Star Student: Paolo

 

Congratulations Paolo for winning the Star Student award! Today, Paolo’s mother shares with you their experiences and highlights from the Star Mentor program so far. 

How has Paolo developed since joining the Star Mentor program?

Paolo is currently studying in the second grade of primary school at an international school in Shanghai. Except for Chinese and Mathematics, the school teaches entirely in English. When he first enrolled, the biggest challenge was that his classmates had much better English than him (Paolo only started learning English two years ago). He was very shy and did not dare to speak. 

For me, the greatest change in Paolo’s six months of studying with the Star Mentor program is the improvement of his self-confidence. Paolo is now a very active and confident child in class, who will take the initiative to answer questions and participate in discussions. From not daring to speak, he is now proactively engaging in class and able to take the lead in conversations.

What has Paolo particularly enjoyed studying with the Star Mentor program?

Paolo spends half an hour every day studying with the Star Mentor program. Starting with “The Wizard of Oz”, he has continued to focus on intensive guided reading of English children’s books.

Paolo is a particularly imaginative child and loves to come up with his own stories. He recently discussed his imaginary city with various characters, vehicles and a magical ship with his mentor Tayla, and has been inspired to write his own story. He writes a little every day, gradually writing a lot!

Even though his English expression can still be improved, the content is very rich and creative. In this way, learning English with the Star Mentor program is more interesting and exciting – allowing him to pursue his own passion.

What has been Paolo’s greatest achievement?

Tutor Meg recently suggested that Paolo could start reading “Harry Potter” – at the time, I couldn’t believe that he would be able to read such a challenging book. However, after trying a class together he received excellent feedback and was keen to continue reading with Meg’s support. I couldn’t believe that Paolo was able to achieve this within just six months! 

I would emphasise though that such progress is not achieved overnight. Language learning must be accumulated over time, and changes are not observed quickly. Simple improvements do not mean that the child has truly risen to a higher level. As a parent, you need to have a certain amount of patience and give your child space and time to improve.

What is special about the Star Mentor program?

In my eyes, the Star Mentor program is more personalised and niche. This kind of individualised support and teaching cannot be provided by large companies with standardised products. In my opinion, it is so important for children’s education to be differentiated and personalised, because every child is different. By offering one-on-one classes with mentors who adapt to each student, the Star Mentor program is very unique.

How are Paolo’s mentors special?

Paolo’s first mentor was Grace, and they studied together for a long time. Grace is a very rigorous teacher, yet her rhythm is very friendly for beginners. Grace definitely helped Paolo organise his English study and focus on the right track. The first book that Mentor Grace helped Paolo to read was “The Wizard of Oz” – and after that he was hooked! They read many books together, such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and more. 

Since Grace returned to university, Paolo now has two new mentors: Meg from Monday to Thursday, and Tayla from Friday to Sunday. These two mentors have different styles but work well together. Meg is a mature and experienced teacher. Her classes are relatively serious and rigorous with a very clear purpose and structure. If Paolo goes off track, she will definitely help him refocus quickly! When Paolo studies with Meg, he knows to study seriously and is committed to improving his English skills.

Tayla is a completely different type of mentor, who Paolo sees more as a big sister – she is great at inspiring children’s enthusiasm! The relationship between her and Paolo is more like friends, as they discuss many interesting topics and have a very warm atmosphere during class. Tayla loves to listen to Paolo’s stories and encourages him to express his creativity. From my perspective as a parent, children need such an environment where they can express their ideas freely.

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

Paolo was always very enthusiastic in his classes, which really impressed me as we had lessons everyday and he was always very focused and ready to contribute. I was also so amazed at how quickly he could pick up new words, as well as the speed with which he understood the text, especially as we were reading texts far beyond what children his age in England would be able to understand.
Well done Paolo! I’m very proud of how far you came over the months I taught you and you thoroughly deserve to be Star Student!

Grace

Paolo is an amazing student, who is always ready to learn! In our sessions he aims to extend his knowledge based around his favourite subject “exploration”. Our recaps are always interesting because he uses vocabulary he’s just learnt and applies it to create his imaginary world. Most recently he designed an ocean liner (similar to the titanic) and talked to me in amazing detail about “The Lucky Lady” and it’s destination “Mouse Francisco”. I am always excited to teach Paolo and impressed with his ability and creativity at his age!

Tayla

Paolo has has been a perfect example of what we look for in our students. He turns up on time, fully prepared for the lessons. He uses the lesson vocab where possible, and is always willing to engage in a conversation. I have enjoyed every minute teaching Paolo and we have so much fun in our lessons!

Meg

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