Archive for November, 2010

So I was talking to my missus today about what our boys should learn, either through school or outside(or in spite) of school. These are what we came up with.


1. Deep love for God and people 

2. Ability to express oneself (the missus thinks we need both Mandrin and English)

3. Ability to read (cannot decide if he needs to read Chinese as well)

4. Numeracy (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)

5.  Social skills (ability to say sorry, give way to others, forgive, lose gracefully, engage in a conversation naturally)

6.  Hard work, perseverance and self-discipline

7. Curiosity

I will probably come with a Good-to-Have list tomorrow.


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I was sitting down with J.  He had approached me for help with his studies. We were solving some sums on electricity. It was leisurely. I had no meetings, he had no lessons. He was irritating me with his blatant disregard for norms. He did not write any units and did not include any symbols, just a long string of numbers and their mathemtical operators. I knew he got the concept right. But he would flunk his tests. Did he understand? Yes. Could he express it? No.

J was a misfit in our educational system. He was curious, vocal and passionate for things that stirred his inteests. Wait a minute. Isn’t this the qualities of a model science student? No, not in our system. He could not sit still in a class of 40, slept when the teacher droned on, refused to do what the rest did. I wondered if he would be better off doing what he liked best outside of school. I wondered if he would learn, not through school, but in spite of school.

I am torn. While not all my students are like J, I recognise that as individuals, I need to capture their imagination. I need to allow them to think, question, get stuck and stick at it even as the clock goes ticking by and the assessment date draws nearer. I need to let them learn at their own pace. I am not sure if I can stand this tension much longer.

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School for my Boys

I was talking to my wife today about how our sons will grow up and learn in school. I just watched this video today about how kids learn to add. It was so complicated and they were only 7 years old. The teachers were fiddling with this interactive white board while the children looked on.

I wonder if my son will learn through school only,learn from school and outside of school or learn in spite of school. Right now I am contented he can read and can count. Will he dream in class? Will he long for the bell to ring so he can get out into the real world?  

All these learning theories swirling in my head, I wonder if they will do my 2 boys any good? For some reason after watching a video on changing education paradigms, I find myself thinking if my idea of school for the past 6 years have been wrong. Increasingly, it should be about getting students to get excited in class so they can leave it to learn more.

I asked my son what he likes best about school. He said “Art”. “What do you do in Art?”  “Paint lor…”.  Then he said he liked ” dramatic”. “What’s that?” He said, ” kitchen, then you cook for customers.” I think pre-school is more interesting than primary and secondary schools.

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