Name of Recipient:
Mdm. Li Xiurong
The Chinese language has long been entrenched in the Singaporean culture. With the majority of the local population being Chinese, it is perhaps surprising that many students struggle with the Chinese language and that the subject instills fear amongst its young learners. As a result, many Chinese Language tuition centres have sprung up locally to meet the demands of parents eager to see their children excel in their Mother Tongue.
Nestled in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood area is a small but critically acclaimed Chinese Language tuition centre, known to students and parents as Star River Language School. With their primary focus and specialization in composition, Star River also offers a wide variety of Chinese tuition and enrichment courses such as comprehension, performing arts, calligraphy, Chinese painting and more. Over the years, they have been offering these courses to students from pre-school all the way to secondary school, overseeing many improved exam results along the way.
Founder and Principal, Mdm. Li Xiurong is a vastly experienced Chinese language teacher, with more than twenty years of teaching experience behind her. Hailing from China, Mdm. Li followed her husband to Singapore in 1998, and has devoted herself to the local teaching industry since.
During her years of teaching in public schools and tuition centres, Mdm. Li gradually gained knowledge of Chinese language education in the local context. She said, “From my understanding, Chinese composition is an issue for many students in Singapore. In schools, not all teachers are equipped to teach composition and parents naturally want their children’s composition skills to be better.” Recognizing this demand, Mdm. Li therefore decided to establish her own Chinese language tuition centre in 2011, naming it Star River Language School.
Though Mdm. Li achieved her goal of establishing her own centre, the initial years of operations were not without challenges. In contrast to their competitors who are located in more prominent locations, Star River found themselves relying on word-of-mouth recommendations from students and parents to boost their business. In addition, getting the right personnel was another issue for Mdm. Li. With few local Singaporeans specializing in Chinese Language, Mdm. Li found herself recruiting teachers from China.
To overcome these challenges, Mdm. Li sought to further improve on Star River’s areas of expertise. With her years of experience in teaching, Mdm. Li wrote her own syllabus and class texts for the lessons at Star River, and coupled these with her flexible teaching methods. She has been able to create a comfortable learning environment for her students, allowing them to activate their potential within the classes.
With composition as a focal point, Mdm. Li also wrote and published a series of composition books for Primary School students, which are now sold in bookstores and used during her classes. Four years after establishment, Mdm. Li now confidently says that Star River Language School, amongst their competitors, can be considered the best in Chinese composition classes.
Now armed with several years of management experience under her belt, Mdm. Li looks back on her time with Star River, and reflects on what she has learnt in the past few years. She said, “There has definitely been much self-growth. During the initial years, there were many ups and downs, but we realized that we just have to move forward regardless what.”
“To do that and achieve success in your business, it’s all about your service and sincerity. This is true especially in education. You need to let others see your sincerity. There were charities that have approached us on giving free tuition to children from needy families and we have agreed and done so. So for me, in education, you can’t simply look at money, but rather you have to do what you can for your students.”
With the centre thriving despite all the challenges thrown in the way, Mdm. Li is looking to move Star River to a more prominent location. She elaborated, “The Tiong Bahru Plaza is currently undergoing renovations and these are the areas where all the tuition centres are. We are hoping to get a space there, as it is a prominent location for tuition classes. Looking further down the line, we would like to steadily expand, but right now, we are just looking to take things one step at a time.”
As Star River’s reputation spreads, students under the tutelage of Mdm. Li will no longer have any fear for Chinese language and composition. With the next few years shaping up to be truly exciting ones for Star River Language School, Mdm. Li’s expertise and professionalism will no doubt see the company through and lead Star River towards more prestige and critical acclaim in the process.
302 Tiong Bahru Road
#02-144 Tiong Bahru Plaza
T| 6271 0064