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WHAT ARE THE ESSENCE OF THE KUMON METHOD? (PART 2)
At Kumon, we believe that the most beneficial thing that we can do for children is to furnish them with the ability to smoothly advance to high school level materials through the self-learning method as early as possible in life. From the values that they have learnt through the Kumon Method, children who have completed Kumon classes will grow up and enter workforce with the ability to think of solutions independently even when they are faced with difficult challenges.
Let’s continue on what the Kumon Method is all about!
1.Developing Good Study Habits
At Kumon, we believe it is important to instill good study habits. We should avoid trying to force children to study but rather aim to have them sit at their desk each day, doing something that interests them, even if it is for a short period of time. This is discipline, and with this, children are able improve their attention span subsequently. At Kumon, we begin with easier content which gives students the opportunity to practice concentration for short periods of time while gradually increasing the length of practice time, and simultaneously, progressing them through levels that are “just-right” for them. This is a benefit of the Kumon Method that ensures children continue their studies whilst staying motivated to further develop good study habits.
2. Comfortable Starting Point
Before students begin at Kumon, they need to take a Diagnostic Test which determines their starting point, which is a level where the students are able to complete the worksheets with ease and with minimal challenges. The starting point is decided based on analysis of their academic abilities at that point in time, to ensure that when they start at Kumon, they will feel motivated and confident to progress through to the next level whilst enjoying the learning process at the same time. And rising through the levels, Kumon will further build other abilities such as concentration, speed, accuracy and perseverance.
3. Why we place importance on achieving 100%
The joy that children feel in being able to do something for themselves and obtaining a perfect score instills the desire in them to continue to strive for the best. Students will then feel motivated to take on the challenge of advancing to even higher levels. However, when students have advanced beyond their current school grade level, they may not always achieve a perfect score at the first attempt. When faced with such situations, the Kumon Instructor will provide the necessary instruction to ensure that students can correct their mistakes to achieve the desired perfect score.
4. The Standard Completion Time
The Kumon Method ensures that students follow through a ‘Standard Completion Time” to gauge their overall academic abilities. Kumon’s Standard Completion Time includes a range of times that we refer to as X time (the quicker time) and Y time (the slower time). The basic principle is as follows: If students complete their worksheets in X time or lower, they advance to the next level; if it takes students Y time or longer to complete the worksheets, they have to repeat the set of worksheets. And if the students’ completion times fall in between X and Y time, then the Instructor decides whether they should advance or repeat based on a comprehensive analysis of their learning situation at that time.
5. High Level Worksheets
The ultimate goal of Kumon Method is to foster children to advance to study high school level worksheets at a young age through self-learning. Kumon Instructors will instruct our students in a way that allows them to advance to high school level material efficiently. The Maths programme focuses on developing a high level of calculation ability, which is a key factor especially when doing high school Maths. The language programmes focuses on developing one’s reading ability, which is of great benefit to students in high schools and beyond. The skills that Kumon students takeaway and develop in reading, writing and calculation are not only skills that will serve them well in high school, but will benefit them throughout their journey in life.
6. It is not a Child who is at fault
When a child faces challenges in their studies, we at Kumon do not think to ourselves, “This child has low ability”. Instead we examine whether the given worksheets are suited to their level or whether the Kumon Instructor could have provided better instruction. As each student has different abilities, the Kumon Instructors have to constantly take note of each child’s progress to ensure that they are on the right track. This is how the Kumon method has evolved up to now and how it continues to evolve to this very day.
Hear from a Kumon parent, who is also Malaysia’s First Astronaut, Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, on what he thinks about the Kumon Method.