How should parents choose weekend programs for their children?

A. Know the needs of your children:

There are three aspects:

(1) Counselling: They have problems in their school work and need a teacher to explain in more depth and help them with their work.
(2) Further study: They want to use their free time to gain more new knowledge or to learn faster in certain school subjects (for example: Math)
(3) Further development: They want to make good use of their time to develop their interest.

Parents need to understand their children’s individual needs and set up a learning goal for them.

B. What to look for when choosing an organization that provides these programs:

(1) Environment: Public schools provide the best learning environment for children. All our weekend classes are provided in public schools.
(2) Teacher Qualification: Teachers with a post-secondary degree or certificate of education in that subject can teach that subject more effectively to students. All our teachers either have a university degree or certificate in education.
(3) Principal’s Leadership: Experienced principals with training in education administration will definitely guarantee the quality of education in the school. Our Principals, Mr William Kwong and Ms Anita Fung are education professionals with nearly twenty years of experience in running Saturday schools in Toronto. They create and write their own curriculum, choose text books for students and give guidelines and suggestions to teachers. Therefore the quality of education is always improving in our school.
(4) Program Design:
A good program should have the following characteristics:
1. Difficulty level should match with students’ learning ability. It should not be too easy or too difficult.
2. Every unit should start with the basics and continue in more depth, from visual to conceptual, concrete to abstract, so that students can understand easily.
3. Teaching material should cover a wide range of topics with a variety of examples and exercises so that it will not be boring to students.
4. The curriculum for each level should be designed according to what has been taught in the previous level so that students who are eligible to be promoted to the next level will find that there is a smooth transition and will not find it hard to cope with.
5. Homework should be designed according to what is taught in class so that students can do their homework independently after revision at home.
6. Evaluation Test results should accurately reflect students’ learning results.
(5) Class Allocation:
1. According to students’ academic level: Learning is more effective when students of the same level are put together in the same class. When one teacher has to teach a class of mixed level students, using different teaching materials at the same time, teaching effectiveness will be lowered.
2. It is more effective for a teacher to teach a class of same level students than a class of mixed level students. In our school, there are no mixed level classes.
(6) Class Time: Every lesson should at least include three sessions: revision, explanation and consolidation. It should take at least one hour and fifteen minutes for each lesson. For Grade 11 and Grade 12 classes, it should take at least two hours and forty-five minutes for each lesson in order to finish the curriculum in one semester.
(7) Reinforcement: Reinforcement will definitely increase students’ interest in learning. In our school, there is a prize giving ceremony at the end of each school year. Students who have attained good results are awarded with trophies, awards of excellence and certificates of merit. Throughout the year, teachers give verbal reinforcement to students whose work is well done and display their good work to the whole class for encouragement. Students are also encouraged to join competitions to increase their experience and a sense of achievement.
(8) Share the same goal with parents: Parents’ goal is to develop their children’s potential to their fullest. Our goal is to educate the next generation so that they can have great achievement in the future. We share the same vision with most parents. Our staffs are happy to keep in contact with our parents to let them know their children’s learning progress. When parents cooperate with the school, students will benefit the most and attain great success.