Mandarin – Exercise the Brain
The brain is an amazing and complex organ in our human body. In kid-friendly language: the brain is the boss of the body. Just like our body, we need to exercise our brains as we need to exercise our body to maintain health.
To exercise our bodies, we can do from very light exercises like a regular 30 minutes walking exercise (210 minutes active time per week), to a higher intense exercise like running. But brain exercises? I like a quote I saw a long time ago: “The brain is a learning machine. To keep it strong, you must constantly learn new skills”. Casually attending a language class or a music lesson instead of actively participating in the lesson will not remould your brain.
In my class, from time to time, some boys would say: “It’s too hard, I can’t do it.” I have always told them: “Good, you’ve found it hard. Your brain is challenged by the material. Now, what can we do to resolve this problem? Tell me what you have done so far? Have you checked xxx? WHAT is your plan to solve this problem?”
Of course, there are always easy solutions in the corner, copying someone’s work; not handing in work; self-talk “I can’t do it”, etc. but I refuse to take the easiest path. Spoon-feeding is not one of my options. As a teacher and a parent, I firmly believe that we should not take the “Ah-ha” moment away from the children. It’s the moment when the children are most proud of themselves that they finally get it; it is the moment when they truly believe that they are capable of achieving something; it is the moment when they understand a concept and it is the moment when their brain makes connections. The joy of the moment is tremendous and so precious that we have no right to take it away from the children.
None of us like to see our children struggle, however, the ability to see the positive side of things and taking all opportunities to exercise the brain, is a life skill the boys need. Our job is not taking the struggle away from them. Be there with them, work out possible solutions with them, but don’t solve the problems for them. Trust their ability, aim high and let the brains do the exercise!
Eva Angel – Mandarin Teacher