Thursday, July 21, 2011

12 Homework....

My Primary 4 daughter had a homework frenzy yesterday, on a day where she had extra class till 3.30 p.m. And 12 was the number that she had to complete. Crazy is probably a good word to describe it. She asked me half-way through as I was lying down beside her, whether I give that many homework to my students.

I truly fail to understand why the teachers had to give so many... 12! At Homework 5, which was Maths, she got stuck at a fraction problem. I tried to help her. She understood soon enough but when I tried to explain more, added different types of the same, I could see that she had turned off. I could see her eyes wandering. Ten minutes into a couple of examples, she finally said to me that she had 7 more homework to do. And it was already 9.00 p.m. See what I mean by our current system puts a dampener to learning. You have no time to learn cos you are constantly chasing to complete your homework.

Homework... a little of it is okay, even good. 12??? I think that is an overkill! It's rote learning, drilling at its worst too. It takes the joy out of learning. Discovery needs time... but with such crazy schedules, time is scarce. One has no time to discover cos one just doesn't have the time.

So much to do, so little time. So much to memorize and drill but so little meaning... that's the life of a primary kid in a Chinese school. I sometimes wonder whether we teachers actually teach or just drill... and whether it's rightly so that some countries are looking into alternative teachers or teaching methods. After all, why hire someone to drill when the same can be done by a software? Why hire someone to teach when you can have videos like those at the Khan Academy which you can download and replay again and again? Korea is trying to develop robotic teachers... America is giving pink slips to teachers... is it any wonder? But in Finland, it's a a different ball game altogether...

Teaching is supposed to be an art... it's supposed to pass on skills that cannot be passed on by robots or videos. It's supposed to train the next gen into better thinkers, be more innovative and creative. But are we doing that? 12 homework in a day... and most were copying and rewriting... you don't need to think much while you are at it. In the olden days, artisans, craftsmen were teachers... there was this really personal touch, discipling that took place. These days, we are actually more like a factory production supervisor...

As for me giving homework to my students??? I rarely. Homework for my students usually means corrections for exercises done.

3 comments:

Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ 7, to the Chinese vernacular schools, quantity is quality like money. More often than not they are mere mechanical work.

the one who is called....SAMUEL said...

hi...my sister has to do almost 10different types of homework almost everyday...and finishes school after 3pm the whole week and 4pm during curricular activities...its so late that i can even slot in a nap after my part time work before i fetch her..do u know any way how we can complain?..i remember that i barely have any homework during my primary school...and many days with none..i use to read story books after story books..while my sister does not even want to go near them...
i really kesian them that they have to do all the copying...its so ridiculous...i think it kills the brain rather than give it ideas...if this continues the examiner can be a robot d since all the answers will come out the same since all that went in was photostat-ed...haha

AJ7 said...

Same siaoness-la. Finish school 3.30 p.m. Come back more homework. Then tuition.... then konked out. Next day, the cycle begins again.... and again and again. How not to become bonkers???