I want to share my views regarding our education system.
When I look back to my school days way back in the 1960s to 1970s, I feel a sense of regret that our public schools could have done much better to teach our students to think creatively, innovatively, and flexibly to enable them to explore and develop their potential.
I noticed our education system does not instill or encourage enough for students to want to learn – even if the students themselves wanted to. Most of the time they are spoon-fed, leading them to become lazy, lacking resourcefulness and loss of interest. Whether they realize this or not, the desire to explore and develop their potential is thus suppressed.
Their main focus seems to be just to memorize. Too much emphasis is placed on marks and grades than learning. The system emphasizes more on rote dictations and regurgitating what has been learned. They are trained to be more passive listeners than communicators.
They are trained to keep a low profile in discussions, from being seen or heard, and to keep the discussions only within their small group of close friends. They are afraid to speak up their minds, especially in front of the others. Most of the time they choose to be at the sidelines only as spectators, rather than participating by giving opinions, comments, justifications etc
If this problem is not tackled at the early stage, they will grow up to be passive even at work. This we can see very clearly when even university graduates now prefer to keep a low profile and shy away from discussions or voicing up their opinions/arguments in department meetings etc.
Talking about regurgitation, I recalled a colleague sharing her experience from one of her ICT classes. One day she was discussing a topic about something when the word “EMBOSSED” suddenly popped up. Suspecting that some of her students didn’t understand the word, she asked them if they knew the meaning of “embossed”.
Naturally, they replied in concert “NO Maam”. So she explained “Alaah, yang macam kat Kad Jemputan Kahwin tuh !” The students nod in agreement and scribble down some notes onto their respective notepads.
Then later in the semester, coincidently a question popped up in an examination that asked for the definition of the word “Embossed”. Guess what happened? There is this one particular student who answered: “Alaah, yang macam kat Kad Jemputan Kahwin tuh !”. So much about rote dictations… kuang kuang kuang !
Well, may be this is just one incident and it’s not fair for me to generalize that all of our students are like that. But one interesting point to note here is that there are students who just simply “swallow” whatever you say to them.
Of course in this particular scenario, the lecturer should have given a better definition of the word in the first place. But to me, the student is also at fault for not taking necessary initiatives to follow up to check at least from the text book, or Google the internet (or Wikipedia etc) to get a more complete definition of the word.
This is what I’m actually trying to highlight here. Are we teaching our students to think creatively, innovatively, and flexibly to enable them to learn, explore and develop their potential? Or are we teaching them to just become passive listeners – simply taking down notes and regurgitating them out during examinations?
I believed a major contributor to this dilemma is the conventional teaching and learning methods. In this fast-paced era of ICT, conventional teaching and learning limits the speed and learning capacity of our students.
Honestly, I strongly believe that if our students’ interests are properly stimulated, while giving them the opportunity and flexibility to explore and not afraid to make mistakes, they can become more creative and innovative in as well as out of the classroom. Emphasis should not only be focused on the marks and grades alone, but also on the LEARNING itself.