Shelley Borrow Jackson:
- 原Bement School校长（任职16年）
问: When is the best time for children to study in the US, in boarding school or with their family, respectively? If the goal is for children to be truly bilingual, not only able to use the language, but has deep understanding of the culture, think in the second language and make true good friends?
答：Obviously, the earlier the better when it comes to language acquisition. With that in mind, a child who moves to the US before he or she is emotionally ready to do so will have far greater concerns than not being bilingual. There are many schools-- particularly junior boarding schools-- who will take students in middle school or late elementary years, provide them with ELL support, and have them ready to attend strong secondary schools.
问：What did you do to help children from another country to acknowledge, address and adjust culture difference? What the most effective method? What is IANY doing in this regard?
The schools who do this best make sure that the student can still find China within the new culture. This should include Chinese teachers and other Chinese students and their parents. They should see Chinese art on exhibit in the school, should find books with Chinese characters and settings in the library, and should have opportunities to eat familiar food. Traditional Chinese holidays should be recognized. It's very important for adults in the new school to model their own enthusiasm, respect, and interest in Chinese culture. IANY is careful to do these things at all times.
问：How to get children interested in reading (English) books when it is hard for them?
答：Choosing very engaging texts is critical. They should be visually appealing, have characters that the children can relate to, and have plots or story lines which are compelling. When at home, it is very important that children are reading books which are easy for them to read independently rather than at what we call an "instructional level." Easy books are where children really cement their fluency; it's where they take note of grammar structures (like capital letters and punctuation), learn to make their reading sound fluid and expressive, and where they take risks in phrasing, tone, speed, etc. Leave the more challenging and instructional reading to the teachers and in the classroom. This is actually the same advice we give all children who are learning to read in English as well.
问：What are the common mistakes you see parents make when raising bilingual children? What's your suggestion to avoid making them?
答：Don't second guess your decision to raise a bilingual child! If it's your family's language, stay true to it, and never let a school tell you that you should stop using it at home. If you've sent your child to a bilingual program and you don't speak that language, you can find many cultural activities in New York which can continue weekend opportunities for your child to use the target language. If you have any concerns about the child's ability to use the language outside of school, be sure to talk with your child's teachers. They can guide you to ways to extend the language beyond the school day if it is advisable.
问：You have worked at both boarding schools and now day schools. What types of children will thrive in boarding schools and what type of children do better in day schools?
答：The answer to this question really lies within each family and their readiness to allow a child to join a boarding community. The characteristics most boarding schools look for in their student body lie more in the social realm than the academic. They want students who are eager to make friends and to be a good friend. They want students who care about joining in community activities; a student who wants to study all weekend is typically not happy and not taking full advantage of boarding school life. Students should have proven that they're excited to try new activities and who accept that they are not yet "fully cooked."
问：Anything else you would like to share with Chinese parents?
答：I would only reiterate how important it is to look for the ways in which a school demonstrates genuine affection and respect for Chinese culture. Too many American schools are filling their ranks with Chinese students as revenue, rather than as cherished members of a school community.
问：What are the grades you are currently accepting applications? The International Academy is accepting students for Pre-Nursery (age two) through Grade 3. The school will add a grade each year until it reaches Grade 8.