Can you write me a reference?

After teaching for a number of years, it stills strikes me a little strange when I hear the question "Mr Lai, I am applying to ABC university/programme, can you write me a reference?". Actually not always, but most certainly when it is coming from one particular type of student. Before I reveal which particular type … Continue reading Can you write me a reference?

3 Levels of Top Students (IB 45 only qualifies you for the lowest level)

I have always thought about what a "top student" means and the following is a rough description of three types of top students I have observed. Given that each student is unique, the description of each type of student below is a gross generalisation but the broad strokes characteristics are laid out from my personal … Continue reading 3 Levels of Top Students (IB 45 only qualifies you for the lowest level)

What you are REALLY learning (academically) in school

Knowledge. That is the first thing that comes to mind when one is being asked what you learn in secondary school. This is certainly correct but knowledge about what? Most students if not all would say it would be knowledge about different subjects. This would be not be an incorrect answer. So in geography, students … Continue reading What you are REALLY learning (academically) in school

What to do when “I don’t get it”

Coming across something that students don't understand is simply a part of learning. The most important thing is what to do when you "don't get it". The fastest and easiest way is to ask the teacher which is a very effective method because clarifying misunderstandings and misconceptions is part of their job. However, your teacher … Continue reading What to do when “I don’t get it”

Building a positive relationship with your cravings

There is a fitness trainer that I follow on youtube who teaches people a wide variety of different exercises to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Needless to say, the trainer is incredibly fit, muscular, strong and definitely is the type who calculates and categorises each morsel of food that he puts through his body. Needless to … Continue reading Building a positive relationship with your cravings

Receiving Feedback- “Putting money in your pocket”

When I was young, my parents would sometimes say the phrase, 袋錢落你袋 after giving me what they call "feedback". That Chinese phrase literally translates to "putting money in your pocket" which is their way of saying I am giving you something valuable and you should treasure it, receive it wholeheartedly and thank them from the … Continue reading Receiving Feedback- “Putting money in your pocket”

How much “street cred” do you have?

I really like the phrase "Street Cred". The direct translation of this is if you are out and about walking on the street and have nothing on you, how much credibility ("cred") do you have? What is your reputation? What are you known for? When your name is mentioned in groups, what is it associated … Continue reading How much “street cred” do you have?

The Case for doing first IB DP Chinese A “first language” (even when it means not getting IB DP 45)

Chinese A is hard, like really hard. When presented with the case of whether doing Chinese A or Chinese B, it used to be a (20 years ago) no brainer that one should try to do Chinese B, the easier option, get an easy 7 or A (if doing A-Levels) and increase your chances of … Continue reading The Case for doing first IB DP Chinese A “first language” (even when it means not getting IB DP 45)