Exploiting students’ potential

I’m sure Mrs Jessie Ching has made a major difference in the lives of her students & ex students. Based on the article below, she’s the type of person who knows how to do things differently and exploit the individual human potential.

It was 3 years ago at a major academic event when I heard the speech from someone in the highest echelons of our local education system on how there was a need to expand on human capital. Money is of course a major ingredient to bring in all the expertise and infrastructure but without knowledge and proper understanding, all we’ll get are ‘robots’ who might be able to tell you the exact amount of rainfall in millimeter’s for the town of Jelebu in any given year or that the actual value of ‘pi’ is 3.1415926535 instead of just 22/7. But in actual fact, these ‘robots’ that we produce might not have soft skills or that personal human touch required to be more than just an ‘admin executive’.

On another aspect, they might be smart and obtain a high paying job  but might lack social skills. Thus, they might be just way too busy to spend time with old friends from school who to them might not be ‘important’ at this point of time.

But again, its those who see  not only the potential of others but way beyond that who will reap the fruits of success in life.  To Mrs Jessie Ching, I would like to have coffee with you one day and see what it is you do that gives you that ‘magic touch’.

She transforms rough diamonds to shining gems

YIP Jee Cheng, or Mrs Jessie Ching, 39, coaches her pupils in Primary Six class at Mayflower Primary to sterling performances.

Last year, every pupil in her class scored straight As.

Yip has a knack for spotting talent and potential. To her, the secret lies in understanding a child.

She tries to know them well – where they spend their time and what they do when they’re not in school.

Yip (left) getting her pupils to act out a scene in a picture composition writing lesson so that their writing becomes two-dimensional. Here, the pupils dramatise a scenario where a lorry driver meets with an accident, spilling the ducks he was transporting all over the road. — ST/ANN

She also makes herself available for chats with her pupils during recess.

Pupils share their blogs with her and she regularly reads their online diaries. She gets them to write a weekly journal on topics like “my family” or “my best friends” to find out more about their lives and what they think.

“Sometimes they write two pages, and I write double that,” she laughs.

She also gets them to choose their dream secondary school and fill in the application booklet at the start of Primary Five. She revisits the booklet after every test to show her pupils how much work they need to put in to reach their goal.

“This is to help them get in touch with reality,” she says.

She is also in close touch with their parents – they all have her cellphone number – and works with them to plan a timetable for the pupils.

“I get pupils and parents to agree on things like how many hours pupils should spend online and how many should be devoted to work.”

With these methods, she has created many success stories.

One pupil who excelled in Primary Five slacked in mid Primary Six. She showed him the class rankings and how he was lagging behind his friends, and also sent him to an external mathematics competition where he had a chance to shine and be motivated.

He bucked up and made it to Hwa Chong Institution.

Yip also spotted the leadership potential in a quiet girl, Carolyn Chan, in Primary Five two years ago. Carolyn was quiet but charismatic and showed a mature understanding of situations.

Yip spent time talking to her and encouraging her. Carolyn went on to become head prefect and netball captain.

Carolyn says: “During her Maths lesson, Mrs Ching used strategies to encourage independent thinking. Instead of giving us homework, she got us to set questions for each other to solve.

“I stopped hating Mathematics.”

“She also sensed I was shy, so, in stages, she asked more and more of me in terms of participating in discussions,” adds Carolyn.

“She believed in me and gently pushed me to face what I found hardest to do – speak in public.”

Asked about her secret in spotting and nurturing talent, Yip says she sees herself as a facilitator drawing out solutions from the pupils themselves.

She said: “Children are brilliant these days. Some may not be academically inclined but that doesn’t mean they cannot think. For a lot of children, the potential is there – it just takes someone to recognise it.” – ST/ANN

2 Responses to “Exploiting students’ potential”
  1. Penny Ching says:

    Hey, I can arrange that coffee drinking session when I’m in Singapore! I’m Mrs. Ching’s sister-in-law, living in the US now. I was googling and read your website. I tried to cut and paste this article to e-mail to the rest of the family but couldn’t do so. I guess I have to add the link to your website for them to read. Have a good day!

  2. DrNaz says:

    Hi Penny !

    So wonderful to hear from you. Here is my email : drnaz926@gmail.com
    Please keep in touch & I look forward to that coffee session. I will however be in Brunei from 14 to 24 of this month for some work.

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