SAT/ACT Test Prep Workshop
It is a tradition well-established at Jeng Academic Center that this SAT workshop does not teach quick-fixes, test-taking skills, or last-minute crash-course-type approaches. All reading and writing materials are laboriously developed by Dr. Jeng, who believes in the acquisition of knowledge, not by learning the strategies for dealing with the tests, but by cultivating in learners the habit of focus and concentration and developing understanding of the topics under study. Time, an essential element for true learning, is required as a means of both intellectual digestion and mental growth. The degree of mental maturity on the part of the students is best shown in their essay writing, the quality of which, again, is not a matter of filling up a rigid, formatted essay form but a reflection of the richness, complexity, and organization of an inner mind. To cultivate and enrich this inner world, learners should come to the workshop with a learning attitude that fosters curiosity, interest, and passion in their pursuit of academic excellence and proficiency.
A few features stand out in the AP courses (Chinese, English, Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus) offered at JAC: complete understanding of the concepts, the request for students to read textbooks (missing in many high schools but indispensable for college learning), and the preparedness for AP tests. The study skills developed in these AP classes will become invaluable resources for college-bound students to continue to thrive in college. When it comes to academic strength, we look beyond our students’ needs in high school and plan for them a successful academic life in college.
Physics sessions at JAC will focus on clarifying the fundamental concepts of physics and creating intuition about how those concepts lead to and guide the use of mathematics to make sense of our world. Students will be encouraged to discuss and make predictions, and then test them both from a quick, intuitive sense, and a more rigorous, mathematical approach. Students can also receive individualized help for their homework, test review, and projects.
Calculus is a subject with a small number of very important and deep concepts, and a myriad of ways to view and apply them. At JAC, we will focus on familiarizing students with the tools of calculus, and building a framework for understanding the motivation behind the operations. If necessary, review of previous topics will be offered in order to help make calculus make sense in the broader context of the mathematics landscape.
AP Computer Science
Programming is a skill that is becoming increasingly in demand, even in fields outside of tech. AP Computer Science is a course that introduces and explores the language of Java and the use of object oriented programming. At JAC, we hope to help students understand their own thoughts and be able to generalize and express them in code. Heavy emphasis will be placed on coding skills and pseudocode, with individual help on assignments and projects.
Debate and Public Speech
“Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."
[Address at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 23 November 2004]”
― Desmond Tutu
In this increasingly controversial day and age, students must know how to properly and appropriately speak their minds and engage in healthy debate. In this class, they are encouraged to learn not just what to think, but more importantly how to think. This course aims to be a safe place where students will develop the skills to address an audience with logic, reason, and—above all—integrity.
“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” –Dale Carnegie
To find one’s voice is to find one’s purpose. Public speaking is a skill that requires patience, confidence, and practice. Developing this ability is an essential step toward achieving academic success in multiple subjects. This course is designed to offer students an opportunity to gain a broader perspective on the world around them through the ability to express themselves well.
Online Etymology and Vocabulary Building
Best For Grades 5 - 8
Etymon (true sense) + -logia (study of) = etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By an extension, the term "the etymology of [a word]" means the origin of the particular word.
Etymology can be very fascinating. It will help answer questions like “Why does this word mean this?” or “How did this come to mean this?” For us, i.e., people not working with languages, etymology is not very important, but knowing to communicate effectively in English (written or verbal) is important, and I believe that a basic knowledge of etymology will help in understanding the meaning of words better. Amitabh Bachchan had very correctly said in a movie, “English is a very funny language.” This is because English is a mixture of many different languages and has been evolving continuously over time. Words that were used 20 years back may not be used today or may have changed in meaning. New words are continuously being coined and used.
Etymological theory recognizes that words originate through a limited number of basic mechanisms, the most important of which are borrowing (i.e., the adoption of "loanwords" from other languages); word formation such as derivation and compounding; and onomatopoeia and sound symbolism, (i.e., the creation of imitative words such as "click").
Etymology can be a great tool to improve your English skills. It can be a little difficult in the beginning, but if you keep at it, it will pay off. What I am saying is that when you read or hear a word that you’re unfamiliar with, look it up in the dictionary and try to find its roots. For example,
Amphoterism: the ability to react in 2 ways. In chemistry, an amphoteric substance is something that can react as an acid and a base. Derived from the Greek word “amphoteros,”. It is a variant of “amphi-“ meaning “around, about, both, on both sides of, both kinds.”
The next time you come across a word starting with “amphi-,“ you will have an idea of what the word means (at least you won’t be completely clueless,Tight?). Splitting words and looking for their roots is a habit that will take time to form. But, once formed, your command on English will improve by leaps and bounds. This is because it is not just the word that tells you its meaning. It is also the context in which it is used that tells you the meaning.
English Reading and Writing
The art of reading is to cultivate the habit of reading great books, and habits are best formed when one is young. JAC offers reading classes for students from grades 3 to 11, with emphasis on vocabulary building, mythology, poetry, history, biographies, and non-fiction classics.
If Leonardo Da Vinci had to study human anatomy in order to learn painting, let all students study English sentence structures to learn writing. At JAC we offer in-depth English classes to 3rd graders and above, teaching them the lost art of grammar and syntax, and helping them develop various writing skills. Included in the course contents of JAC’s higher level writing class are basic logic concepts and training in argument mapping, all essential tools for clear, critical thinking.
English for Grades 3 - 4
Here are some of the major objectives for the exercises found in this class:
1. Expose students to the form of fables as well as culturally important examples.
2. Model fluent reading for students and give them practice reading short texts.
3. Give students practice copying texts accurately.
4. Strengthen working memory through dictation, thus improving storage and manipulation of information.
5. Increase understanding of the flexibility and copiousness of language through sentence manipulation.
6. Facilitate student interaction with well-written texts through question and answer and through exercises in summary and amplification.
7. Give students opportunities to creatively imitate sentences and whole fables.
8. Introduce the concepts of main idea and character traits.
English from Grades 5 - 6
This class will be providing instruction on key grammar and usage concepts and writing exercises to help guide students through composing a complete essay. Other topics covered will include types of sentences, capitalization, irregular verbs, irregular plural nouns, subject-verb agreements, gerunds and infinitives, conditionals, phrasal verbs, modal verbs and more. You will read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. Vocabulary will consist of academic words needed to get through high school and into university.
Maxim & Proverb:
1. Expose students to various proverbs, pithy sayings, and life stories, especially from the Middle Ages, and challenge the notion that this period of history was unrelentingly dark and morally ignorant.
2. Develop students’ appreciation for the usefulness of concise sayings and actions and how these ideas impact their lives. To demonstrate that ideas and words influence actions.
3. Introduce students to the expository essay using a six-step outline. The predetermined outline helps students to organize their thinking into patterns of ideas.
4. Give students opportunities to creatively imitate and reshape proverbs and sayings.
5. Develop the concept of biographical narrative.
6. Introduce the idea of paraphrase as well as comparing and contrasting.
7. Model fluent reading for students and give them practice reading short texts.
8. Strengthen working memory through dictation, thus improving storage and manipulation of information.
9. Increase understanding of the flexibility and copiousness of language through sentence manipulation.
10. Facilitate student interaction with well-written texts through questions and discussion.
English for Grades 7 - 8
Syntax, Sentences, Paragraphs, and Essays (SSPE)
This is a class designed for 7-8 graders, with a focus on improving the basic writing, reading and grammar skills required for high school English classes. We will help you practice basic grammar skills, usage and mechanics instruction with detailed examples. You will recognize types of sentences, understand sentence structure, identify parts of speech and be able to proofread and discover your own grammar mistakes. You will read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension and use context to confirm word recognition and understanding. You will also learn how to write a research paper with proper in-text citations and references (APA format).
It is a truth widely known that though the art of writing cannot be taught (since art is incommunicable), the craft of writing, like other crafts, can be taught, learned, and made easier by suggestion, criticism, and direction.
With this understanding we design this new course- Syntax, Sentences, Paragraphs, and Essays (SSPE)- to help 7th and 8th graders transition, syntactically and intellectually, from middle school to high school, by teaching them the essentials of English syntax, sentence structures, paragraph developments, and essay writing.
Words, phrases, and clauses are the elements from which sentences are formed. English grammar and syntax are simply formulated rules and principles by which these elements are combined into sentences. We understand that proper training in the syntactical principles is the prerequisite to clear and fluent expression of the writer’s feelings or thoughts. It can be said that the sentence is an organism, of which the soul is the thought, and the words its body. Such organism, like all living organisms, has certain definite laws that may be learned and applied. Our teaching goal is to familiarize our students with an intimate sense of the principles of expression and to help them apply these principles in their writing.
After learning how to write sentences, students will proceed to learn the principles of paragraph development. A paragraph is a group of related statements that a writer presents as a unit in the development of his subject. Simply put, a paragraph acts as a unit because of the relation that exists between the statements it contains. These related statements represent a stage in the flow of the writer’s thought. If a paragraph is to make its proper contribution to the whole paper, it must do something. A good paragraph must first of all make a point—convey an idea or impression. It will do this only if each sentence in it contributes to a core of meaning which is the focus of the paragraph and which justifies the inclusion of the paragraph in the paper.
The final task of writing an essay is to link all paragraphs to express clearly and unequivocally the writer’s opinions. Here students will venture into the process of organizing the overall thoughts and study the structure of an essay, ready to reap the reward of all past efforts in learning syntax, sentence structures, and paragraph development.
So what can be summed up about this writing process? It helps one to understand what one reads, what one studies, what one thinks, as much as it helps one to compose a poem, to produce a novel, to write a letter, or to record the joy or sorrow of one’s daily encounters. It is a most gratifying life experience.
Creative Writing Grades 7 - 8
Breaking It Down to Build it Up:
Lessons in the Art of Writing with Conviction, Concision, and Creativity
The great playwright Anton Chekhov famously said: “Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
By focusing our attention on the importance of images, words, sentence and paragraph structures in an essay or other complete piece of writing, we will break through obstacles we imagine stand between us and writing with concision, conviction and eloquence. This class will assist academic and creative writers both by helping them access the skills necessary to be inspired by their subject matter as well as break down construction elements with confidence so they feel ready to put ideas and language to paper, regardless of time constraints imposed by deadlines or the exam situation.
The goal here is to hone voice, gain alacrity in cultivating and organizing ideas, and to embrace "showing not telling" in order to produce memorable writing.
English for Grades 9 - 10
Thinking-Writing-Argument was first taught at Jeng Academic Center in 2012 to address the writing issues observed in the students who came to JAC for SAT training. It was found that many students lack a basic training in essay wiring skills, with little to none understanding of concepts in logical reasoning and argument building. In fact, few understand what it takes to write a strong, coherent, and convincing argument. At that time, College Board had not announced its decision to change the essay-writing format from the old 25-minute draft-type essay to the current 50-minute writing. This change justifies even more the need for a class like TWA, which focuses on logical reasoning, argument building, and overall essay writing strategies. Since 2012, the course contents have been expanded to include sentence patterns, principles of sentence construction, concepts in rhetorical grammars for syntactical fluency—as expounded by Professor Martha Kolln in Pennsylvania State University—and general strategies for paragraph development, as well as the structure and organization of essays.
While the initial idea of TWA was to introduce a way of thinking for students to avoid writing essays in any format-fitting style, it has always focused on the fundamentals concepts of persuasive essay and the thinking process during writing. Its goal is to help students become thinkers and writers capable of critical thinking and fluent in expressing their feelings and thoughts in a manner clear, logical, coherent, forceful, and orderly.
This class is ideal for students in grades 9 to 10.
English as A Second Language
JAC English as a Second Language Curriculum
The ESL program at JAC is designed to assist students whose first language is not English to acquire proficiency in the English language. Students receive developmentally appropriate instruction in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. This class is designed as an introductory course to increase students’ ability to master English language skills. Students work on increasing vocabulary skills as well as improving reading comprehension and basic writing skills. Emphasis is made on acquiring skills necessary to function in an English speaking environment and to succeed academically in a classroom setting.
Listening and Speaking:
The Listening and Speaking content of the course has three overall expectations, as follows:
1. Demonstrate the ability to understand, interpret, and evaluate spoken English for a variety of purposes;
2. Use speaking skills and strategies to communicate in English for a variety of classroom and social purposes;
3. Use language structures that are appropriate for this level to communicate orally in English.
The reading content of the course has three overall expectations, as follows:
1. Read and demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts for different purposes;
2. Use a variety of reading strategies throughout the reading process to extract meaning from texts;
3. Use a variety of strategies to build vocabulary.
The Writing content of the course has three overall expectations, as follows:
1. Write in a variety of forms for different purposes and audiences;
2. Organize ideas coherently in writing;
3. Use the proper conventions of written English appropriate for this level, including grammar, usage, spelling and punctuation.
Methods of Student Evaluation:
A combination of the following methods will be used to evaluate each student’s performance:
Homework and class assignments
At the end of the course, students will be proficient in the following:
1. Learn the eight parts of speech and how to use them correctly in speech and writing
2. Learn all major verb tenses and be able to use them correctly in speech and writing
3. Write in complete sentences
4. Learn common American idioms
5. Use correct punctuation and capitalization
6. Be able to write a paragraph containing a topic sentence, body and concluding
7. Increase knowledge of academic vocabulary
8. Be able to use a dictionary to choose the correct meaning of a word in context
9. Improve reading speed and comprehension
10. Recall information acquired from listening
11. Develop a basic oral presentation with PowerPoint or similar program
1. Generation of writing topics for narrative and expository paragraphs and essays. Where do ideas come from? The importance of brainstorming at all skill levels in order to stimulate thinking, imagery, and details is vital. In addition, finding the balance between innovation and control, meaning organization of ideas for engaging, coherent expression in the English language.
2. Focus time on grammar principles, vocabulary enhancement, spelling practice and sentence structure as well as syntactical prowess for increased writing integrity and accuracy.
3. Getting into the deeper text to access meaning beyond obvious surface interpretations.
This work will expand the student’s understanding of various genres of writing, i.e., fables, parables, fairy tales, myths, and histories in addition to recognizing voice and structure differences in expository, persuasive, narrative and descriptive writing. Close listening and asking questions of both the text and author’s intention will help students reveal deeper meaning, develop philosophical thinking, and recognize important metaphors and symbolism.
SSAT & ISEE
SSAT and ISEE: ( Grades 4 - 8)
The Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT) and the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) are the two admissions tests used to determine placement into independent and private junior highs and high schools. They are also the first standardized tests that many students take. This course will pinpoint and remedy content or test-taking gaps and focus on problem-solving tactics demonstrated on the trickiest test questions. This course will help you write more effectively, build your vocabulary and improve your overall test-taking skills. We offer customized homework assignments on areas in need of attention to help you effectively tackle the exam.
TOEFL iBT: ( International Students)
This class is designed to prepare students for the TOEFL iBT test. Its aim is to help improve academic language skills and test-taking strategies. Content and learning strategies will be customized to improve areas of weakness in grammar, reading, listening, writing, and/or speaking. By the end of the class, students will be familiar with the types of questions that are asked in each section and develop the English language skills that are necessary to be successful on the TOEFL iBT.