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Letter to My Children – Education

Dear children

From my observations of schooling, learning  and development, as a teacher, parent and a volunteer in voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) for all of 25 plus years, I have gleaned some insights.

By sharing them with you, and other discoveries, I hope it can be used to inform your own learning or when you raise a family.

With globalisation, many kids will not learn the same way.

We will have more differentiated learners than ever before.

Currently, our schools have a dominant way  of assessing an individual and that comes with disadvantages.

Its ripple effects include the teachers at primary level prepping the individual to do well, particularly at Primary 5 and 6, and during this period, tensions in families run pretty high and learning becomes quite unenjoyable. These sentiments run counter to any ‘best laid’ education plans of a country.

Also, when learning is not enjoyable, it gives rise to other social and emotional issues of the individuals during schooling and learning.

Perhaps, on your maiden journeys as future stakeholders of schooling, learning and development, it is integral to ask yourself, your family and friends what you would like education, training and development to be like in Singapore.

Mum is still an educator and a lifelong learner and  I have discovered that learning,at its best, should be fun and enjoyable. This is for one to absorb its content and to integrate it well with previous stores of knowledge, which in turn provides an impetus for the next set of knowledge to be assimilated with ease.

Mum has also discovered learning cannot always be enjoyable or totally  stress-free. When such a ‘stressful situation’ occurs, then it is timely to draw upon different ways, methods or skills of how best to absorb the new material – given the available range of time and the disposition for how much one wants to learn.

And that is why Mum observes How to Learn skills  should be incorporated at schools in an intentional way, so that the current mantra of ‘Teach Less, Learn More’ can materialise at ease, with an independent learner.

Regardless of the gifts every child is naturally endowed with, being equipped with an overt awareness of how new material should be approached should be instilled in every student ; this set of skills is as significant as relaying to our young charges the essential numeracy and literacy skills.

Finally, I hope your own approach towards life is one of curiosity. When confronted by formal assessment, an attitude of trying one’s best is just that ; the results that follow after should not define the wondrous you; there is a relation but it is by itself, not a definition (and cannot be), for no education policy is flawless.

My personal wish for you is – always stay curious.

Your loving mum

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