then applied to overcome those shortcomings.
Instead of pushing blame, top students face their shortcomings head on.