“Why are your Chinese flashcards different from others?”
“Why are there no pictures in your flashcards?”
“Can children learn better without pictures?”
These are some of the questions we often encounter regarding our flashcards.
Yes, YelaoShr® Chinese flashcards do not contain any picture but only words―a unique feature that set us apart from other learning centres, giving us the leading edge in helping young learners to read.
Most Chinese flashcards in the market come with pictures to help teachers give hints to students when they learn how to read a word. A picture is usually placed next to a word to suggest its meaning. It purportedly facilitates teaching as teachers can use the picture to explain the meaning of a word. Such method is often said to improve literacy and hailed as the latest learning development. On the contrary, we see this approach as counterproductive, affecting children’s ability to recognize words.
Chinese words are essentially pictographic writing. It is one of the few languages in the world that promotes right brain development. Chinese characters appear as beautiful images for children who have yet learned to read in the language. Adding pictures to Chinese words is therefore unnecessary.
Using flashcards with pictures so that teachers can provide hints or meaning of a word from the picture actually impedes effective learning. The disadvantage of this method is that children won’t be able to grasp the strokes of the Chinese characters correctly. They may be able to recall the shape and pronunciation of a word but fail to remember every stroke accurately. This defeats the ultimate purpose of learning to read and write in Chinese.
At YelaoShr® Creative Learning Centre, we use Chinese flashcards that contain only words and do not use pictures as hints. Such approach ensures that teachers employ their creativity in teaching young learners to recognize and pronounce words. This poses a great challenge to our teaching staff. Hence, our teachers are professionally trained and experienced. Children learning Chinese with pictureless flashcards can master pronunciation and remember every stroke better, thus helping them to write correctly.
In addition to Chinese flashcards, most Malay and English flashcards also come with pictures. The main purpose of using pictures in flashcards is none other than stimulating the right brain for better learning results. However, unlike the pictographic Chinese words, Malay and English words are formed from phonetic letters, thus making the method fundamentally flawed.
Malay and English words are not pictographic writing. Therefore, putting Malay and English words in flashcards to teach reading is no different from conventional method of teaching children to read from a printed page. It fails to take full advantage of flashcard learning method. It should not be even called as flashcard method. To put it plainly, such approach in teaching Malay and English literacy only encourages children to memorize the words. It regresses to conventional rote learning.
YelaoShr® Malay & English Literacy Programmes emphasize pragmatic and long-term results. As Malay and English words are composed of phonetic letters, we focus on suku kata and phonics to teach children how to pronounce the words. Only when children have mastered them, we will then move on to using flashcards with pictures (as per samples of English flashcards shown below).
Picture left shows a flashcard with a picture to stimulate the right brain of young learners. Picture right is flashcards used to help children learn Malay and English.
Only when children have built a strong foundation in phonics can they read, comprehend and write correctly in a breeze.
Life is full of joy when one learns to read and write!