NEWS AND INSIGHT
Two weeks ago, I received a WeChat message from a friend who has rich experience in her career. She introduced a workshop to me which encouraged teenagers in self-exploration and dream-seeking. Since it fits the needs of my 19-year old daughter who is in her freshman year in Canada, my friend invited her to participate. Later in that evening, I sent relevant information to my daughter and asked for her opinions. Surprisingly, my daughter immediately agreed to join the workshop the next day. As a freshman who just started her journey of knowledge seeking in Canada, she notably desired to explore her strength and interest, as well as her goal and aspiration. It was undoubtedly a precious chance for her to spend her summer in Shanghai while learning at the same time. She felt so fortuitous that, without any hesitation, she enrolled in the workshop cheerfully. From my perspective, I have been discussing future plans and aspiration with my daughter throughout the summer. I believe that this opportunity catered for both the needs of my daughter and me. As a result, the suggestion from my credible friend was adopted.
Before the workshop – 1 on 1 contact
After applying to the program, my friend provided my contact to the tutor. One day, while I was waiting at the airport lounge, a phone call from the tutor was received. It was a means for the organizer to gain deeper understanding on the participants’ parents. We chatted for half an hour, she introduced clearly the objectives of the course, whereas I in turn shared the personal information and expectations of my daughter. With this basic comprehension, I believed the organizer would be able to formulate and establish a suitable program for my daughter. This, however, was a stage to gain a thorough acquaintance on consumers’ demand, with my participation involved. When we ended our phone conversation, the tutor got my daughter’s and my contact, hence she further invited my daughter and I to join a student group and a parent group in WeChat respectively. It marked the beginning of our online interaction.
Questionnaire before the workshop
It was later known that the course constituted a system invented by Profiles International in the United States, namely the Pathway Planner. It was invented based on the results of a twenty-year research study, evaluating students’ thinking, behavior traits, and occupational interest comprehensively from 20 dimensions. Furthermore, it was regarded as the most comprehensive career assessment system in terms of investigation dimensions. As a result, students were required to spend more than an hour to complete a questionnaire. My daughter understood the importance of completing the questionnaire, hence she actively and effectively cooperated with the arrangement, which was an important stage in information collection.
Parents’ Interaction in WeChat Group
Before the workshop started, I was invited to join a WeChat group named Pathway Parents’ group. The group consisted of 43 people including the main speaker, tutors and parents who were all positive towards the workshop. Since I was worried that the information I provided at the airport was not specific enough for the tutor, I decided to communicate with the tutor using private messages in WeChat. To emphasize the importance of my expectation, I reiterated my expectation towards the workshop.
On Saturday morning, the tutors, happy and enthusiastic, expressed their passion in the WeChat group. It earned applause and encouragement from parents, and filled the start of the workshop with positive energy!
Actually, it was the first time for me to participate in an event through WeChat group. Despite absence from the scene, I could still grasp a rough perception from the real-time broadcast, illustrated by both pictures and words. It did not only introduce the environment of the workshop but also the content of the course. I always believe that the higher the participation, the greater reward can be earned from an activity. Therefore, I often interacted with other parents in the WeChat group, and privately asked the tutor for more information regarding my daughter’s performance. When the tutor sent me a photo showing my daughter’s bright smile, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. It may be the best online to offline experience I have ever experienced!
Learn from Games
The workshop was full of joy as it was not operated in an ordinary classroom setting, but in the means of group games. It includes but not limited to origami, tangram, and debate competitions. They aimed at enhancing students’ communication and coordination skills, as well as letting them experience win-win cooperation, and boosting their perseverance and self-esteem. Through learning in games, children could gain profound experience. It was undoubtedly an effective way of learning, and a lesson of life to both parents and children.
In the next afternoon, parents were invited to the workshop on-site. We were given an opportunity to participate in part of the workshop and the graduation ceremony. After exchanging our ideas in the WeChat group for one and a half days, we parents were more familiar with one another, hence we had a fervent atmosphere in that afternoon. To my surprise, the tutors played some splendid video clips, reflecting children’s empathy, as well as their intention to understand more about their parents and improve the parent-child relationship. It gave me a feeling that the course was not only limited to career planning but also included an all-rounded lesson of life.
The best part, in my opinion, was when the children were asked to share their life’s blueprints with all of us. Five children with their unique characteristics reviewed their past experience and anticipated the future in their heart of hearts. At the same time, their parents listened to their stories and responded wholeheartedly. Their stories later recalled my memories with my daughter; we went through similar stages where she faced doubt towards her growth and future, and encountered argument with parents. Imagining the scenes which portray the hugging between mother and daughter as well as the encouragement between father and son was so impressive that I could not help crying. After that, deeper mutual understanding between parents and children was established, and through sincere communication, we could grow up with each other.
After the workshop: Reflection and Effective Follow-up
Several days after the workshop, many thoughts came surging into my mind. I started reflecting on my life, my interpersonal relationships and had more in-depth communication with my daughter. She said that she was thankful to the tutors who opened a door for her and led her into a new world. Through that, she was given an opportunity to recognize her own potential and strength, and to perceive that the future represents unlimited possibility. For me, I realized the importance of respect, acceptance and trust in parent-child relationships. I should treat my daughter as an adult, allowing her to explore the world and be rest assured.
On the other hand, I was grateful for the tutor to date us for an afternoon tea after the end of the workshop. In a relaxed atmosphere, we had a pleasant chat in our feelings, attainment, and future blueprint. It was an instructive gathering which I again would like to thank the tutor for his effort.
It is nearly the end of the summer vacation; my daughter is going to continue her studies in Canada. I wish nothing but for this workshop to plant a seed profoundly in her heart, which blossoms and yields fruits in the near future. As a satisfied consumer, I also hope that more parents and children can benefit from the workshop.