Latest news and updates for our Kuala Lumpur Young Learner parents - July 2016

Storytelling

Our resident storyteller, Keats, will be back again in week 2 to tell stories to our YLs. The stories are appropriate for PP1-PP3 students and space is limited, so participation will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Storytelling will take place on the Ground Floor near room 17 from 1:20 on the 16th and 17th July.

Wise Owl

Wise Owl is back for Primary Plus!

Do you want to encourage your child to practice their writing? Osborne the Owl is waiting for their letters. Collect a letter template from near the library, write a letter to Osborne the Owl and he will reply to your child in 2 weeks.

Last year we had a fantastic response to the Wise Owl project and it helped many of our younger students get excited about writing in English. So grab a letter template and get writing today!

Digital Pen Pals

An exciting project which we are working on at the moment is to set up a Digital Pen Pals project for Upper Primary students.  This will involve the students communicating with other students around the world to find out more about life in their countries.  So far we have a number of countries eager to take part, including countries from Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East.  We are in the final stages of choosing the best start date for everyone – so stay tuned for more details coming soon!

Fancy Dress competition winners

A big thank you to all those who took part in our annual Fancy Dress competition at the end of June. It was great to have so many little superheroes around the building to keep us all safe!

The winners haven’t been decided yet, but stay tuned to find out more soon.

Seniors Photography competition winners

A big congratulations to our winners Adam and Nida who won first and second prize in our photography competition! Their wonderful photos really did make us wish we were watching the sunset rather than sitting in the office.

Seniors Song writing competition for term 3

Following on from the success of our Travel Blog and Photography competitions, this term we will be launching a song writing competition for our teen students. The theme will be around the Olympics, and the competition will launch on 30th July.  Stay tuned for more details!

British Council Global Art Competition 2016

Don’t forget! The Global Art Competition is underway and the closing date for entries is 7th August.  Malaysia has traditionally done very well in this competition (The picture here is last year's global winner - from Penang!) – and we are hoping that this continues this year!

The theme for this year is “The National Animal or Flower from your country”. 

The three winners (one from each age group) will then be entered into the global young learners’ art competition.This will be held in September 2016. The three winning pictures and nine runners-up from the global competition will be displayed in 2017 calendar, other promotional materials and on the British Council website.

Primary Plus online portal

The activities for Topic 5 are live on the Primary Plus portal and students can log in and start them at any time. The activities are a great way to practise the language covered in class and the students can earn badges for completing the activities, then unlock the Shaun the Sheep videos to watch online. Go to https://primaryplus.britishcouncil.org/login/ and help your child log in today.

Parent workshops

This term, the theme of our parent workshops is Issues in English literacy and is appropriate for parents of Primary Plus students or students with issues in reading and writing in English. Workshops take place in room 17 from 1:20-2:00 and space is limited so we recommend parents arrive on time to get a seat. There will also be a film showing in room 18 for children to watch while parents attend the talk.

The first parent workshop, which will be in week 4 (30 and 31 July) will on the topic of Why learning to read and write in English can be difficult for children and will discuss some of the features of the English language that can make learning literacy difficult, particularly for children for whom English is a second language. Parents will leave the session with advice on how to encourage their child if they are having issues with reading and writing in English.

The second workshop, in week 8 (3rd and 4th September) will be on the topic of Supporting literacy development. In this workshop we will review some of the core ideas we learned in the first workshop and look at strategies that parents can use to help their child develop their English literacy skills.

Developing a growth mindset workshop summary

Continuing on our theme of Developing Resilient Learners this term, we looked at how children can develop a growth mindset in our second Parent Workshop of the term

What is a growth mindset?

Children with a growth mindset feel that they are in control of their learning. They feel that if they work hard they can improve their skills and that failing presents an opportunity to improve. These children will persevere even when learning is hard and can have the patience to work towards a long-term goal, or, in other words, they can delay a long term goal. Children with a growth mindset will believe that their intelligence isn’t something that is fixed, but something that they can grow with hard work.

How can we develop a growth mindset in children?

  • Encourage independence in children: A growth mindset cannot develop unless a child feels in control of their own learning, so encouraging independence is an important first step.
  • Be thoughtful with praise: Rather than praising a child’s intelligence with phrases like “You did well in the test. You must be smart”, focus on the work they have put in; “You did well in the test. You must have worked hard”.
  • Focus on long-term goals: Help your child focus on long-term goals, rather than short-term ones. But rather than focusing on a test (e.g. the UPSR) focus on something your child would like to achieve. For example, if your child wants to be an engineer, help them find out what an engineer does and what skills they need so that they can focus on working towards developing these.
  • Help them develop patience: Patience is a skill that must be learned. Find ways to help your child become patient every day. For example, if you are busy cooking or cleaning and they want attention, ask them to wait until you are finished (unless it is an emergency, of course!). Or if they say they are bored, ask them to find a way to entertain themselves rather than giving them something to do. If they ask you for a new toy or something expensive, rather than just buying it for them, ask them to earn it by completing tasks over a period of time, e.g. keeping their room clean for a month, or doing all of their homework in a term without you having to ask them. Don’t tie this reward to academic performance, e.g. they can the reward if they get 100% in the test, as this won’t encourage a growth mindset.

Why develop a growth mindset?

There has been quite a bit of research into the mindsets of children and how this affects their academic achievements. Some of the most interesting points from this research are:

  • Children with a high academic ability may have a worse outcome in life than a student with average academic ability as they may not have developed the skills to work hard and persevere, and may give up earlier.
  • Overall, students with a growth mindset are more likely to achieve academically than equally intelligent children who do not have a growth mindset.
  • Children with a growth mindset, specifically perseverance, are also more likely to go on and achieve higher education levels and get a higher GPA than children without a growth mindset.
  • Developing patience in childhood can help children become teenagers that are more successful at school and are better able to manage frustration and stress.

References:

  • Dweck, C. et al., Academic Tenacity: Mindsets and skills that promote long term learning. Paper for the Gates Foundation
  • Duckworth, A.L. et al., Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term goals. Accessed from online journal 15th May 2010.
  • Williams, M. and Burden R.L., Psychology for Language Teachers, 2010, Cambridge University Press

And finally, did you know that...

  • The British Council and MiGHT (Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology) have worked together for two years to send Malaysian scientists to the prestigious Famelab competition during The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK. This collaboration has resulted in the Malaysian entry, Dr. Abhi Veerakumarsivam, a geneticist from UPM being crowned the winner. The British Council is excited to be part of this project and in supporting Malaysian scientists to become leaders in communication for their field. 
  • The British Council has supported the professional development of Malaysian teachers through the ELTDP project in rural Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. The British Council provided in-school support for hundreds of Malaysian English teachers and encouraged the sharing of good teaching skills through the ELTDP Symposium, held in Kuching, Sarawak in 2013 and 2015. You can see more information about the symposium here. 
  • The British Council offers tailor-made courses for companies and organisations looking to improve the English skills of their employees. If you'd like to find out more about what the PDC can do for your organisation, you can find more information here: https://www.britishcouncil.my/english/courses-companies