I have been contemplating whether to write this post, cause I’m afraid it will lead to some controversy. But I need a place to sort out my thoughts and that is one of the reason I’m blogging right? Anyway, I’m not some famous blogger, this blog post may go unnoticed, however, for some reason you manage to stumble on this post and is curious enough about whether you should spend a decent amount of money to listen to Wei Jian Hui (魏建惠）laoshi talk, then u can read on to find out more.
Last August (2015), Chubby and I attended a parenting workshop at Suntec. One of the speakers that day was Wei Jian Hui laoshi. During the workshop, he share with us some very interesting view points about parenting. He emphasize on teaching less and let the kids explore more. This is because in our modern world, information is just a click away. So by just forcing the kids to learn information, we are restricting their creativity and the ability to innovate. And many parents “came forward” to share how they have benefited from his talks and how 赏识教育 (appreciating your child) is good. Unfortunately, the workshop is a short 1 hour sharing so he wasn’t able to share more. And the organizers encourage us to sign up for his seminar that is held in Mar 2016.
So after some deliberation we finally sign up for the two day seminar at SGD1800 for two pax. Fast forward to March and I was actually quite excited that I’m finally going. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as what I expect. I left the seminar after half a day and didn’t return the following day. Read on to find out why. but to be fair, I will first share the positive things I take away from the short half day there.
聞.思.修 (Know, Think, Act)
Wei Jian Hui laoshi is advocating 聞，思，修。聞 is knowing aka knowledge. 思 is to think and digest the knowledge. And lastly 修 is applying these knowledge after thinking thru. Sounds very logical to me. He explains how education system in America and Japan is very different to that of China. For example in Japan when they learn a out World War II, unlike China the kids are not tested about when and where, what happened. But rather using the WWII as a case study to do forward thinking like if China and Japan is to go to war again, what will be the main causing factor. And who will win. So seeking knowledge is not the end means, it’s the process to help in analytical thinking.
孩子是什麼 (What is a child)?
In order for us to guide the child, we must first know what is a child. For example, in planting, we will just sow the seeds and water it. There is no need to pull it to make it grow. Similar with children we must understand what is a child so we do not take unnecessary step which burden us and is not appreciated. So to him, a child is an individual person with their own mind. An interesting point but not really helpful as there is no clear elaboration. Or maybe I left too early to know the answer.
不要要求孩子考100分 (Do not request your kid to score 100 marks).
He advocates that there is no need for the kids to score full marks in an exam with “correct” answer. Cause getting full marks only means that your kids memorize well, it does not show an understanding of the knowledge gain. So it is more important to look at the answers and know how or why your kid answer in that way.
So indeed in the short morning of about 3 hours he brought up some interesting points. Unfortunately (for us), there were stronger factors that make us walk out.
Before Wei Jian Hui laoshi came up to teach, the beginning of class was conducted by a facilitator named 亚南 from China. She wanted the class to appear on time and not let the phone ring during the class. These are reasonable request, but the way she put across was just overbearing. And then came the unreasonable request of no walking about during “lesson” time. Not even to toilet. You are only to leave your seat during break time. And using her overbearing tone, she makes it sounds like we are small children. Besides, this totally contradict with what they are advocating of allowing kids to explore on their own. We thought we were the only ones who felt that way, but apparently a few other couples also went up to the facilitator to express their displeasure. Maybe it’s her first time in SG, she fail to understand that we are adults who pay money to attend the course. It may sounds like we are obnoxious or arrogant but please at least give us some respect. We are not kids.
Too long winded
Maybe because I’m a typical Singaporean. Time is very precious. Especially weekend time with my family. Having to sacrifice the time to attend the seminar, I hope for more concise information and examples. Unfortunately, Wei Jian Hui laoshi goes around in bushes and sometime lost the focus. An example was on the not seeking for full marks. He gave examples after examples of how the teacher “correct answer” may not be the only correct one. His example was very effective in highlighting, I think most people if not all in the class understood. However, he went on to give more other examples. I thought more time could be save if he knows when to stop and control his examples.
Need to attend more other seminar
Half way through the morning session, he not so subtly mention that we should motivate our child and we can learn more in his seminar to be conducted in May. It makes me wonder how many more seminar I need to attend in order to really understand this 賞識教育. Well, I’m not saying I expect myself to know it well with just two days, but the least is to convince me that this is worth pursuing before you mention more.
Not preaching what they teach
Before the class started, the facilitator collected a list of questions we have so as to let us empty our thoughts and we can then listen to what Wei laoshi have to say. She also mention to put aside our differences in view and listen. Unfortunately they didn’t do the same themselves. Wei laoshi was asking what do we think is the basis of education. It’s actually a very broad question which I don’t really know what he is asking. The reply that Chubby gave was that the end of education is to allow kids to be able to decide what is right and wrong independently. On hearing “right and wrong”, he put chubby down and mention that our kids will suffer. And he went on to solicit his “correct” answer of “love”. First he told us there was no perfect answer, yet he is seeking for one. Second, he told us to put down our differences but he didn’t. Upon hearing “right and wrong”, he jumped into conclusion. And during the question of what is a child, he also went around and solicit answers, but proceed to put them down. Yes maybe I’m egoistic, but I thought it could be more properly handled. If he ask us not to put down a child answer, then why is he putting us down?
Information are available in the Internet
This is what he told us before the lesson start. And I think it’s very true. And maybe this is the reason why I walked away from the seminar. The points he is trying to bring across is not new, and certainly available on the Internet. If he is unable to give us a more personalize info, I could read up more by myself and choose what is relevant. So instead of spending my precious weekend time with them, I rather spend it with my kids. So to cut my lost (time), we decide to leave during lunch break.
I’m not writing this in spite. I just want to share my point of view on this seminar. I think Appreciating your child concept has a lot of potential, but is whether you want to part with your time and money to attend the course.