SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

May 2016

Does your child feel unmotivated to study? A mother did THIS and her child is now transformed!

You hear stories of children who go home after school and do their homework without being nagged at. They revise for tests and exams without being nagged at. They seek help when they do not comprehend a concept, and work at a problem until they have solved it and understood it fully. It’s not a myth. Children like these do exist, and your child can be like them too. Do you find that hard to believe? We did too, until we met Diane Teo and her daughter Celestine Ng. Celestine failed Maths in Primary 4, but achieved an ‘A’ for the subject in her PSLE. Diane tells us their story.


Diane Teo, 41, is an account director. Her daughter Celestine Ng, 13, is a Year 1 student of Visual Arts at the School Of The Arts (SOTA).

“Celestine had poor study skills and no focus. Her grades were borderline for Maths and she failed her mid-year examinations in Primary 4. She was too shy to ask questions in class because she was afraid of being mocked. She had a fear of failure and a lack of confidence. She was unmotivated and studied only to please me, her mother.

On top of poor school work, she lacked focus and had no idea what she wanted to achieve in life. She had Math, Science and Chinese tuition, once a week for each except Math, which she had twice a week as the exams neared.

But she was totally engrossed with gaming. She spent three to four hours a day on Growtopia and Youtube and practically had her phone with her 24/7, apart from sleeping hours. She lost her focus and concentration and had no academic or personal goals to achieve.


Last year, when she was in Primary 6, I signed her up for I Am Gifted!. It was a five-day camp during the June holidays, from 9 am to 6 pm each day. I was encouraged by my insurance agent who had sent her daughter to this programme and seen a dramatic change in her. I attended the two-hour pre-seminar talk and was convinced that this is what Celestine needed.

Celestine was reluctant at first and frowned when she found out about the length of the camp. She did not think the course would benefit her in any way and perceived it as a course for “poor students” to go to. I told her how her current issues would adversely affect her future, especially in her PSLE year. I also mentioned some interesting activities they would do with her while I attended the pre-course seminar. Come to think of it, it wasn’t much of a negotiation. I told her she needed it.

How the Course Turned Celestine Around

She was skeptical and didn’t think the five days would be worth her time. On top of that, she did not know anyone there, so she wasn’t very excited on the first day. At the camp, they were taught concepts like E+R=O (Event + Reaction = Outcome). This idea of this is that if they do nothing in a given situation, they cannot influence the outcome they want to achieve.

By the end of the five days, Celestine was totally motivated and upbeat about things, and even had goals that she had set for the PSLE. She was also determined to realise her dreams to pursue art at a tertiary level. I had never seen her so transformed before!

Her school prelim results were a good representation of what the programme had done for her. She scored 83 for Maths, her highest ever! (Previously she was a C grade, and she failed her P4 mid-year Maths exam). Because of that, she won a Best Progress Award for her class in P6. That was a proud moment for both of us! Her teachers were amazed at how she managed to pick up her grades and our relationship improved tremendously.

The course has given her a fresh perspective of what she wants to achieve in life; it taught her many effective study skills and how to set measurable goals and work towards attaining them.

Working Towards Her Goal

We had attended the SOTA (School of the Arts) open house and that was when she decided that this was the place she wanted to be. (Her dream is to pursue art at tertiary level.) We worked very closely with her art teacher and she spent her weekends and after-school hours putting together a portfolio for the DSA (Direct School Admission) interviews.

I was amazed at how much she managed to accomplish in just 2.5 weeks. Usually other students take months or even years to prepare their portfolio. She was shortlisted among more than 260 applicants, and accepted. Only 80 students were enrolled into the Visual Arts programme in 2016.

The programme made her more determined to do well in the PSLE in order to get into SOTA. Although she knew the cut-off point for entry to SOTA was only 200, I encouraged her to aim higher. She eventually got 212 (2’A’s and 2’B’s).

Celestine chose sunflowers as her theme for her portfolio because she knew that I love them. She also made a clay sunflower to complete the collection. She handled the questions from the panel well during the interview. To my surprise, she wasn’t nervous at all. In fact she was pretty confident throughout the whole process. I believe is one of the take-aways from the I Am Gifted! course.


Learning to Never Give Up

The coaches at I Am Gifted! were genuinely dedicated and met up with Celestine just before her PSLE when she felt like giving up due to the pressure. She had started to lose focus and momentum before the PSLE and I wanted her coach to encourage her and reignite the passion within her again. He spoke to Celestine for close to an hour and she felt better after the talk. The course coordinator also talked to me to help me manage my expectations and advised how I should handle her emotions during this stressful period. It helped us both.

Now, in her studies, Celestine tries her level best in all subjects. She has started to ask more questions in class. She has discovered her talent in art, and set her mind to pursue her dreams and make them reality.”

Feature image: Diane Teo, taken in London/Paris in November 2015. “A trip as a reward from me to her for doing well and making it into SOTA!”

If you are interested in I Am Gifted!, attend an Introductory Workshop on one of the dates below!

Date         7 – 8 May (Sat & Sun) | 14 – 15 May (Sat & Sun)
Time        2pm-5pm
Venue      Lifelong Learning Institute, 11 Eunos Road 8, 408601

Date          21 – 22 May (Sat & Sun) | 28 – 29 May (Sat & Sun) | 4 – 5 Jun (Sat & Sun)
Time         3pm-6pm
Venue      51 Cuppage Road (Old Starhub Centre), #06-16 Singapore 229469


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Does your child feel unmotivated to study? A mother did THIS and her child is now transformed!