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 knowledge, which in turn provides 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 time 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. Such a set of skills is as integral as numeracy and literacy skills.
Finally, I hope your own approach towards life is one of curiosity. When confronted, for example, by tests or formal evaluations, an attitude of trying one’s best is just that; the results that follow after cannot define you, for learning is a personal journey and each person’s path unfolds in its own unique way! There is no one path to Rome.
My ardent wish for you is to always, be curious.