Welcome, everyone! Today, we have a very special guest, Angel Kuang, the founder of Inspiration Learning Center. I am Jeremy Golan, and in addition to my work with Inspiration, I am also a registered wedding officiant and chaplain. Angel and I have a unique dynamic – we often joke about our cultural differences and combine our perspectives to create a welcoming and creative work environment for our students. In fact, our efforts were recently recognized when we won a diversity award from the Government of Ontario. It is clear that we have been doing something right and we’re excited to share more about it with you today. So without wasting any valuable time, let’s dive in and explore!
Jeremy: Hi Angel! Let’s start by talking about the differences between the Eastern and Western education systems, primarily the difference between China and Canada (or the United States). Could you elaborate a bit and fill in our audience?
Angel: Yes, of course. The Eastern education system emphasizes repetition and exam preparation, while the Western system focuses more on creativity and critical thinking. As cliche as it sounds, both worldviews have unique ideological profiles and are best suited for specific circumstances. Having a wider reference allows you to find creative solutions and so forth.
Jeremy: That’s a great point. I know that Inspiration Learning Center has helped many students achieve admission to elite private schools and universities. What is your approach to working with families who are new to Canada and the competitive nature of these institutions?
Angel: We act as advocates for immigrant families, helping them navigate the education (and social) system and to connect with other youngsters. We take care of all of the formalities and make each transition as easy as possible. This can mean different things for different people but that is why we make such an effort in getting to know our families inside and out.
Jeremy: That’s really fascinating stuff. As you know, I am Jewish and come from a completely different part of the world as you. What have you learned over the years about the similarities between Jewish and Chinese culture?
Angel: Both cultures value education and family, and place a strong emphasis on hard work and achievement. We’ve found that these shared values help us connect with families from diverse backgrounds and build strong relationships.
Jeremy: Canada is such a wonderful place to study, with a focus on creativity and innovation. Why do you think the Canadian education system fosters these qualities?
Angel: Canada has a strong tradition of supporting tech innovation and research. As well, there are so many top-tier schools here. In fact, many people joke that McGill is Canada’s Harvard. Adding to our social fabric, we come from diverse cultures, religions and situations. This allows us to be more creative and empathetic in general.
Jeremy: I think that you have driven the point home. Canada is a large country with vew few people. In fact, we are actively working to increase our population and boost our economy.How do you see Inspiration Learning Center contributing to the Canadian education system (and culture)?
Angel: We’re focused on helping students dream big and achieve their full potential, which in turn will help them contribute to the economy and society. Even if they felt excluded in the past we let them know that they are wanted and have a role in the future of the country. This goes beyond just our students but also trickles down to everyone in our social circles.
Jeremy: That’s interesting. Speaking of one-on-one time with teachers, some studies suggest that students in smaller classes tend to achieve higher marks. Why do you think that is?
Angel: Yes, that is true, without a doubt. When there are fewer students in the class, teachers are able to give more individualized attention to each student. This means that they can tailor the material to that specific student, addressing their barriers and strong areas. Rather than feeling ashamed to ask questions infront of a group, our students have access to the teacher exclusively during their session.
Jeremy: That makes sense. Another focal point is the role of report cards and how they connect to a student’s sense of worth. While a bad grade can cause some negative emotion, perhaps positive results can achieve the opposite. Do you believe that report cards can be an effective tool for boosting a student’s confidence?
Angel: Report cards are more than just the grade. They also have teacher comments and a letter assigned for specific learning habits. These bits of information provide hints about the student’s performance, giving direct steps to improving next time. This is why it is so important to do a holistic evaluation of the student, looking at how to stand compared to the rest of the class. When a student improves their mark, especially if they worked very hard, this will cause them to have a better view of life and become more hopeful. In fact, many may work harder. Taking all of this into consideration, I think that report cards are just one way of determining how a student is doing, both in and outside the classroom.
Jeremy: Amazing. Lastly, can you tell us a bit about the educational assessment that is done for each child?
Angel: Of course. Kids do not need to be worried about messing up. They do not need to study and should do as much as they can. They will be tested in every subject, given their specific level according to the Ontario Ministry of Education. If the student is outside the province or country, we can use that curriculum. We work around the kids and support them in any way that they need.
Jeremy: Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. I’m sure that our audience found the interview entertaining and informative.
Angel: Thank you, Jeremy. It’s been a pleasure.