A parent shares his perspectives on how he supports his child in exams. (No, it’s not about hitting the books together.)
Exams are milestones in a student’s education journey. But in the child’s quest to strive for his or her best, stress often manifests as a by-product – sometimes from the environment (parents, peers, teachers) or from his or her own desire to “do better”.
How can parents best help their children? We spoke to Mike Ang, an executive member of Queenstown Primary School’s parent support group who has a son taking his PSLE this year, for his insights.
See the bigger picture
“I don’t consider that I did well in the PSLE myself. I spent five years in the normal stream in a neighbourhood school. But I am where I am and there is no shame in that. I’m proud that I am gainfully employed and able to support my family. So that sorts of sets my expectations for my child.”
“The PSLE is the first national-level exam a child takes. Naturally, there will be some form of stress. My approach to helping my child has been to let him see the big picture: in his academic journey, he will have to take his PSLE followed by many other milestone exams in secondary school and post-secondary institutions. Apart from these milestone exams, there will be other routine exams. So, the PSLE is but the start of a long series of exams. This helps to set the tone and context, and allows my child to visualise that the road to education is a long one. The PSLE is not the only exam he has to sit for. Once that is done, he will move on.”
Work hard, play hard
“On the home front, while my wife is responsible for his academics, I am in charge of the fun department. I make sure there is time spent outside of the house and away from the [academic] grind. It could be as simple as walking our dogs, a trip to the shopping mall or swimming. I feel that outdoor activities are necessary distractors and stress busters. In line with the “work
hard, play hard” mantra, I will make sure that we have a good time spent away from books. But when it’s time to study, we will hit it hard.”
Celebrate the effort, not the results
“Our way to celebrate the end of any phase is to go out for a nice meal together, be it after the semester assessments, the PSLE oral exams or the prelims. As we believe in celebrating the effort and not the results, we will always go out right after the exams – regardless of the outcome – to show appreciation of my son’s [hard] work. My wife and I believe that having a good attitude is more important than the final results. We try to drive home this point on all fronts.”
“My son’s teachers have been fantastic in helping the students prepare for the PSLE. We keep in touch with the teachers and their feedback allows us to understand issues at hand or address areas for improvement – so that we can work together to support our child constructively and positively. The child stands to benefit when parents work with the school in a mutually-respectful and trusted partnership.”
Enjoy this time
“I would like to urge fellow parents to not see the PSLE as the end-all but the beginning of your child’s learning journey. Support your child and celebrate the end of yet another phase in your child’s life regardless of the results. Give your child a memorable childhood and let him enjoy the process of growing up – for it will no sooner be gone before you know it!”
For more tips on how one can partner with schools to support a child in his or her learning journey, click