Friday 24 November 2023

We persisted in HCL

PSLE results is released. I survive to tell this tale of why I didn't want my son to drop Higher Chinese Language (HCL). 

At the end of J2's P5 level, his Chinese teacher called me up, asking me to consider dropping him from the HCL subject. He wasn't doing well, failing, or barely passing it. I told the teacher to give him more time, till at least prelim. Not because I'm a stubborn Mum, or that I want to give him additional stress. There were just many reasons why I persisted on with him.


Firstly, Chinese is a language that is for life. Whatever learnt during HCL class will never be redundant. It is something that he can learn and apply in our daily course of life, or even for normal Chinese subject. No doubt, the paper formats are different, but what is the harm to knowing more Chinese vocabulary? Focus on the learning, much more than for exams.
Secondly, we don't do any tuition classes. His only extended days are during his CCA days, which is twice a week. Mondays, after school are for higher Chinese classes. No one else knows your child better than yourself. For mine, we know that days when he's back early, after school, he would very quickly rush through school and my work, then zoom off to watch TV or get on digital games. Mostly beyond an hour. I would rather school keeps him well occupied with meaningful activities and lessons, than getting on screens at home.
Thirdly, when your child's teacher sounds out concerns about your child's academics, you do have to do something about it. If you do not plan to do anything about it with your child, then perhaps, it really is wiser to heed the teacher's advice. I was insistent about not dropping HCL because I was determined to work out something with him. He was very much grudging that I didn't allow the option to drop. But I blame it on the freed up time for games and TV that was running through his mind. So here's what we did, we worked really hard together to pull the score up. I made him read compos after compos, memorise stunning and beautiful compo phrases, expressions and descriptions. We did past year papers, run through the common questions that were often tested in the comprehension sections, as well as, write and learn the hanyu pinyin of all the characters in HCL syllabus. I shared on Instagram story before, he gradually went from a single digit compo score to into the 30s. Sprinkled with much prayers, we really worked hard in sweat and tears. 
We relied very heavily on this series of Chinese handbook. We used them from P1 to P6, they're good and convenient with all characters, hanyu pinyin, 造句 etc. within the book. It's pegged to their textbook, 欢乐伙伴 syllabus. Get them here.   

Fourthly, in this new AL scoring system, you never know if HCL will be needed for school selection. If there's a tie in applicants vying for the same spot, Citizenship and HCL will give your child the posting advantage. Also, it's crucial when the score lies on the cut off points for SAP schools, mostly IPs or posting group 3. Never say never, because you really won't know what the choices ahead will be, or how the tables will turn. A look at the table below, if a child without HCL lies on the border of the COP, he will not have an added advantage to a child who has HCL, with Distinction or Merit. 
IP COP 2023
And of course, if it really is a struggle for your child in HCL, make a decision that most suits your family's dynamics. This is the decision we made, and I'm so glad we went from a pass to Merit, which is a huge achievement for him! And so, the son knows, every successful achievement comes with hard work, it's not by any stroke of luck, sitting by without any action plan. Mastering a language is always not an overnight magic. Given the alert a year ago, I felt I could use the remaining one year to boost him up for PSLE.
HCL Merit

Today, did we have to use HCL score to gain any school entry? No, we did not (seemingly). But it's no regrets that his Chinese language has improved so much! On the day he collected results, his Chinese teacher told him to Thank Mummy for his achievements. For that, I want to shamelessly take on much credits to it. I am very glad and thankful that it all turned out well.  

Read here too, how we managed to stay tuition free till P6 year. 

Congratulations to all P6-ers! Done well or not, always remember that hard work will pay off. All the best in the paths ahead. Parents, do always give them the unyielding love and support! 

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