Monday, 22 November 2010

Storied Instructions

“Three countries that outperform us — Singapore, South Korea, Finland — don’t let anyone teach who doesn’t come from the top third of their graduating class. And in South Korea, they refer to their teachers as ‘nation builders.

The “us” above is the US of A, but it could very well refer to any other country including Malaysia.

There are several good points in the column, including (I think) the following: “There are three basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate.”

Tough call? Perhaps if the rut in the education system is way too deep and too entrenched to rectify and revamp.

Immediately I am thinking of the move to make history a compulsory-pass subject. Will it allow the three elements above come into play?

Much depends, probably, on the way the subjects are being taught in school. I’ve heard of teachers who go beyond their syllabus to make learning enjoyable - dare I say - again…

These are the cream of the crop, and contrary to the view above, I don’t think high grades are the sole criteria for such lofty ambitions. Passion is just important as teachers, too, learn while they teach, don’t they?

I’m wishing, though, that I know how exactly to instill these traits into my own daughter.

Just this weekend, she and her cousins joined their auntie for a jaunt at KL Pavilion, with the Times book store one of the outlets visited.

Clearly in a generous mood, their auntie had acceded to financing their purchases so off they went to the children section.

There weren’t that many books, but still enough to whet any bookworms’ appetite*, but in the end, my daughter exactly what her favorite year-older cousin chose. A diary. One of those lockable types which I know will end up being a doddling book.


She’s always seemed so reluctant to make her own decisions.**

Her younger sister is the exact opposite. Didn’t care what her elder “sisters” were browsing for, saw what she wanted, queried her auntie if the price is within the range permissible and got them. A magazine and an activity book.

She five, going six, but I know the magazine will be read from cover to cover.

Critical thinking and problem solving, communicating and collaborating, eh?

I wonder now if these are skills taught…

* PS: Found a copy of Neil Gaiman and Charles VessInstructions”. So beautiful yet so expensive. Tried to be sneaky in getting the girls interested but no such luck.

Ah Well…

** PSS: Perhaps I am being too hasty in my assumptions. Could it be her cousin was the follower instead? I sure wish so...

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