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Letter to My Children : Education

Dear children

From my observations of learning, education, schooling 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, with 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 in Singapore have a dominant way of assessing an individual and that comes with disadvantages.

Its ripple effects include the teachers at elementary 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 learning, schooling, development and education, it is integral to ask yourself, your family and friends what you would like education, learning, 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 learning skills should be incorporated at schools in a deliberate way so that the current mantra of ‘Teach less, learn more’ can materialise.

Regardless of the gifts of every child that comes along, being equipped with an awareness of how new material should be approached, should belie in every student. These learning skills are as significant as relaying to our young charges numeracy and literacy skills.

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