Halloween in Beijing & "Visuals"

Rather tame this year... made jack-o-lanterns with four different groups of excited 7and 8-year olds during evening classes.  Sat in a circle to read Halloween poems and practice spooky voices.  All good fun, but found I was totally tired out ...

Is Ethan ambidextrous?

That little piano-playing genius, Ethan Bortnick, is he ambidextrous?  Piano is much easier for those who are.  So is being a genius, I suspect...

Who's teaching basics now?

Who’s Teaching Basics Now? While surfing teaching job possibilities on various websites before accepting my present posting here in Beijing, I came across an interesting phenomenon. An increasing number of teaching ads are from professional...

Teachers - the "St. Peter Complex"

The other day I listened to a young teacher proclaim triumphantly that she tells four of her struggling students (and I painfully quote verbatim)  "Out!  And don't come back until you can...!"  She sends them to a teacher with even less training. ...

Reversals and Ambdexterity in China

(To get the context, see "Jean's Art" in My Photos...) It's something I'm starting to think of as the "Jean Syndrome".   She just turned six and is absolutley plagued with reversal difficulties.  In only ten months of schooling, this young...

This Year in Hong Kong

Wonderful week in Hong Kong this year.  Once again stayed in the hilltop Tao Fong Shan Christian Center overlooking ShaTin in the New Territories. "Ascension House" is temproarily closed, but this Lutheran Community were kind enough to provide lodging...

Bill Gates IS ambidextrous!

Well, well, I found it!  In a Time magazine article: http://www.time.com/time/gates/cover0.html ! Surprised that I haven't found it before; suspected it; wanted to use him as an example.  Now I can. Once again exceptionality and ambidexterity...

Xi'an - Whattalotta Warriors - and More!

I joined a tour group to see Xi'an, and discovered I was the only member.  A  guide and driver at my personal disposal.  It was an auspicious beginning.  The guide's name was "Xi" and mine is "Ann".  Along the side of the highway on the way from...

To Hong Kong with Bags

There I was hauling two large suitcases plus two heavy backpacks up a steep jungle path in the dark, trying not to think about wild monkey attacks, wondering what on earth I did in my past lives to deserve this...   This was Hong Kong.  Well, the...

Laterality, LD, and Genius?

(I originally posted this article in January  2003 on the Learning Disabilities Resource Community website:  www.ldrc.ca )    For months I wandered around the halls of the International School muttering about 'mixed dominance'. After more than thirty...

Pre-School parents in China

Okay, I'm fed-up tonight.  The mother of the most capable kid we have came in tonight and was all upset that her daughter is running a fever.  Our fault, according to Mom, because we ran the air-conditioner in the sweltering heat this week.  Now...

ESL Teachers in China...

Geez, someone may come gunning for me after what I am about to write, but I'm having a particularly bad day with reports to finish and packing to do before I head back home to Canada from Beijing. I'm in no mood to tolerate stupidity! What is it...

Alzheimer's and Ambidexterity?

Every now and then I check on what's available about lateral dominance on the web.  This popped up a couple of weeks ago: We conducted a case-control study to assess possible factors associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) with 70 clinically...

Talent in a "Hopeless Case"

Geez it's nice when these moments occur.  We've worked with almost-five-year-old Jerry for almost eight months and were beginning to think he just didn't have a hope.  He could carry a tune, though.  That seemed to be his only really solid skill.  (I...

Reluctance to assess in China

This one's about a 5-year-old I'll simply call LOUDboy, 'cause that's what he is.  The decible level goes through the roof when he's in the room.  In this apartment-school with walls that echo, he took a lot of getting used to.  On the very rare...

Eyesight and Early Education in China

So the parents of the kid who can't seem to hold visual focus for more then 2 seconds did take their son to a  local specialist here in Beijing and they were told that his vision has deteriorated during the past year.  They think it's the school's...

from an ESL Pre-School in Beijing

Didn't intend to be so glib with my "heavy" comment about the earthquake. in my last post. The scale of this disaster is monumental; I'm sure the numbers will keep mounting over the weeks.  So much grief just boggles the mind! Local radio keeps...

"Western Education" in the East

Most Chinese parents who come to us with their 4/5/6-year-old claim to want a "Western" education along with the  chance to learn English before starting Grade 1.  To them this seems to boil down to "taking the pressure off" and "having more fun"!  But...

Visual Memory, Asian Kids, "Intelligence"

Boy, these kids are bright!  They're only 5 or 6 and many are already reading at an early Grade 1 level in English.  Heck, one little guy - 5 1/2 - excels in absolutley everything!  Excellent printing, spelling, pronunciation, generally good English...

Simple math aid for kids

So, over the years, by talking to a number of young kids (5 -10 years of age) who "can't do math", I've come up with some manipulative material that really seems to help.  I've been producing it by hand and it's a time-consuming task.  I think it's...

At last - Identical twins!

Both are five; both exhibit some learning problems - NOT identical - one has poor pencil control; the other has attention problems.  The trick is to make sure I have correctly distinguished one from the other as I make notes... it's taken me three...

Teachers just don't get it!

Strange that someone my age should be ranting about young people not keeping up with the times...but!  Teachers STILL don't get it.  In spite of all we now know about brain function and eye/ear and muscle group functions, they still label children in...

Brain Differences and Race

Well, now that we can identify dyslexics as people whose brains function differently (according to MRI studies by Berninger, Shaywitz and many others), I wonder just how long before someone finds significant differences in brain function between racial...

Importing Halloween

So who'd have thought it?  Traipsing through the streets of Beijing with nine kids on a rope singing Halloween songs and chanting "Trick or Treat". When we tired of that we did "Old MacDonald" - it's always good for a full block. When I have joined the...