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The Evolution of Humanity 

May 19th, 2017

人性的進化

 

Humans have existed on planet Earth for approximately 200,000 years, and it is fair to say that we Homo sapiens have come a long way from trying to discover the almighty wheel. Over the course of these 200,000 years, people have learnt from each other and discovered what works best for certain scenarios. For instance, a foreign chef travelling to Hong Kong to learn about authentic Chinese cuisine will discover cooking tips and tricks to help make his attempts all that more delicious.

人類在地球已經存在約20萬年,現代人已經有所進步。自人類存在至今,他們通過互相學習並發現最佳的生存方式。比如,一位外國廚師來到香港學習中國菜,這將有助提升廚師的烹飪水平,從而將食物做的更美味。

 

This example is certainly applicable across a vast spectrum of various industries and cultures around the planet. As a species, we have been able to develop new things that completely alter the way we go about our daily lives for the better. We can now live stream with our phones, talk to a friend thousands of kilometres away, our computers can process more data, and our cars can travel faster. With this level of rapid development happening all around us, some may ask what could possibly be improved next.

類似的例子也適用於目前整個地球的任何行業和文化領域。作為生物的一種,人類能夠不斷發掘新事物,並將日常生活水平不斷提升。我們現在生活中有電話,可以與千里之外的朋友交流,電腦也幫助我們處理更多數據,而汽車讓我們前進的更快。在社會的快速進步中,有些人可能會問,未來的人類還能在哪些方面有所進步。

 

The Evolution of Humanity

 

Education is no different. Schools have been around since 1635, and over the course of these centuries, societies have made an attempt to distinguish themselves. A nation’s education system is a key factor in this moulding process, as the youth of today are the future of tomorrow. 

而教育始終並未改變。學校在1635年左右產生,過去了幾個世紀之後,社會還在處於區分教育科目的階段。一個國家的教育體系至關重要,因為年輕人的今天將會成為社會的未來。

 

It is for these reasons that the newly established Chinese Academy Primary School (CAPS) aims to develop a truly unique curriculum based around the very best of East & West education. A key philosophy of CAPS is “To provide a platform for quality education which foster students to pursue excellence, and become global citizens.” Therefore, by utilising the very best of the East in terms of strong logic-based learning, combined with a heightened importance for all rounded character development from the West, students will be able to mature into open-minded, intellectually adept members of society.

最新建校的晉德書院致力於發展真正東西交融的教育,提供獨一無二的課程,學校的主要理念是“為學生提供優質教育平台,幫助他們追求卓越,成為世界公民”。因此,通過東方邏輯教育,加以西方人格培養,學生會逐漸成長為思想開放,可適應社會發展需求的優秀人才。

 

If you are interesting in finding out more about anything related to Chinese Academy Primary School, feel free to join us on Saturday (13th May 2017) for an exclusive event being held in the CAPS hall. Hear first-hand from CAPS principal Ms. Ramida Din about what it takes for children to succeed in a 21st century learning environment. For bookings, please e-mail [email protected].

如果你對晉德書院有興趣,可報名參加5月13日(星期六)的特別活動。晉德書院小組羅美寶將親臨現場,為各位解讀有關學校的更多細節,以及學生如何取得成功。預定座位請email至 [email protected].

 

By taking the most successful parts from a variety of sources, something truly remarkable can be constructed. Experience this with Norton House’s Summer Programme 2017, where the very best of international education from America, the UK, and China comes to your classrooms! Learn about what these powerful nations developed, and more importantly, how they work! How have these inventions shaped the way society operates and functions in the modern world?

只有豐富的教育資源,才能培育優秀人才。同時特邀各位體驗2017Norton House夏季課程,這裡有來自美國,英國及中國內地的先進教育!想更多瞭解這些國家?敬請報名參與,如在5月20日前報名,更可享受特別優惠!致電2972 2698 或WhatsApp 9077 2490 瞭解更多課程資訊!

 

Book your spot before May 20th for an early bird special! Call 2972 2698 or WhatsApp us at 9077 2490 for any enquiries.

 

What Is Education?

January 24th, 2017

教育到底是什麼?

What Is Education?

Education – a topic that people have debated over for centuries. What’s the best approach? How do we know when a certain method is working? Should education be tailored specifically to the learner? At Norton House, we believe in 4 simple steps that guarantee academic success and the most efficient way to develop students’ potential:
教育這個話題始終多次被人們討論,到底什麼才是最佳的教育方式?人們如何瞭解哪一種方式才真正有效?教育是否應該因材施教?在Norton House,我們始終堅持以下四種方式,來確保以最高效的方式開發學生潛能:

 

1) Education Should Be Tailor-Made 教育應當因材施教
It has come to the attention of education specialists in the 21st century that different people learn things in different ways. One popular theory, the VARK model, identifies four primary types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinaesthetic. Therefore while the knowledge being taught remains the same, the method in which it is taught strongly depends on the individual who has to learn the concepts and information.
21世紀的教育者們應當了解,針對不同的學生應採取不同的教育方式。有一個很流行的教育理論—VARK,分別利用視覺,聽覺等多種方式教導學生。即便教授的知識內容相同,教育者仍應該針對學生的背景和能力,採取不同的方式讓學生學習。

 

2) An Efficient System To Measure Progress 擁有完善而高效的系統測試學習進度
It is common for mainstream schooling systems to hand out student reports every quarter or so. However, when one takes the number of school months into account, we notice that student evaluation is not at the frontline of potential improvement methods. Therefore, teacher evaluations of students should be released on a monthly basis at the very minimum to ensure attention is paid to specific areas that need improvement. It is only through evaluation can we discover how to refine ourselves.
主流的學校體系,通常都會在每個季度審視學生的學習報告。儘管如此,很多學校的學習報告中,並沒提供幫助學生進一步提升的方法指導。因此,教師對於學生的評測,應當至少每個月進行一次,確保對學生應到提升的部分保持關注。

 

3) 21st Century Learning 21世紀的學習方法
Having a strong ability in the area of technology is regarded as the most sought after skill of the 21st century. Society is rapidly evolving into a world that is digital-based, and humanity has only been able to keep up with this demand through the implementation and development of technology. Those who find themselves having grown up with technology and are therefore digitally native, have a stronger chance of landing higher-paid and career-fulfilling jobs.
21世紀最需要擁有的能力,就是要掌握科技。目前的社會快速進步,不斷變成一個數碼化科技化的社會,人們需要不斷進步才能追上科技的浪潮。那些掌握科技技術的人,會擁有較強的競爭力及較豐厚的薪水。

 

4) Lateral Thinking Development 拓展發散思維
To excel in often notorious school subjects such as mathematics and the sciences, students must possess a strong logical foundation. By exercising this from a young age with carefully prepared logical development exercises (catered for certain age groups and levels), students will carry these essential academic and life skills into their adolescence and adulthood.
在學校學習數學或是科學等科目,學生必須擁有較強的邏輯思維能力。所以孩子應該在較小的時候,接受邏輯思維訓練,而類似的訓練,將使學生受益終生。

 

By following these four simple guidelines, students will be primed and ready for a successful future and fruitful academic career. By combining these elements, an all-round education and well-prepared intellectual mind will be developed, lasting you for a lifetime and ensuring you get ahead in life.
透過以上的教育方法,學生們不斷儲備知識和能力,在未來擁有成功的人生。這就是全方位教育的優勢所在,可以幫助學生終生學習,不斷開發潛力,提升能力,擁有卓越人生!

 

Why not have a look at how reading can improve your learning?

Millennials & Job Seeking!

January 13th, 2017

千禧一代搵工指南!

Millennials & Job Seeking!

Millennials – anyone born in the early 1980s up until the early 2000s, you have been officially categorised. Millennials, in a general sense, are digitally native and often enjoy being based in urban areas. So how can you use this to your advantage?
千禧一代就是出生在1980年至2000年的人。從一般人的感覺來看,這些人仍是生活在都市,但思想尚未成熟的一群人。但這一代人又有哪些優勢呢?

 

Despite the mainstream media drawing a picture of millennials as being lazy, narcissistic selfie-takers, and self-entitled, these opinions are often biased and negate some key future-career aspects that are currently, or soon will be invaluable to modern day businesses.
儘管媒體喜歡把千禧一代形容為懶散且自我的人,但這樣的描述也有些帶有負面的偏見,但或許就是這些人,將對現代商業社會創造無限價值。

 

So what are some key traits of millennials that are valuable to career-building and are often overlooked?
所以千禧一代有哪些主要特徵?他們的職業發展中最可貴的又是什麼?

 

1) One of the most recent, yet most-talked-and-studied-about generations to date: what the world holds and the way society will become is unknown. Only when a direction has been set in motion will we be able to see how things become. Several generations have existed before millennials, yet this remains the most studied – a sense of wonder surrounds these unique individuals. Companies like interesting people – don’t be a clone!
1) 最近關於千禧一代的觀點: 未來世界將變成如何無人可知,我們只知道未來或許將往某一個方向發展。千禧一代之前的幾代人,有時都有這樣的問題:就是人與之之間太過獨立而缺乏聯繫。公司更喜歡有趣的員工,不要太無趣!

 

2) Digitally native: The fact that millennials have grown up being immersed in digital technology will benefit them greatly in the job market. Businesses are transitioning online due to convenience, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness to name a few. Being proficient in digital software and coding is a definite bonus and most sought-after skillset in the 21st century. It is now a main mission in Hong Kong to encourage innovation, as can be seen at the Hong Kong Science Park! Visit their website for more information https://www.hkstp.org/en/index.aspx
2) 天生數碼通: 千禧一代成長在科技數碼時代,他們對於科技的掌握也對搵工極有幫助!由於互聯網的方便及高效,很多生意可以直接在網絡完成。在21世紀,掌握數碼科技軟件的使用方法將成為巨大的優勢之一。

 

3) Globalised: Thanks to technology, the world is seeming smaller-than-ever. People are engaging in discussions across the planet, and it is now easier to share ideas and knowledge than ever before. By using the Internet in this sense to your advantage, you will not only be more up-to-date with current affairs, but more educated about different cultures, opinions, and general knowledge about the world around you.
3) 擁有全球化觀念: 科技高速發展使得世界間距離不斷縮小。人們生存在世界的每一個角落,都可以與其他人分享想法與意見。利用互聯網的優勢,人們不僅可以了解各項即時資訊,更能掌握各種觀點與文化知識。

 

So, millennials! Time to use these things to your advantage. Are you interested in banking, medicine, technology, or architecture? Come along to Norton House’s Annual Careers Day, the perfect way to start 2017! Join us on January 15th, send an E-mail to [email protected] and book your spot now!
千禧一代其實擁有很多優勢!如果你對銀行,醫藥,科技或者建築感興趣,即刻報名參與我們的職業發展分享活動,這將幫助你2017職業發展更為成功!透過E-mail :[email protected] 報名,1月15日,Norton House見!

 

Are you currently, or about to undertake the IB Diploma? Check out our survival guide!

The Importance of Reading

December 21st, 2016

The Importance of Reading

We have all heard it before – you should read more! Books are good for you! When are you going to pick up a book? While all of these points are true, have you ever stopped to wonder why that is the case? How does reading actually help me, and why is it something that I should implement into my routine?
我們經常聽到,妳應該多讀書!讀書對你大有益處。妳肯定會想這一切都是真的嗎?為什麼讀書一定可以幫助我,我需要把讀書放進我的每日日程呢?

 

Reading is a Fundamental Skill 閱讀是一項基本技能
You’d be surprised at the number of adults who struggle to fill in forms correctly! Why else would people at airport customs have such grumpy looks on their faces?
你一定很驚訝成人每天的閱讀量,他們都會利用儘量多的時間來閱讀。

 

Reading Develops the Mind 閱讀拓展思維
The mind is a muscle, and muscles need exercise. Evidently, being able to understand the written word helps the mind grow and mature, which is why reading helps overall language skills develop.
思維如同肌肉,越訓練才能越好。只有閱讀不斷提升理解能力,才能將思維訓練的更為成熟,同時閱讀也能夠幫助提升語言能力。

 

Discover New Things 發掘新事物
When you read a book you are reading the thoughts of another human being, another living person whose mind is being exposed on a page. Evidently he or she is trying to communicate a message, and this is how humans are able to learn and absorb new things.
每當讀一本新書,就等於透過文字在閱讀另一個人的思想。無論他希望傳達何種訊息,你都可以透過閱讀學習和吸收全新事物。

 

Develop Your Imagination 開發想像力
As opposed to being provided with visual stimuli as you would with a movie or video game, the words on a page create images within your mind and encourage your imagination to operate.
電影和視像遊戲可以刺激你的視覺,而書本上的文字可以激勵你不斷開發自我的想像力。

 

Improve Cognition 提升認知能力
By enhancing your language skills, the chances of you understanding a wider variety of school subjects are greatly enhanced. For instance, being an effective and efficient reader entails you would be able to decipher “wordy” mathematical problems at a higher level, or even come to terms with philosophical theories in a more direct and understanding manner.
在提升語言能力的同時,透過閱讀,你的理解能力也得到進一步提升,自然在學校表現也會更為優異。不僅能夠幫助你更為高效的解決數學問題,同時也能以更為直接的方式理解哲學理論。

 

Start your reading journey today! Looking for free books? Head on over to The Norton House Facebook page and give us a Like and a star rating, which entitles you to receiving a free book of your choice! The lovely reading materials on offer come courtesy of our Official Reading Partner, Eslite Bookstore! RSVP your spot now at https://nhfreebooks.eventbrite.hk!
從今天開啟你的閱讀之旅!還在尋找免費書?只需Like Norton House Facebook專頁,同時給予五星評級,你就可以在我們官方閱讀夥伴Eslite Bookstore,隨時領取一本免費圖書!隨時透過網址預訂喇: https://nhfreebooks.eventbrite.hk!

Common Misconceptions in Chemistry:

December 6th, 2016

Kinetics & Thermodynamics
化學中的常見誤解:動力學及熱力學

diamonds

In my class with students over the past few months, I am intrigued by how they sometimes get confused with some fundamental concepts in A-Level chemistry. Sometimes students are so hung up on “what is going to come up in the next test” that they often neglect “do I have a complete understanding of the topic”.

在我過去幾個月的課上,我很好奇,A-level的化學考試中學生如何將幾個基本概念混淆,通常學生會問:下一次考試考什麼?但是他們也經常忽視,我是否完全理解了這些知識呢?

 

A topic in particular where students get confused easily is the concept of kinetics and thermodynamics. Kinetics is the idea of how fast a chemical reaction is; and thermodynamics is the idea of how likely that reaction may happen. A reaction can be extremely quick theoretically, but not feasible thermodynamically; it may also happen very readily, but extremely slowly.

學生們經常分不清楚動力學及熱力學的概念。動力學是指一種化學反應的速度有多快,而熱力學則表現出這個化學反應將會發生哪些現象。理論上講,一項化學反應可以進行的很快,但從熱力學角度卻行不通,可能這個化學反應很簡單易做,但卻會進行的十分緩慢。

A very famous fib that advertisers like to make you think is “diamonds last forever”. Diamonds indeed do last a very long time, but it is not the thermodynamically most stable allotrope of carbon. All this means is that diamond will one day, albeit extremely slowly, turn to graphite. Sorry ladies, but you have been lied to all this time.

一個很有名的小謊言就是那句廣告語:鑽石恆久遠。儘管鑽石的確可以保存很長時間,但從熱力學角度來講,鑽石並非是碳的同素異形體中最穩定的。

 

Another classic misconception is with an acid/base reaction, where the student would say that a species would be protonated/deprotonated because of kinetics, i.e. it happens quickly. The fact is that acid/base reactions are thermodynamically driven, with the position of the equilibrium determining the strength of the acid/base. (Bonus fact, a molecule can be both more acidic AND more basic than another molecule. As to how is for you to work out!)

另一個經典的誤解就是酸鹼反應,學生通常從動力學角度,判斷某一類物質是質子化或去質子化,比如,反應發生的很快。而事實則是,酸鹼反應是由熱力學驅動的,它的平衡決定酸鹼反應的強度。(還有一個真相,一個分子可以比其它分子酸度更高且更為重要。)

 

Another common misconception is “the thermodynamics of a nucleophilic attack”. Nucleophiles do not attack based on how likely it will attack, but instead how quickly they attack the electrophile. This competition between how quickly a nucleophile can attack is what makes a species “more nucleophilic” than others.

通常還會出現的誤解之一:熱力學是一種親核攻擊。而親核並不會輕易攻擊,但卻會很快攻擊電子。如果一個親核攻擊發生的很快,這也是這個物種比其它更為親核。

 

Still confused? Fear not! Give us a call or WhatsApp on +852 9077 2490 to speak to a member of the academic team for more help.

還是不明白?不用怕!直接致電或者WhatsApp +852 9077 2490,就可以得到專業導師的輔導喇!

 

Aaron-Lau
Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.

Surviving the IB Diploma

October 21st, 2016

IB課程 致勝指南!

Surviving the IB Diploma

As students transition from middle school to senior school, some may feel a sense of shock or disbelief at the amount of work they now face! Students around the world are left in a state of panic, struggling to figure out how they can simultaneously manage their personal lives and studies. Luckily for you, the Norton House Team have devised a set of points that will keep you ahead of the pack for your IB career!

很多學生面臨升學,有時會因學業繁重而自我懷疑。其實,全世界學生都在面對類似問題,希望同時兼顧生活與學業。而看到這篇文章的你,就幸運的多,因為Norton House 專業團隊已經在IB課程之前,提前梳理注意事項!

 

1.Accept Change 接受改變

You are starting your final year of secondary school, an important part of your academic career as this determines what sort of path you take for the rest of your soon-to-be adult lives. With this in mind, one should be prepared to accept and welcome any changes that may occur – for example, your social life. If you want to do well, you must put the necessary work in. It’s as simple as that! Make some sacrifices in the short-term and be rewarded with long-term rewards and achievements.

現在你正處於中學時期的最後階段,目前的重要任務之一,就是確定未來的「成人生活」之路。但是記住一點,要隨時準備好迎接任何改變。例如你希望在社交方面有所發展,就一定要付諸行動。就是如此簡單!儘管短期有所犧牲,但一定會在未來有所收穫。

 

2.Procrastination 拖延時間

Ahh yes, it’s that word again. So many brave souls have tried to conquer this seemingly unavoidable ritual over the years, and so many have failed. But how did the successful ones manage? Again, it’s a simple theory of mind over matter. The only thing that is stopping you from picking up your pencil right now and hitting the books is you! There is no electric fence around your study material, have a strong mind and get to it! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and success will not fall on your lap.

多年來,很多人都與「拖延」二字不斷抗爭,但又屢次失敗。到底該如何解決這個問題?唯一的辦法,就是即刻去做應該做的事!學習並無任何工具限制,只需要堅定的意志以及即刻去做的決心!羅馬非一日建成,成功更需長期堅持。

 

3.Priorities 優先順序

Now that we’ve already dealt with the “change in social life” topic, it’s time to talk about your subject priority. Are you one of those students that is particularly strong in a specific subject area, yet very weak in another? Or are you more of an all-rounded individual? Identify your weaknesses and make them your strengths – just like Michael Jordan did. Listen to your teachers and always try to improve – put your dominant subjects to one side and pay attention to your weak points!

之前提到“社交生活方面”的改變,現在來看學習科目的優先順序。你是不是也在某一科目上表現突出,而其他科目相對薄弱?亦或你已經全面發展?發現自己的弱勢,並且不斷進步,就像著名籃球運動員麥可喬丹一樣。不斷向老師學習,提升薄弱科目。

 

4.Consistency 始終如一

If there is one thing we have all learnt from IB, it is this: you cannot expect to work at school and use the rest of the day to play Xbox – no, that simply will not do. If you are determined to do well and prove the doubters wrong, you must continue studying at home and in your own time. Remember, you go through several classes a day which go on for no longer than an hour. Even the best teacher can only explain so much in one hour without rushing. Go home, go through what was taught during the day, do your homework, and more importantly make sure you understand it!

在IB課程中,很多學生感受頗深:不要希望在學校完成功課,就可以全日玩Xbox!如果你希望成績優秀,就要在任何時間保持學習狀態。記住,儘管一天上幾堂課,但其實總計也並未超過一個鐘。就算是最優秀的老師,都無法在一個鐘時間內講解太多知識。回家後,回顧一天學習的內容,再做功課,一定可以幫助理解!

 

5.Positivity 保持積極

Of course, no one can get through such a rigorous and intense school programme without a positive mind set to support themselves. Remember, when you hear your schoolmates start to complain about the work they have to do – don’t let them bring out your negative thoughts. Be positive, respond with something along the lines of “yeah, just got to get it done!” and keep your head down. Not only will you keep yourself motivated and concentrated, but you will also help those around you!

當然沒人能在如此高強度的課程下,隨時保持積極心態。當你聽到同學開始抱怨,不要被影響!保持積極心態,並且對自己講“加油完成!”這不僅能夠幫助自己集中注意力,還可以幫助身邊其他同學。

 

We hope you use these points to the best of your advantage when it comes to undertaking your IB diploma and achieving success. While we are not currently in the students’ shoes, remember that we were also at school and successfully undertook the diploma. There is a reason you see many of the points above being repeated in IB forums – THEY MAKE A DIFFERENCE! So, accept things have to change because you’re older, stop delaying work, get your priorities sorted, work consistently, and be positive! There you have it – the Norton House recipe for IB success.

我們希望你能在IB課程中記住以上要點,取得學業上的成功!以上很多提及的重點,其實在IB論壇上已經多次提及,相信它們會讓你變得與眾不同!所以,接受改變,停止拖延,優先順序排好,始終如一保持學習,並且保持積極心態!這就是Norton House為你準備的IB致勝寶典!

The Toilet Chronicles – An Untouched Gem

July 29th, 2016

The Toilet Chronicles – An Untouched Gem

The toilet. A place where we are obliged to visit at irregular intervals, a place humans are so bound by that some even defined home as “a place where you frequent the toilet with comfort”. If the toilet, like death, are facts of life, why are people so reluctant to talk about either topics?

 

It appears that there is a taboo on the subject of toilets, or death for that matter, but we do not care about death. Assume that each person goes to the toilet 3 times a day, and that an average of 5 minutes per visit is spent on the throne. Therefore, each year we would be spending just over 90 hours of time on the toilet carrying out our business. So in a year the earth would have lost 540 BILLION hours of time to the toilet. If you think about that, that means that employers are typically paying their employees 180 billion hours a year sitting on their bottoms (typical working hours are 8 hours in this case).

 

The math may be dodgy, but the logic is sound. Since we are spending so much time on the toilet, shouldn’t we spend it better? Some people read the newspaper, some people read books, etc. etc. Sure, there are always ways to engage yourself, but are those activities truly productive?

 

I don’t read books on the toilet, but I used to have a copy of the tutorial worksheet stuck on the wall. Either the questions that I couldn’t do, or the questions that I had been avoiding. Since there is no escaping going to the toilet, I would be forced to work on the tutorial sheet.

 

Famous German theologian Martin Luther used to work from the toilet. Yes, you read that right. He would just sit on the toilet and receive visitors and guests. In a sense, he basically cut a hole into his office chair that was connected to some sort of middle-aged sewer system.

 

Maybe he was onto something. If we convert all our time and effort on the toilet onto something productive, then imagine how far the human race would advance. So now go, decorate your toilet with work you have been dreading, and help build the world into a better place.

 

How else can we make education fun? Find out here!

 

Aaron-Lau
Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.

Education: Fun & Effective Entails Results

May 23rd, 2016

Back in the days of GCSE, I could still remember reciting that awful Latin poem until 2am at night before the exam. To be brutally honest, I am not that interested in what the Romans did every hour of their lives, nor am I interested in what they ate at a party. I chose the subject because there were no alternatives, and I am sure many will agree with me that there are subjects that you are forced to do but are not actually interested in pursuing.
 
Sometimes it seems like a chore to study a subject that one has no interest in. Indeed, it may be torture to study a subject that one DOES have interest in. The one question I get asked most is “what is the point of studying?” or “how is this useful?” In fact, I may have asked these questions a few times myself.
 
Trying to explain why trigonometry is useful to a 13 year old may seem like a stretch, and telling them they need it for an engineering degree would most probably result in a snub. Therefore, I have often resulted to my standard answer, “because it explains how the world works”.
 
After teaching for a while, I often noticed that the students were not disinterested in the subject, but their teachers would instead make the lessons appear “boring”. Conventional education dictates that students must learn the syllabus within a given period of time, so teachers have no choice but to go through the syllabus with a monotonous and “routine” method.
 
However, I believe that education can be both effective and fun. I can still remember that the night before my chemistry GCSE exam, I gave my roommate a crash course on chemistry. In the end, he managed to achieve an A from a predicted C. not bad for 6 hours’ work. He also commented that those 6 hours were the most useful of his life, and he, for once, did not find chemistry boring. Then again, the competition I was up against was a chemistry teacher who, when asked the time, would spill sulphuric acid on herself (those old enough to remember a certain crisps advertisement know what I am talking about).
 
Education is different to learning. Whereas learning is about absorbing the maximum amount of information in the shortest period of time; education is about the experience one has while learning. That is why I am an advocate of interactive education, and an education that challenges students to engage their brains in everyday studying. Students should be able to logically deduct the next step given first, and with the appropriate guidance they will have the motivation to yearn for higher-level learning.
 
Our professional team of tutors are dedicated to helping students achieve their dreams by providing them with a high quality university-style education, where students are prepared and equipped for the countless challenges ahead.

 

Aaron-Lau
Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.

The True “Essence” of Studying

May 20th, 2016

Over my 8-year career at Oxford, I have tutored my fair share of students, those undertaking both A-Levels and undergraduate degrees. The two main questions I got most were either “why?” and “do you think this is going to be in the exam?”. Whilst it is good to have a better understanding of the topic, endlessly and aimlessly seeking the “true meaning” may in fact be detrimental to one’s studies. I am never an advocate of studying just for the sake of exams, and the pursuit of knowledge way beyond the required level may not be beneficial either. As to which one can be considered the lesser of two evils, that’s for you to decide.

 

It is crucial to bear in mind that studying means more than getting top grades in exams, no matter how important that may actually be in real life. One should pursue their interest when studying, and learn about a subject based on interest. Many students have come to me and said “I am doing this subject because it is easier to get an A, but I don’t actually like it”. To which I would then say, “then what is the point of studying?”

 

It is important to consider several factors when choosing a subject: interest, ability to get good grades, and future prospects. As IB has come to an end, and GCSE finals are just around the corner, students should begin to consider their future options. Another aspect to consider is that under the DSE and IB system for instance, students may have to choose subject(s) that they have no interest in, or are simply not very good at. This would ultimately translate to less-than-ideal exam results. It is also a major benefit of studying A-Levels, where students only have to choose 4 subjects. In fact, some of my students now are driven by only having to study 4 subjects as a motivation to undertake A-Levels.

 

It may be wise for students to consider their options when they still have time. Now that there are only a handful of schools that offer A-Levels as mainstream curriculum, more innovative measures will have to be taken if you want to study this particular syllabus. Self-studying is always an option, but without suitable mentorship, one can easily get lost in the complex system that is A-Levels.

 

Norton House offers full time and part time IGCSE and I-AL tutorial courses. Call 2972-2698 to arrange a free initial meeting and assessment.

 

Work hard play hard right? How can I relax during my exams?! Check it out here!

 

Aaron-Lau
Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.

DSE, IB and IAL Exams: How Do I Relax During This Time?!

April 12th, 2016

With local public exams starting, and international public exams (A-Levels and IB) following suit in early May, it is hardly surprising that students are experiencing a high level of stress over the past couple of weeks.
 
A recent survey has revealed that the stress level of students taking DSE this year experience an average stress level of 6.99, the highest ever since the survey began. An astonishing 14% of students have expressed a stress level of 10/10, which is an alarming sign of the dangers and shortfalls of the current examination and education system.
 
It is hardly surprising that over 20 students have resorted to taking their own lives since September. With the youngest victims being students in Secondary 1 due to overwhelming pressure, it begs the question: how much pressure must a 12 year old be facing in order to succumb to suicide?
 
I could still remember that when I was doing my own A-Levels, my parents asked me when results came out, “why did you get 97/100? What happened to the other 3 marks?” There were no congratulatory celebrations for me getting into Oxford, nor was there any mention of the other 5 papers that I got full marks on.
 
I could still remember that before our first year exams in Oxford, known as Prelims, our tutor told us to go on holiday the weekend before the start of exams. “Go to Paris!” he would say (or anywhere else, as long as it is away from Oxford). We were also forbidden to revise up to 4 days before the start of exams. My tutor wanted us to relax and to remain calm before the exams, and not to let anxiety overcome us during this time. Of course, this is practically impossible in Hong Kong as last minute cramming is the name of the game here, and students have a mentality that an extra minute spent revising is an extra minute well spent.
 
However, contrary to popular belief, taking time off is actually beneficial not only when it comes to one’s mental health, but also one’s ability to perform during exams.  Whilst I am not an advocate of the old-new-Labour’s education reform of taking a 15 minute break every 8 minutes of lessons, I do believe that a suitable level of rest and relaxation will do wonders for a student’s mental health.
 
As I have always said to my students, they should take time off revision, and strike a healthy work-life balance during the exam period. Whilst I am not the most fun to hand around with, my students are encouraged to open up to me with any problems they may face in school and in life.
 
There is no substitute for a complete overhaul to the education system, and the government should do more to alleviate this immense stress being experienced by students. However, before that day comes, I will always be there to lend an ear to all those in need. It is my principle, and Norton House’s, to do everything in our capacity to ensure our students receive the best education possible. Perhaps more importantly, finding a balance between study and life.

 

Aaron-Lau
Dr. Aaron Lau is a PhD Graduate from Oxford University in chemistry, and is an integral part of the Admission Coaching Team here at Norton House. Dr. Lau also tutors our talented students in the areas of mathematics, science, and social humanities.


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