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Indicator or myth: global ranking of performance in math, science and reading? 指標?迷思?美國學生閱讀和數理全球排名

Indicator or myth: global ranking of performance in math, science and reading? 指標?迷思?美國學生閱讀和數理全球排名

What are the global ranking of American students’ reading, math and science skills? What does the ranking indicate? How can we improve children’s academic performance?

PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment), an international standardized test that is used to examine math, science and reading skills (with focus on math) on 15-years-old students, is administered every three years in industrialized countries by OCED (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).

“Since 2000, PISA has shown that education systems can provide both high-quality instruction and equitable learning opportunities for all, and that they can support academic excellence in an environment that also nurtures students’ well-being. PISA shows what countries are doing to support their students and provides an opportunity for countries to learn from each other” (PISA 2018)

The result shows…

According to the outcomes of PISA 2018, the four provinces/municipalities of China – Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang (B-S-J-Z), outperformed other countries/cities and got the highest scores in reading, math and science. Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Canada, Finland, Estonia, Korea and Taiwan also got good scores and surpasses many countries.

The United States performed well in reading. However, US students’ performance in science and math (especially math) was not very ideal, comparing with countries like Singapore, Japan, Korea, Estonia, New Zealand, Germany, etc.

PISA 2108 Reading scores

PISA 2018 Math scores

PISA 2018 Science scores

Our perspective

We do not agree that PISA should be viewed as the tool or criterion to measure students’ knowledge and success since there are some factors that are not covered nor be taken into consideration in PISA. However, to some degree, the outcomes could be seen as the indicators of how could we improve the education. More importantly, math, science and reading are three major subjects that greatly contribute to children’s cognitive development and could possibly help teenagers to get better achievement in college level.

On one hand, there are some flaws in PISA as well. Hence, it would be hard to evaluate a country’s education and academic performance solely rely on the test scores. Moreover, the four provinces in eastern China are far from representing China as a whole. On the other hand, it is likely that the test results could be used as a reference through the comparison with other countries. In that way, maybe we can ‘learn from other countries’ strength’ and make our education better!
Reference: PISA 2018- Insights and Interpretations

動手玩科學和數學,STEM訓練從幼兒教育開始

Play with math and science — Develop STEM skills from early childhood education

讓孩子贏在起跑點,Ni Hao Chinese線上幼兒園STEM班,每週兩天,強調數學與科學能力,促進孩子邏輯推理能力與左腦開發
Afternoon Online STEM Preschool Program with special focus on Math and Science. Two days a week to reinforce kids’ logic and left brain development.

免費試課 Free trial lesson

幼兒自然科學 | 感知啟蒙學前教育 | Science

幼兒數學認知 | 數與量概念學習 | Math | Kids

Flu shot for kids is even important this year 今年更重要:幼兒注射流感疫苗

Flu shot for kids is even important this year 今年更重要:幼兒注射流感疫苗

According to CDC (Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention), Children younger than 5 years old–especially those younger than 2– are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. A flu vaccine offers the best defense against flu and its potentially serious consequences and can also reduce the spread of flu to others.

CDC also suggests that getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever. The experts in CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Although getting a flu shot does not protect human from COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.

Getting a flu shot is an important step to not only protect you and your child(ren) but also other families and even to protect the community. CDC listed two types of flu shots for children.

Injectable influenza vaccine (IIV):

This type of vaccine is given as an injection (with a needle) and is approved for use in people 6 months and older.

Live inactivated influenza vaccine (LAIV):

LAIV is given as a nasal spray and is approved for use in people 2 through 49 years old. However, there are certain people that should avoid taking nasal spray such as children younger than 2 years, pregnant women, adults 50 years and older, people without a spleen, people with cochlear implants (see the full list here).

Besides taking the flu shot, keeping good daily routine, getting more exercise, washing hands regularly and consume various nutritions are keys to enhance the immune system! We hope you all stay healthy during this challenging time!

*Information from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/children.htm

Ni Hao Chinese EQ Story

In this story, children will be taught how to maintain good personal hygiene and how to deal with sickness. It helps them to know better of their body. We get sick sometimes, it is important to know how to protect ourselves and also protect others.
大丁生病了,早上一起床就咳嗽、打噴涕 媽媽帶著大丁到診所看醫生, 過程中有許多生病的人需要注意的事情!!! 讓我們一起來聽故事學中文吧!
YouTubers in Mandarin-speaking countries: learn the cultures 外國人在華語國家:YouTubers帶你看文化

YouTubers in Mandarin-speaking countries: learn the cultures 外國人在華語國家:YouTubers帶你看文化

Are you curious about what it would look like if living in a Mandarin-speaking places like Taiwan or China? Are you interested in the cultural differences between English-speaking countries and Mandarin-speaking countries? Do you want to know how do non-Mandarin speakers feel when working or settling at a Mandarin-speaking place? Here are some videos filmed by a few YouTuber who live in Taiwan and China. In the videos, they introduced many interesting facts about their life in Mandarin-speaking countries as well as the cultural differences they have experienced.

莫彩曦Hailey (1.12M subscribers)- videos with English captions

Hailey and her husband, Adam, have constantly shared their life in both Taiwan and US. She published lots of vlogs of food, travel, and cross-cultural experience.

劉沛 Pierre Liu (1.15M subscribers)

Pierre is a Taiwanese American from Los Angeles, California. His videos feature on various topics such as technology, travel, food, culture, video-game. He currently lives in Taiwan so most of his videos are delivered in Mandarin Chinese but sometimes mixed with English.

阿福 Thomas (485K subscribers) – videos with English captions

Thomas (Afu) is from Germany and he married a Chinese lady. In his videos, he showed the audiences the food, culture, daily life, transportation, etc. in China. He lives with his wife in Shanghai now.

一条Yit (1.02M subscribers)

This is one of the most popular channels that focuses on life style video in China. This channel release original short videos that tell touching stories on a daily basis.

Looking for some children’s videos that introduce culture, history, STEM and EQ stories in Mandarin Chinese? Feel free to check Ni Hao Chinese YouTube channel for more videos about Chinese culture, history, language and other interesting topics with your children.

Culture & Reading 文化閱讀

Sing-Along 兒歌唱跳

Festivals 節慶系列

History 歷史故事

Perks of Being Bilingual: Why Kids Should Learn Another Language

Perks of Being Bilingual: Why Kids Should Learn Another Language

Did you know that more than 180 languages are spoken across the state of Washington in the United States?

Bilingualism—the ability to express oneself in two languages—is on the rise, helping facilitate cross-cultural interactions in a whole new level. Now more than ever, speaking more than one language is instrumental in connecting with others in your community.
As with any skill, learning a second language is easier when there are plenty of practice opportunities. As they say, practice makes perfect. The best way to learn a language is to start young and use it in everyday, real-world situations like in a home or at school.
Talking to your children at home in their second language—whether it’s Mandarin, Spanish, French, or any other widely-used language—enables them to practice in an environment that they’re familiar with. Choosing to have your kids learn Chinese online is also a great option because it allows them to learn at their own pace.
Bilingualism offers several advantages for your kids—it gives them an academic edge, higher cognitive skills, healthy social interactions, and better career opportunities, as you’ll learn in this infographic.

Why Should Kids Learn a Foreign Language?

The ability to speak a foreign language is considered a valuable asset now more than ever. As people become increasingly connected, bilingualism helps reduce communication barriers and makes interaction with the rest of the world possible. Sounds great, right? But why should kids learn another language?

The bottom line is that the positive effects of being bilingual are long-lasting for kids—starting from the years they spend in school and continuing to their adult life. Here are the different benefits of bilingualism for children.

Academic Advantage

Studies have shown that bilingual students excel in school, especially in essential literacy skills like reading and writing, and major subject areas like math. Since bilingual learners are exposed to a second language other than their native language, they’re better equipped in phonics—an important pre-reading skills.

They also have a wider vocabulary as they try to learn the equivalent of any word in their first or second language. In addition, bilinguals have a remarkable ability to focus and adapt to certain situations. For example, when your child greets you “Good morning” and then says “Zǎoshang hǎo” to his/her teacher, it tells you that your child is becoming skilled at inhibiting one language while using the other.

Bilingualism can also help your children in college admission. Data shows that students who have undergone foreign language study get higher scores in standardized college entrance exams, with their linguistic intelligence playing an essential role in test comprehension.

Cognitive Edge

Bilinguals have higher cognitive skills than those who are fluent in only one language. Research shows that certain parts of the brain are activated when bilingual speakers switch from one language to the other. The effort and attention needed to switch between languages train kids to become better learners, problem solvers, and multitaskers.
Bilingualism increases children’s metalinguistic awareness or the ability to understand how language works and how they can explore them in different scenarios. For example, a bilingual writer can create many different versions of the same message because he/she knows how to manipulate words to best capture the intended meaning.
Researchers also believe that babies from bilingual homes develop better cognitive functions by simply listening to two different languages. Even in situations when a bilingual learner is speaking in only one language, the truth is that his/her brain has both language systems running. This shows that the brain is working extra hard to process more information and giving the person increased brainpower.
There’s also compelling evidence that bilingualism can protect the brain from illnesses related to mental aging, such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Thanks to the efficient utilization of their brain networks, Bilinguals are better equipped to stave off cognitive decline as they age. The appearance of symptoms like memory loss and problem-solving difficulties are delayed by as much as five years.

Global Citizenship

Bilingualism develops not only language skills but also social skills that help form relationships with people from different cultures or backgrounds. Bilingualism can teach your children one of the most important values in life—empathy, or the ability to be perceptive and accepting of others. So, even at a young age, your kids can contribute to social formation while learning a new language.
Of course, there’s the bonus of your children being able to travel in different countries with ease. While they can get around many places without speaking the language, the experience becomes a lot more fun if you or your children know how to speak the local language of the place you’re visiting. No need for a mobile app translator when you have to get something from the grocery store or ride public transport!

Career Competitiveness

Truth be told, the career opportunities between bilingual professionals and monolingual workers aren’t always equal, as some employers prefer candidates who are fluent in two or more languages.
For jobs that require bilingual skills, companies are willing to pay by the hour with an extra rate of 5% to 20% on top of their base salary. Companies do this to compensate staff who can help increase the company’s revenue by using their communication skills to break through international markets, not to mention that foreign languages are not the easiest language to learn.
Also, with over half of the world’s population being either bilingual or multilingual, there are countries where being a bilingual speaker is the bare minimum. For example, in Canada, certain job positions seek candidates with knowledge of a third language aside from the required competence in English and French.
Chinese speakers are also in demand, which should tell you and your children why you should learn Chinese at home. As businesses in many parts of the world recognize China’s role in the global economy, Chinese-speaking individuals can find a wide range of career opportunities that may not be available to non-Chinese speakers.
Online Chinese classes are a good first step in ensuring that your children have a better chance of getting their dream job.

Being Bilingual Is Good for Kids

Teachers, parents, psychologists, and other stakeholders are clear about the multiple benefits of bilingualism for children. On top of the learning advantages associated with bilingualism, the rise of global markets underlines the growing importance of speaking more than one language.
Equip your child with the cognitive advantage that comes with learning another language and prepare them for the future by raising them bilingual.
Don’t know where to start? Enroll your children in Ni Hao’s online Chinese classes!
Eat healthily & boost immune system in Autumn 秋季進補好時節,養出抵抗力

Eat healthily & boost immune system in Autumn 秋季進補好時節,養出抵抗力

Autumn is here! This is the time for harvest and celebration. As the weather cools down, people starting to get their sweaters, scarves and boots out of closets. However, the change of the weather between different seasons may trigger allergies. Besides, it is also the time when flu is widespread and unfortunately, it would be even worse this year as COVID-19 hits.

Therefore, it is very important to enhance the immune system by consuming sufficient nutritions from different kinds of food and get enough exercise. young children and elderly are often considered as ‘high risk’ group who have relatively week immune system. According to Chinese medicine, people should pay more attention on their diet and maintain their health condition in autumn, when people get sick more easily. In traditional Chinese culture, Autumn is the important season for us to take good rest, replenish energy, and enjoy the fruits from our hard work of the year. Here are some autumn dishes and food that can keep us healthy.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin has rich nutritions like vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidant that can boost our immune system and repair our body. Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for our eye-sight.

Lotus Root

Lotus root is a good source of vitamin B, vitamin C and dietary fiber. The elements of cooper and iron are beneficial for blood circulation. Chinese medicine suggests that consuming lotus root also help to calm our body and reduce stress.

Korean Pear (Asian Pear)

Korean pear serves abundant vitamin C, Potassium, iron, folate and dietary fiber. Moreover, Chinese medicine believes that it is helpful to assuage symptoms like coughing, sore throat, mucus, nasal congestions.

Get ready to ‘taste’ the autumn and stay healthy during this period. Having a diverse diet through obtaining the nutritions from different kinds of food is always a key to foster our immune system. Feel free to share your autumn recipe with us! Enjoy this beautiful seasons and the delicious dishes! Bon Appetit~

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