肯特咨询集团双周简报
 
 
Bi-weekly Newsletter from KCG
 
 
Apr, 1st - 15th, 2013
 
 

简报介绍:肯特咨询集团双周简报致力于与您分享作为顶级教育咨询公司的优质服务和相关新闻,希望能够帮助您更多地了解关于肯特咨询的价值观和使命。

 
  Introduction: The bi-weekly newsletter from Kent Consultancy Group (KCG) is dedicated to share our news and best practices on serving customers as a top tier educational consulting firm. It is designed to assist you to understand more about the value propositions and mission of KCG.  
  对Lemelson-MIT发明团队项目的一些思考 -- 肯特咨询徐展  
 

Lemeson-MIT发明团队项目致力于为高中学生提供一个通过动手学习和实践进行创新发明的平台,并从长期的角度培养学校和学生群体中创新发明的氛围。作为MIT校友导师,我有幸在过去几年中参与了这个项目,并目睹其在在中国的建立和发展,在这里跟大家分享我的一些观察和思考。

● 动手学习能力vs. 学术学习能力
由于所有的项目参与者都来自于中国顶尖的高中,通常来说他们在课程学习和学业成就方面都很强。但这些学生在面临动手制作或者“工程制作”方面的挑战时,他们的表现就会跌到平庸甚至笨拙的水平。这点正是中国教育体制过分注重课堂和书本学习,而对动手学习能力培养的重视不足所带来的自然结果。理想的教育应该对于动手学习给予足够的重视,提供校内外多样化的课程和活动,例如手工、木工、烹饪和实验等,从小培养学生的动手能力。中国学生与西方学生在这方面的差异将会对他们的在校学业或未来职业生涯带来打击。

● 创意vs. 智慧
智慧通常更多是与一个人内在的才华或者能力相关,如数理逻辑智慧、音乐智慧、人际交往智慧等等。与智慧相比,创意的定义更为复杂,因为通常它是指相对于现实世界中已经存在的知识体系有明显区别或革新的新事物。
当一个新的想法、理论或发明从一个人的思维中产生后,它的革新或创意性需要得到客观世界的检验和评估。从这个角度讲,创造者应该对她的创意所针对的领域的发展状况非常熟悉。这对于从教育早期就几乎完全通过书本和课程获得知识、并被以中考和高考为中心的沉重的考试枷锁所压迫的中国学生而言,是一个尤其困难的挑战。从各种各样智慧评估角度来看,尤其是数学逻辑思维方面,那些学生脱颖而出。与中国教育体系所带来的很多影响一样,一些如音乐、运动以及人际交往等很多的智慧在当前的学校教育中都没有得到的充分发展,甚至被完全忽视。

● 领导力 vs. 团队合作
对于通常不经检验和把控地服从上级指示的政府官员而言,领导是一个非常特别的名称。权利带来的地位和利益使得大众对领导地位格外地推崇,而团队合作则侧重于强调遵守规矩。这种中国传统的对领导的概念很容易导致学生对其产生错误和片面的理解,即只看到领导带来的利益,而忽略了所需要承担的责任和面临的牺牲。 通常参与发明团队的学生在项目初期都会非常踊跃,表现出很强的兴趣,并在领导力和团队合作方面都有很好的表现。随着项目的进行,一些学生开始慢慢丧失兴趣甚至放弃。当然有很多原因导致这种现象的发生,比如反复地对项目进行评估和筛选所带来的挫败感。但我认为领导力在这个过程中有着非常关键的作用。如果团队没有一个有能力的团队领导,引领和激励队员在困难的时候依然保持投入和斗智,那么团队的激情会很快丧失。
然而,团队对领导力的呼吁在关键的时候几乎没有出现,更不必谈领导对这种呼吁的回应了。最后,团队领导往往只有一小部分追随者。既使在一个很小的团队中,团队合作程度也大多取决于团队领导的风格和偏好,而非取决于它是项目成功不可或缺的因素的认同。教师和导师的合理介入对学生在项目过程中在领导力和团队合作方面的成长有很好的帮助和指引作用。

 
  Some Reflections from Lemelson-MIT Inven Team Program -- Kent Xu  
 

The Lemelson-MIT Inven Team program is designed to provide an opportunity for high school students to go through invention process by hands-on learning, while encouraging an inventive culture in schools and communities long-term. Having participated its practice in China as alumni mentor for few years, I got some observations and reflections to share:

● Hands-on learning ability vs. Academic learning ability:
As participates are all from the top tier high schools in China, normally they are academically strong in terms of their learning ability and achievements. When it comes to their learning ability through hands-on exercise or “engineering”, they performances will drop down to mediocrity even to awkwardness. This is a very natural consequence of Chinese education system which always emphasizes overwhelmingly on learning through lecture and books, not paying enough attention on learning by hands-on “doing”. An ideal education will pay adequate attention on the experiences of learning by doing and provide courses or activities like craft, carpenter, culinary, various lab courses in and out of schools from young age to train students’ hands. The differences between Chinese trained students and western trained students in this regard strike people either at school education level or at their later career performances.

● Creativity vs. Intelligence:
In comparing with intelligences, which is more related to personal inborn talents or capacity like logic-mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence etc., creativity is more complex to define as it is normally assessed against existing knowledge under the real world environments whether there is something novel or essentially different.
Whether a new idea, a theory or an invention comes out just from one's mind or pondering, at the end, it has to be tested and judged by the world in terms of its novelty or creativity. At this regard, a creator should be familiar with what it is going on in the existing world specifically in the areas he or she would attempt something innovatively. This requirement is particularly difficult for Chinese students to meet when they are trained mainly through books, lectures from very beginning and have been so much sucked up by various tests, especially by Zhong Kao and Gao Kao. By any measurement of all kinds of intelligences, especially for logic-mathematical, those students stands out from normality. As other by-products of Chinese educational preferences, some intelligence like musical, bodily-kinesthetic, and interpersonal intelligences are largely ignored or at least under-developed in schools.

● Leadership vs. Teamwork:
Leader is a very specific term when referring to the government officers who normally opposes super power without check and control. Given its superiority on power and related benefits, leaders' position is adored by publics while teamwork spirit is underscored as following rules. This traditional Chinese concept about leader and teamwork can easily trap students into misunderstanding the leadership only from its beneficial parts without seeing its sacrifice and cost.
Typically students will enthusiastically engage in the InvenTeam project at first few stages, showing their strong desire for participation and contribution both from leadership and teamwork sides. With the process of the project, the number of the students drop and same does the passion. There are, of course, many reasons for that. For instance, the back and forth frustrations on screening and selecting new ideas. But, from my perspective, here leadership and teamwork play very important role as well. Without an effective group leader and full engaging of each member with teamwork atmosphere in this difficult time, the interest and enthusiasm can be easily worn out.
The calls for leadership at this critical moment are rarely seen, not less to say the calls be answered. Finally, the group leader plays together only with very few followers. Even in this small-size team, teamwork spirit is largely defined by the leader’s style and preference, not by its essential value as an indispensable component for any success of a project. Appropriate intervention from teachers and mentors will coach and help students going through this learning process on leadership and teamwork.

 
  关于如何修改个人陈述的几点观察?  
 

个人陈述又被称为“大学申请书”或者“目的陈述”。个人陈述在申请海外大学的本科及研究生课程的时候起着至关重要的作用。在完成了一篇个人陈述初稿之后,申请者需再次回顾他们的一些独特的经历以及令人印象深刻的故事。一般而言,个人陈述的修改可以分为三个步骤:第一步,起草具有原创性的文章。第二步,语言修改,句子结构调整以及统计字数。第三步,通过叙述故事为申请者树立一个鲜活的形象。这些故事需要经过精心筛选,选择有令人印象深刻的场景,挖掘申请者背后的一些独特的经历,并自然地将其融入文章当中,这样可以让个人陈述更加有说服力。以下是关于如何修改个人陈述的几点观察。

1. 避免陈词滥调
申请者需要多次校正个人陈述。初稿一般是作者的一些直观的感受和最直接的观念,通常会包括如“我是谁”“我来自哪里”“我在目前就读的学校的学术学习情况怎样”之类的问题。然而,然而,这篇初稿并不完整,并且缺少了一些深度。
申请者们在写个人陈述的时候最常犯的问题之一就是他们没有很周密地,具有分析性地将自己的特点展示出来。招生委员希望看到有趣的个人陈述,品味具有深刻见解及揭示性且与众不同的内容,他们更青睐看到学生通过深刻的自我反省和思考展示出一系列深刻独特的故事和个人形象。换言之,招生办希望看到一些独特的、个性化的以及具有分析性的内容。学生应该比以往更具辩证性地来评估自己的生活,也可以将自己极少与他人分享的事情写进个人陈述中。

2. 语言与句子结构的校对
对大多数中国学生来说,个人陈述里的语言及句子结构不可能做到毫无瑕疵。在此阶段,一些错误的语言表达以及句子结构都需要进行仔细的校对。因此,申请者需要格外严谨的对待其个人陈述中出现的语言问题,并仔细更正。如果有必要,可以请其他朋友帮忙检查。
此外,一篇个人陈述的段落结构在很大程度上也决定了文章是否出众。经过几次修改后,语言问题得以更正,但一些段落结构的小瑕疵可能会被不经意地忽略。合理的框架结构往往可以从其首段内容体现出来,因为通过阅读首段,读者可以预先判断文章的吸引程度。总之,在开始起草文章前需要进行谋篇布局,尽量避免一些累赘的内容。倘若没有做好文章的修改工作,那么申请者的优势有可能变成劣势。

3. 讲故事
把个人陈述的写作当成是写一个故事。如果一个学生可以写出一些相比其他竞争者较为新鲜、生动、与众不同的内容,那么他/她就成功了一半。但是申请者必须就事论事,并将自己最真实的一面展示出来。例如描写生活中让其难以忘怀的,具有重大意义的,或者最有趣的一些瞬间,这都可以成为个人陈述的良好写作素材。
可是,最忌讳的一点是,学生们在个人陈述中所提及到的故事千篇一律,让招生委员会提不起兴趣。因此,学生需要在家人和朋友的帮助下仔细地回顾生活当中的一些小细节,并找到能展示自己与职业目标相关联的特点的那一个特殊场景或者瞬间。请始终谨记,个人陈述里面最重要的一点是挖掘学生们身上独特的优势和特点并恰到好处地用文字展示出来。在修改个人陈述时,需要精心斟酌和筛选需要表达的内容。

 
  Observations on Personal Statement Revision  
 

Personal Statement is also called "application essays" or "statements of purpose." It is of great importance when applying for undergraduate or postgraduate admissions in overseas universities. Having a personal statement drafted, applicants are well-recommended to take a seriously reflect on their unique experience and impressive stories before finalization. Generally speaking, there are three layers for personal statement revision. The first layer is applicants’ original writing. Modification on language, structure and word count etc. is the second layer. The third one is to present applicants’ vivid image by story-telling which is carefully selected impressive scenario, digging out his/her own unique experience behind, and naturally writing something in the follow to support the whole article. There are certain observations which will be helpful for personal statement revision.

1. Avoiding Cliché
Normally, it’s a better idea for applicants to do several times of proofreading in regard to their personal statements by themselves. The first draft usually presents intuitive feelings of their first-hand perspectives, involving questions like “Who am I”, “Where do I come from”, “What is my academic study situation at school” etc. This draft, however, is incomplete and not in-depth at some point.
Instead, one of the major problems is that many applicants fail to take a thorough and analytical look at themselves and their objectives when they are drafting their personal statements. Admission committees are looking for interesting, insightful, revealing, and non-generic statements which suggest students have successfully gone through a process of careful self-reflection and self-examination. In other words, committees are expecting something unique, personal and analytical. Trying to assess their lives more critically than usual and present information rarely shared with others will be helpful for students.

2. Revision on Language and Structure
For most Chinese applicants, personal statement sometimes cannot be perfectly written in terms of language and structure of course. Therefore language problems and structure arrangement need careful revision at this stage. The applicants are suggested to be more meticulous about their language in their personal statements, proofread their essays carefully and have others help them on proofreading if necessary.
Furthermore, whether a personal statement is outstanding or not is largely determined by its paragraph structures at some point. Applicants may be aware of the language errors they might have made after proofreading but structural flaws would be carelessly neglected by some of them. A good structure often comes with a good opening paragraph, because you would either grab their attention or lose it at the very beginning. Try not making the sentence structure too redundant but well-arranged before writing up. Any failure to do the revision well may be disastrous in lacking traits of an applicant.

3. Story-telling
Think of the personal statement in the terms of writing a story. If an applicant could write something that is fresh, lively, and different, to put themselves ahead of other applicants, he/she has already gained half success. Yet, being truthful and sticking to the facts is the core thing he/she needs to take care of, significant dramas or interesting moments that make him/her unforgettable in his/her life could be the best backups in their statements.
However, one of the worst things applicants might do with their stories in personal statements is to bore the admissions committee. Thus reviewing their lives very carefully with help from family or friends is strongly recommended. Find out a scenario or a moment that could reveal an unusual aspect related to their professional goals. To some extent, what is the most important about a personal statement is what other priorities are behind you and how you are going to put them! Just be selective about what you are going to tell in the personal statements.

 
  决定最终就读学校的几点建议  
 

经过一整年的辛勤耕耘,从参加SAT/托福考试,到起草申请短文和个人陈述,再到于截止日期前提交最后确认的申请材料,收获的时刻终于来了。二月至四月期间,从世界各地寄来的录取通知书是对于在过去几年中不懈努力的学生的特别嘉奖。

许多学生在兴奋之余也会对犹豫不决,不知道哪所学校最适合自己。排名往往是不错的参考标准,但排名最好的学校并非是最适合的学校。在学生及家长已有的信息基础上,这里有几点建议帮助学生和家长选出合适的学校。

排名:一个学校的综合排名和学科排名在很大程度上代表着它的声望、学术水平及公众认可度。当面对拥有10项或更多项排名的学校,学生可以自信地选择排名考前的学校。如果学生对于排名靠后的学校在具体某个方面的教学或研究感兴趣,那也是不错的选择。

学术水平:评估学校是否适合自己,学术水平是另外一个关键因素。就寄宿高中来说,AP课程开设的数量意味着学生是否能有更多机会去挑战自我、取得更多学业成就。不过,一些不提供AP课程的学校依然值得考虑,比如帕特尼中学。尽管她并不提供AP课程,但她拥有着独一无二的教学方法。此外,考察毕业生的大学录取情况也很重要。如果一所学校被顶尖大学录取的毕业生越多,那么该校进入优秀学院及大学就读的可能性也就越大。另外,若目标学校的优势领域与学生的所选专业相匹配,并能提供更多相关课程就更理想了。

学校规模:学校规模的大小会关系到学生的整体校园生活。拥有1000名学生以上的高中或超过10000名学生的大学可被称为是“大学校”。这些学校通常拥有更大占地面积、更合理的师生比率和更大的班级规模,同时也能提供更多样化的校园活动。而另一方面,较小学校里的学生往往能够与老师和同学建立起更为亲密的人际关系。总的来说,学生可根据自己的喜好来选择不同规模的学校。

文化:找到拥有适合自己的文化氛围的学校,会让学生的校园生活更加愉快并有助于他们个人未来发展。比方说,有的学校注重培养学生的优秀学术能力,有的学校更侧重为有着不同职业发展规划的学生提供平等的教育机会。有的学校(多为高中)在着装上要求严格,需要学生每天穿着正式的校服,而另外一些学校则允许穿便装,学生有更多空间去选择着装。

地理位置:地理位置决定学校所在地区的整体环境,包括政治、经济社会条件、治安状况和气候等。良好的地区社会治安条件永远都是每个家庭第一考虑的要素。而就气候来说,常春藤联盟名校的候选学生或许已经对湿冷而且时有风暴的冬天有所准备,立志去南加州的学生则或许迫不及待地想要享受一年超过300天的加州阳光。考虑到行业集聚发展因素,纽约市或伦敦可能会吸引更多想学习金融的学生,而IT精英则多会将北加州作为首选。

历史:历史悠久的学校通常意味着这个学校有着优质教育资源的传承,学生能受益匪浅。成立较早的高中往往积聚了更多资源,比如经验丰富的教职工队伍、更多的课外俱乐部和校内外活动。他们的名望也会在申请优秀大学时对学生有所帮助。

除此以外,与目标学校的内部人员充分沟通有助于帮助学生了解学校。学生可以尝试与学校的教职工人员联系,询问自己感兴趣或不了解的问题。同时,与在校学生或者家长交流能够获得真实的学校生活体验。正如大家所知道的,更加全面的信息会让学生更有可能找到他们最合意的学校。

 
  Suggestions on Final Decision for Matriculation  
 

With almost a full year of endeavor of application, from taking SAT / TOEFL tests, to writing essays and personal statements, to rushing to submit the final packages before deadline, finally, the season of harvest comes. From early February to April, acceptance letters fly in from different corners of the world. They are the best awards for the students’ hard work during their past years.

While being excited, many students might also debate in mind to make their final choices. Ranking seems to be good criteria, but students are still not sure whether the best ranking school is the best one for them. Besides various information and experience collected by students and parents already, some more suggestions would be shared on selecting the Mr. Right school.

Ranking: A school’s overall and by-subject rankings to a large extent represent its reputation, academic strength, and public recognition. Students could be confident to choose the higher ranked ones when facing schools with either 10 or more ranks aside. Lower ranked schools could also be some students’ good choices if they have particular interests in specific aspects of the schools.

Academics: Academic program is another key factor to evaluate a right school. As for boarding school, the number of AP courses indicates the chances that students could have to challenge themselves and gain even greater academic achievement. Noticeably, few high schools do not offer AP courses like the Putney School which is an exception due to her unique teaching methodology. Besides, graduate placement is considered important as well. Usually, more graduates enrolled by top tier schools would guarantee higher possibilities of current students being accepted by decent colleges or universities. Additionally, schools with strong academic program related to the student’s major field would be highly recommended.

Size: School size would have impact on the overall campus life that a school offers. “Big schools”, such as a high school with more than 1000 students or a university with more than 10000, usually have bigger campus size, higher student-teacher ratio, and larger class size. They could also provide greater variety of activities. On the other hand, students in smaller schools would have more opportunities to develop closer relationships with classmates and teachers. The choice depends on students’ personal preferences.

Culture: Finding a school with suited culture could help students have a more pleasant campus life and also contribute to their future ambitions. For example, some schools focus on developing students’ academic potentials and performance, while some try to offer equal study opportunities for students with different career plans. Some schools are more rigorous and might require formal school uniforms everyday (mostly for high schools), while some tend to be more casual and allow more space in student styling.

Location: The location implies general environment including politics, economics, social environment, safety and climate. Descent public safety conditions always come first in every family’s choice. Take climate for example, candidates for Ivy Leagues schools would have noticed the alert of cold wet winters with storms while prospective students going to southern California might look forward to their 300+ sunshine days per year. For economic/industrial concerns, New York City or London might be more appealing to the students studying in finance, while IT elites would probably put northern California on top of their priority list.

History: Schools that rich in history indicate excellent education heritages which students could be beneficial from. For example, early founded high schools might have accumulated more resources including expert academic staff, various extracurricular clubs and activities on and off campus. Their superb reputation also speaks volume when students applying to top universities.

In addition, full and effective interactions with people who are inside the intended schools are found really helpful. Students could feel free to contact the school faculties and ask questions they are interested in or not clear yet. Specifically, making connections with current students or even their parents would provide vivid and practical sense of real life at the school. As we know, more comprehensive knowledge about the school indicates better chances for students to find their best matches.

 
  对中国海外留学生的一些建议  
 

对于出国留学的体验,人们的评价各不相同,或是“有趣,很值得”,或是“无聊,没意义”。从很大程度上讲,度过海外求学生活的方式是决定这一差异的最主要因素之一。就这点,这里与中国留学生分享一些小建议。

打败优柔寡断和焦躁不安的情绪、尽可能多的开口说话
很多人对于中国留学生有这样一种成见:太保守、太安静、总是担心因答错题而丢脸。现在正是时候打破成见了!这其实是一个自我引导的过程,正如赛德灵格(音译,Sidelinger)所说:学生需要开发他们个性中的“积极主动性”(主动积极的意愿)以及学术自控力(对学术成就和挫折的责任心和承担力)。 事实上,积极参与课堂学习和与老师互动的学生更容易在学习上取得成功,展示较高的学业成就和积极的个人成长经历。值得注意的是,学生应当不断调整自我预期,以在学习过程中找到最佳心理状态。

挖掘并充分利用身边资源
在西方教育中,学业表现并不是唯一的重点,这对于留学生来讲无疑是个好消息。丰富的可利用资源可通过学校或当地教育机构轻易获得。以英国高校为例,几乎所有的英国顶尖大学均为学生提供专业入门指南课程,涵盖的内容有:如何使用图书馆、如何了解你的专业、同专业高年级在校生或往届毕业生建议等等。此外,多数大学会举办针对迎接新生的迎新活动。通过这类安排,新生可以报名参加各种活动。这些活动会在不同月份举行,丰富了学生的生活。如“本地连线”(并受邀到访当地英国人,结识朋友并一起享用晚餐)、“国际学生咖啡馆”(社交活动,通过这一活动结交朋友并练习英语口语)、“与英国人一起庆祝圣诞及新年”(短途旅行到学校附近的城市,入住当地英国人家中,与他们一起庆祝圣诞及新年)、学生会组织活动(学业帮助和咨询,短途旅行,电影,社团)、由学校或当地政府组织的大型体育活动等。充分发掘你周围的资源,燃烧你的热情,尽可能地充实你的留学生活吧!

 
  Heads-ups on Overseas Study for Chinese International Students  
 

Reflections on studying abroad could be widely different and vary from person to person, being assessed as either interesting and rewarding or boring and meaningless. One of the most critical determiners of the different perceptions, to a great extent, is the way one spends their overseas life. Here are multiple heads-ups for Chinese international students in this regard.

Fight the negative second thoughts and anxiety; Speak as much as you can
There’s been a dominating stereotype about Chinese international students that they are often reserved, quiet, and worried about losing face for wrong answers. It’s the time to break down the stereotype! Breaking the stereotype is like a self-directed process as Sidelinger (2010) stated, students need to develop their characteristics of “proactivity” (willing to take active initiative) and academic locus of control (take responsibility for academic achievements and failures). In fact, students who are involved in classroom and with the teachers are pretty apt to learn and succeed and demonstrate high levels of learning gain and positive personal growth. In particular, students should continuously adjust their self expectations to find the ideal mentality in the process.

Explore resources around you, make full use of them
The good news for international students is that academic performance is not the only thing being valued in Western education. Rich resources are available and can be easily accessed through school or local educational organizations. Take British universities for example, almost all top universities in UK provide induction courses for academic learning, involving how to use library, how to understand your subject, and suggestions from senior students or graduates in the same subject etc. Besides, welcome programme for new students would be held by most universities to sign new students for local events which is organised on monthly basis, enriching your life from month to month. Those events include “Local Link” (meet local people, and be invited to join them in their home for a meal), “International Cafe” (social event to make friends and practise English), “Christmas and New Year Celebrating with Local People” (travel to other cities beyond your university city and celebrate XMS and New Year with local people there), Student Union events (academic helps and consulting, short trip, movie, clubs), big sports events held by either schools or local councils and so on. Explore resources around you and burn your passion to live your overseas life to the fullest!

 
  谢谢!  
  Thank you for your time!  
  若需了解肯特咨询详细情况,请立刻联系我们:  
  For more information, please feel free to contact us:  
  深圳市肯特咨询有限公司  
  Shenzhen Kent Consultancy Co. Ltd.  
  地址: 中国广东省深圳市南山区海德三道海岸城东座1507  
  Add:1507,Eastern Block,Coastal Building,Third Haide Road.Nanshan District,Shenzhen,Guangdong Province,P.R.China  
  P.C. : 518054              Tel : 86270330              Fax : 86270377  
  http://www.kentcg.com      Email : Xiaohong.qian@kentcg.com