Tips and strategies to help improve English exam results
My key message to parents is to EMPOWER your child with CHOICES - that means make them WANT to learn and have PASSION for learning. This is not easy but it can be done easily with a change in attitude.
I have worked with 4 year olds who can make choices and be reponsible. It may take a while but it is possible and will fuel their enthusiasm and confidence.
Practical ways to achieve this:
How to Handle Exam English Skills practice
What NOT to say:
- You must do these exercises now.
What to say:
- Let's set a time together for you to do homework/practice.
- Which timer would you like to use?
- Make a timetable with your child for practice (and homework).
- Let your child make decisions (with guidance) for example on Monday do a tense exercise, on Tuesday a prepositions one and so on.
- Stick the timetable (it could be a chart) on the wall.
- Choose materials that are suitable. My exam practice materials are all designed to match the elite syllabus. See here for information.
- Beware of materials in bookstores that model incorrect English or are designed for other curriculums.
- Give your child access to a timer (e.g. on the computer) - let them choose the sound - make it fun - like a game.
- Always use positive praise - not negative criticism all the time.
How to Encourage Reading
What NOT to say:
- You must read this book tonight.
- If you don't read, you won't learn anything.
- You never read enough.
What to say:
- When would you like to spend time reading?
- Which book would you like to read?
- Shall we put Chinese books on one shelf and English ones on another?
- Shall we download some e-books and see which look interesting.
- Let's make a timetable for reading English and Chinese books.
- What did you like about the book?
- Never make reading seem like a chore (something bad). It is GUARANTEED to make your child hate reading.
- Do you read yourself? Set a good example. Young children copy their parents.
- Choice is very important in reading.
- Treasure time you can spend with your child reading.
- Make use of technology nowadays.
Other general tips:
- Make sure your child is familiar with the format of exams and assessments at school.
- Increase your child's general exposure to English.
- Never force your child - use an encouraging parenting style.
- Empower your child through choices.
- Read the article Aim for As I had published in a Hong Kong magazine about strategies which helped my son achieve 10As in his public exams (for secondary school children).
- Encourage your child and give LOTS of praise.
"I am soooooo touched by the thoughtfulness and recognition that you bestowed upon Anthony. I have to say your love and dedication for students is unfathomable, and I can see God's grace in how you steer your students through their challenges, pursuits and most importantly, difficult times."
-Edna (Parent of 3 students)
"Education is not about filling a bucket, but lighting a fire!"
- William Yeats