Monday, June 15, 2009

The extremely reluctant writer at work

Andre simply dislikes writing compositions. I can't understand this because he has a vivid imagination and I would have thought that he'd enjoy creating a story. But to him, it's hard work. He'd rather do three assessment papers than write one composition.

Since he didn't fare too well for his composition in the SA1, I thought I'd better give him some practice during the holidays. So last week, I assigned him one. To my exasperation, he started whining and crying. At first, I tried the encouragement route but after 20 minutes of complaining and kicking the table, he'd only written one paragraph. Exit nice mummy, enter fire-breathing dragon mummy. "If you don't stop whining and get to work, I'm going to make you write one composition everyday!!"

I don't know how he managed to write anything amidst the torrent of tears. Wah, macam like the flood surrounding Noah's ark. He was weeping as if someone had unleashed a sledgehammer on all his favourite toy cars.

Anyway, below is the final piece, based on this picture:

It was a perfect day. Tim's mother and Tim were at home. His mother was in the living room sewing Tim's cloths.

Tim complained, "I wish mother will play with me rather then just sewing my cloths." Suddenly, the phone rang. Tim's mother put down her things and went to the teliphone. When his mother was gone, Tim looked into the basket.

Tim noticed a round thing with four holes. He mumbled, "Maybe it's a sweet, Yum." Tim took the button and ate eat. When he went look at his mother, he felt like he could not breathe propely. Tim held his neck and could not say a word.

Tim's mother saw what had happened. She hang up the call and dialed the ambulance.

"Quickly, please help me!" Tim's mother yelled. After a while, the ambulance brought them to the hospital.

When Tim and his mother reached the hospital, The doctor immediatly brought Tim in the X-ray room. The doctor was terrified when he saw the button. After two days, Tim was brought home with his mother. He had learnt his lesson. He promised his mother if that thing is a sweet or not.

Andre took a grand total of 1½ hours to write this, although he rushed to finish the last paragraph in 5 minutes cos he had to leave for badminton practice. You probably can tell from the incoherent last sentence. But I have to admit, I laughed myself silly at "Tim held his neck". I bet at that moment, Andre was feeling exactly like the boy in the picture! Too bad you can't give marks for entertainment value.

Lilian says maybe it's a boy thing, Brian is also a reluctant writer. I really don't know, some of my friends' sons seem to enjoy writing. Trying to work on ability is tough enough but I think the biggest obstacle with Andre is the lack of interest and motivation.

He did try to justify himself: "I don't like to write compositions because I don't want to be a typewriter." Well! That explains everything.


Lilian said...

LOLOL! His story is actually not bad considering his heart isn't even in it, as evidenced by, "took the button and ate eat." hahahahahaha! Jiak Jiak. And the last line is classic lah.

Can totally relate. Brian tells me to stop asking him to write a journal, "Mummy, you've been trying to get me to do that for years, and it hasn't worked, so why are you still trying?" Oh, and he'd do many, many, assessment papers of any subject if that meant not having to do a compo.

Anonymous said...

it's not a boy's thing lah. even B's niece is like that. then again, if u held a gun to my head and ask me to write oso i'd hmm + hummm + whinnnned.

i think it's the terrible combo of lackofmotivation + wilfulness. u haven't met my 4 year old niece, Kristin. my sister's kid. her stand-off with my parents now involves the toilet - as in, she screams n cries her way again, they put her in the toilet as punishment. so, she gives in... and when she was out at the void deck with the grandparents, she walked straight to the pet shop owner to say: "Uncle, i want to buy 2 fish." made grandpa coughed it up.

sorry to digress. but your son sounds like a total angel next to Kristin.

Rgds - kjj

monlim said...

JJ: Your niece is only 4 lah, give her a chance! Andre is 8 going on 9, he should know better. Sigh...

Lilian: Yalah, always thinking of food, this Andre! Oh yes, and he couldn't understand why it wasn't appropriate for the doctor to be "terrified". Basically he figured, throw in a few feelings to please me... If you ever stumble across a magic formula to get Brian interested in writing, let me know!

Alcovelet said...

Hahaha! This boy sure is dramatic! I have to say it's a rather ho-hum theme, but Andre managed to bring it to life with his descriptive writing.

But aiyo, to me, this is already fabulous. These days, I'll be happy if RK will write 5 words a week, and that's just copy work!!

monlim said...

Ad: I'm sure RK can write a fabulous breath-taking story... if he feels like it! Sigh... we're all struggling with motivational issues with our sons!

Anonymous said...

Noooooooooooooooo....daughters are the same! If I were to share, it would be a busload of them! LOL

Sometimes, just have to take it easy, I tell myself...otherwise it will cause me health problems, not her. LOLL...

Btw, my child just attempted a story writing homework given by her teacher. I was quite surprised at her "radical" approach. It was about a spoilt and disobedient child. Instead of learning her lesson through understanding the consequence of her actions, the spin in her tale was the girl eventually became good because she got what she wanted as a surprise gift.... I see what the teacher is going to say about her story.... :P


monlim said...

QX: Your dd has quite the imagination! I hope the teacher gives her a good score, it sure beats having to read the same old story 40 times...

eunice said...

Sean is the same. Vivid imagination but writes flat compositions. What Andre wrote is like something my dahlink son would have written. I had to laugh about the 1 essay a day thing. It's something I would have said

Anonymous said...

Mon, my dd is probably writing what she wants, not so much her imagination. She does not like to learn from consequence, tough..and she has to face it sometimes.

Also, given the circumstances that Andre wrote his story with the tears and all, I would say it was a good attempt. Think you would only get a piece of wet paper from my dd in the same situation. :)


elan said...

Its not all boys who hate to write. My older son spends ALL his time doing his writing assignments and going over them again and again over, I think its to avoid having to start his Math homework!

My younger one isn't that good with the boring picture compositions. Like you, I decided to set him some compositions to do this hols. First title we came up with : "The Park" - he came up with this long and very well written piece about aliens landing in a park and abducting a policeman LOL. Hey, at least it was well written though I don't know if it will pass muster at the PSLE.
After going to the Jurong Bird Park we asked him to write one titled "The Bird Park". I kind of expected the kind of story about a family going to the Bird Park and what they saw. However, this one was written from the point of view of a squad of pigeon "bombers" and how they liberated the birds that were enslaved at a Bird Park.
He used a wide vocabulary and it was written with panache and most importantly he did it very happily (actually gleefully would be the better word) and willingly. Of course, we "pretended" to be distressed that it wasn't what we expected but that made him all the happier to write another one.
Although the children do need to do some picture compositions, in the long run, getting them to love writing in the first place may be the key.
The other thing my sons do is write their own newspaper articles about their own soft toys football league which they publish complete with digital photos of their toys playing football. This is something they came up with themselves and not my idea at all. It teaches them how to write "factual" reports so I'm happy about that as well. Perhaps your boys can do something like that as well.

monlim said...

Elan: I don't know how many envious mothers there are reading your comment right now! How we wish our sons would love writing like yours. If Andre could write wonderfully about aliens landing in the park, I don't think I'd care whether it was suitable for PSLE or not :D

elan said...

No,no...I wasn't trying to make anyone envious. My point was that if you asked my son to write according to 4 boring pictures, he would come up with something like what Andre wrote.
However, if you give them a free hand to be creative and even "naughty" about it then you never know what might flow out from their pens. This is especially if they are allowed to write about something they love like football.
Get them to love writing first, then mould them to write for the PSLE later.

monlim said...

Elan: I think Andre just dislikes writing, exclamation mark! But it's a good idea, to separate the activity of writing from the exam component. I'll try it some time.

Lilian said...

Elan: Good advice re free hand and creativity...will take that on board...right after we're done with PSLE hehe :)

I think your boys probably have fantastic imagination, sophisticated vocabulary and a flair for writing. Wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that you have no tv at home? :)

elan said...

You're probably right about the no TV.
During the holidays, our favourite activity at night is for all 4 of us to grab a book and cuddle together under 1 quilt on our bed and read until someone falls asleep then send the kids to bed....sometimes it ends up after midnight!

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