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Teen Thoughts 101: 9.28

Tonight, when I was reading through the articles on my phone about the ‘Occupy Central’ movement, I couldn’t help myself but gush out tears. Seeing the city that I grew up in turn into a place with such violence is simply heartbreaking.

Its past midnight now, and I know that I should be fast asleep recharging myself for school in the morning, but I simply cannot bring myself to sleep knowing that there are tens of thousands of people less than 7km away from me being punished for just expressing their thoughts and feelings towards the future of Hong Kong…

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She is not alone

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Image source: http://www.layoutsparks.com

Motivation: Quest for meaning

The education system of Hong Kong is characteristic of keen competition. Everything is ranked. For example, majority of local primary schools are ranked in terms of the percentage of school students entering prestigious high schools. High schools are ranked by their students performance over their university entrance examination and proportion of enrollment by local and or overseas universities.

In most high schools, students are ranked by different indicators like individual ranking by total scores of all subjects and or subjects. It may take into account of the number of extra-curricular classes and types of sports and musical performance and the like.

One of my students who has completed her primary education from a private school rejecting the practice of ranking students, entered into a highly competitive catholic girls school in 2013. She told me that she was very worried about her ranking in the school. Her high school groups students of each grade into classes by ability. At the end of this academic year, she was very concerned about her chance of getting into the high ability class, she tried her best in the year end examination though.

While she was aware of her talent and intellectual abilities, she felt it unfair to be ‘classified’ as low ability class. Driven by fear, she tried so hard to convince herself to earn good grades for the competitive tests and examinations of the school. It is nothing to do with the level of difficulty in school learning. What bothers her is lacking motivation to revise learning materials which are too easy or factual. She forced herself to memorize all the factual information in order to stay competitive enough to promote to the high ability class in the following year. In the past, she studied for mastery reaching personal goal for excellence. In other word, she is doing things against her will just for surviving the competitive education environment.

Last week, a few days before the new school term, she came to see me trembling. She showed me her smart phone that she received a whatsapp message from her classmate who went to school to find the release of student list by different ability classes.

My student dares not reading these student lists because she doesn’t want to see the bullies and other trouble makers going to the same class with her. Therefore she wants me to read for her and tell her which class she has been assigned to.

She is assigned to the elite class! Then she frowns.

She reflects that she has to do all the competitive assessments making her eligible for the elite class next year. She is not happy that she has to work hard on learning materials not motivating at all for the sake of getting competitive scores. She asks me how she is going to survive in an learning environment lacking intellectual challenge and opportunities to develop her genuine interests. She wants to learn something motivating enough that she has to stretch her limit of abilities.

In retrospect, she was a motivated student in the primary school striving for her best. Her teachers understand her as an individual.

In a school environment where student motivation is tied to performance and social comparison, gifted and talented students find it suffocating and distracted towards meritocracy. My student is just one of the victims struggling with motivational issues.

Sadly, she is not alone.

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Teen Thoughts 101: ‘Look Up’ – video on Social media addiction

Please spare less than 5 minutes to watch this video! I guarantee that it will somehow impact your life.

We live in a world today where we are surrounded by people who bury their faces into their phones. Let’s admit it, we’re one of them as well. This is a beautiful video that opens your eyes to see how unsocial we are because of these so-called ‘social’ media sites. We have isolated ourselves into a small imaginary cubicle with our electronic device.

According to StatisticBrain, 98% of the 18-24 year olds who voted on this website states to already use social media. Imagine the future generation? Will 5 year olds begin to sign up for a Facebook account? And before we know it, your great-grandchildren might not even know what swings and slides are! So let’s make a change on the damage we made.

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Teen Thoughts 101: Stress

 

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Source: http://www.highlandhosp.com/2014/02/10-quick-strategies-for-soothing-stress/

Everyone has stress. Your dog, your neighbour, your parents. The list goes on and on. You want to know why some people seem like they don’t have any stress at all? The answer is because they know how to handle their stress.

There are many MANY ways of handling your stress. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and count to ten. Trust me, it works! Make sure you take slow and steady breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Simple as that!

Of course there are many other ways, such as playing a sport, taking a bath, reading a book, or even telling a friend or family member.

I usually try and wake up to a positive mind. Instead of filling your mind with negative thoughts, like “Oh, I need to submit something!”, or “I have so much to do”, the second you wake up. You can perhaps try waking up, and thinking “Today is a new day, and new chance to be the better me”. I know. I know. It is difficult, but a great reminder is to simple put a post-it note on your bedside table, or just anywhere near your bed to remind you to do so.

Just remember that you are the boss of your stress, your stress isn’t the boss of you.

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Teen Thoughts 101: My Christmas… by FL

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This year’s Christmas, I volunteered to serve a Christmas lunch and dinner for the people in need at my childhood church. The lunch was directed to the elderly, and the dinner was directed towards people who have left the prison, and are neglected by the society. 

For the lunch, I brought my two close friends with me to volunteer. I was so happy that they were willing to excuse themselves from their family time to volunteer with me. 

I found the lunch and dinner to be completely different atmospheres, although it was led by the same people. Both groups of people were hungry, but hungry for different things. 

From my point of view, the elderly were more interested in the gathering of people, and the whole atmosphere of Christmas celebration, than the warm, delicious food. 

For the dinner, I had the duty of delivering food from the kitchen to the tables, and they always asked for seconds or even thirds! They were really hungry! I still remember their faces when they first saw me delivering the food. It shows to me how rare this experience is to them.

But there was one thing they both have in common, and that was their happiness, their smiles on their faces, although it was triggered from various reasons, it was so great to see such happy, joyful faces. Their happiness reflected on to me.