Star Student: Jack

Today we’re delighted to congratulate Jack for winning the Star Student award! 

Since joining the Star Mentor program in May 2020, Jack has been studying with us for almost a year. 

Today, Jack’s mother shares with you their experiences and highlights from the Star Mentor program so far. 

What progress has Jack made since joining the Star Mentor program?

Having previously studied at a public kindergarten, Jack is now in the fourth grade at a bilingual school in Shanghai. We were worried initially that his English level would be too low, because when he first started elementary school he could barely recognise the 26 letters of the alphabet.

This lack of foundation meant he almost failed every school test, and also spent significantly more time than other students completing his homework. The encouragement and encouragement from the English teacher to him stimulated his motivation and confidence in learning. 

However, with support from his Star Mentor, Jack’s most recent Star reading test score was G8.9 [equivalent to a native speaking student his age]. Now in the fourth grade, he has transferred to the English medium program at school.

In the past year, Jack’s most obvious changes are mainly in two aspects: speaking and reading. He is more confident in oral expression, able to use a kind of critical thinking to consider questions and express his own ideas, instead of just answering questions. He has also improved his reading ability, not only reading a story, but also comparing reading and appreciating different books together, being able to figure out the author’s writing style and intentions, and be able to express one’s own views. 

What books does Jack like to read with his mentor?

Jack likes popular science books very much. Before going to elementary school, he was nicknamed a walking animal encyclopedia! He memorised the physiological characteristics, habits, hunting methods, and living environment of many animals. 

The foreign popular science books are particularly interesting for him. As they have a large amount of specialist words, he accumulated a lot of scientific vocabulary and expanded his English reading range.

What makes the Star Mentor program special?

The Star Mentor themed lessons are all quite unique, for example, sports or festival cultures around the world. Focusing on a single topic for a longer period of time leads to enhanced learning through repetition and expansion. Over time, there will be a natural accumulation of knowledge and vocabulary in this field, which in turn helps him improve his understanding of the content and develop thinking skills. 

For this reason, I became particularly attached to the Star Mentor program. When my friend first recommended it, Jack was reading Harry Potter. I saw a small lesson package themed around the Harry Potter books and movies. From then on, Jack’s tutor Meg guided him from reading Harry Potter, to learning about Greek mythology and global challenges. When children study things they are interested in, they will be excited, comfortable, relaxed and satisfied, so that they can learn more with less effort.

This type of topic-based and customised extended learning can also help children build deeper understanding and connections. For example, when the epidemic broke out, we read all kinds of content about bacterial and viral diseases. Jack really enjoyed his Greek mythology classes, so we took this beyond class by visiting related museums. All kinds of related information come together, like beads are connected into a necklace, developing a deeper understanding and personal perspectives. This method also stimulates children’s desire to explore new areas, broadens children’s reading range, develops unique ideas, and improves critical thinking.

What has Jack particularly enjoyed learning?

Recently, Jack has started to read Shakespeare with his Star Mentor. He even joined the school’s musical theater troupe this semester and acted as the lead actor. This is the influence of role models, which can inspire children’s interest. 

Now Jack owns a collection of Shakespeare’s works. He regards it as a treasure, and he recommends it whenever a friend comes. Jack’s desire to learn under the guidance and help of his Star Mentors is incredible. I hope he can persist in such enthusiasm and be grateful for the good teachers he met along the way.

How are Jack’s Star Mentors special?

Jack has had 3 mentors so far. The first mentor was Meg, who taught Jack topics such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, history, mythology, and global events. Meg not only helped Jack broaden his horizons, but also helped him to think more analytically about questions.

Jack’s second mentor was Valerie. Valerie is more rigorous and serious as a tutor, with a more professional approach. Jack liked her very much. Valerie had her own methodology in inspiring children’s critical thinking and encouraging children to think more independently. Valerie guided Jack to think more comprehensively and deeply, then integrate the information before outputting it to convince others. This also stimulated Jack’s interest in debating while inspiring him to take more initiative in learning. 

After she stopped teaching, we met tutor Jack. Jack initially attracted me because of his professional background in English literature and teaching experience. From our first meeting, I discovered that Jack is really a very serious and responsible teacher. For example, Jack would read material in advance, prepare some class content and relevant background knowledge, and then use his own method to guide Jack in each 30-minute class. Gradually, Jack began to introduce literary devices and encouraged Jack to deepen his analysis of texts. At first, I was a little worried whether it would be too difficult because the professional terms were beyond even what Jack was learning in Chinese at school. However, he made excellent progress.

Jack faced a sudden large number of English writing assignments after transferring to the fourth grade. He couldn’t finish everything in class, and it took a long time at home. But by this semester, his progress is obvious. He uses some of the literary techniques he has learned from Jack, such as metaphors, exaggeration, repetition, parallelism, and so on. At our recent parent meeting, the English teacher read aloud his classroom writing exercises for me with passion, saying that he is a very poetic and creative little writer. 

Let’s hear some congratulations from Jack’s Star Mentors!

I was thrilled for Jack when I heard that he is this months Star Student! He is a diligent, inquisitive and highly intelligent young man. He always comes to our lessons ready to learn and with great enthusiasm. I thoroughly enjoy the work that we do together and the productivity of our classes. Keep up the hard work and many congratulations for this well-deserved reward Jack.

Jack


I am very excited for Jack. Jack is curious, self-driven, open to feedback, excited about learning, and talented not only academically but also artistically. His mom does such a great job supporting his learning, both by encouraging him to pursue his different interests as well as arranging for him to learn about complex and difficult moments from world history. It was such a great experience working with Jack, and I am pleased to congratulate him for being awarded Star Student!

Valerie


Good work Jack! I loved how chatty you were in classes. You always gave detailed answers and gave the questions a lot of thoughts. I enjoyed teaching you and your enthusiasm and effort was appreciated. Congratulations!

Meg

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