Friday, March 1, 2013

9 Tuitions A Week

That was what one of my Form Four Student said to me earlier this year when I asked them how many tuitions they were taking! And I think it's a crazy number! These kids take around 11 subjects and they are taking tuitions for practically every subject. Out of a class of about 40 students, there was only one brave soul who was  not taking any tuitions.

What does this show? That we are super competitive? That they have such little faith in the school teachers? Or is it because tuitions will motivate and push them more? I don't really know for sure. What I see is almost everyone jumping onto the bandwagon of tuitions.... each trying to outdo the other. Each claiming that they can't survive their SPM without tuitions...

Seven days in a week... 9 tuitions. Five days of school which ends at 2.00 p.m. In some schools extra classes prolong school hours till 3.30 p.m. or even later. And 9 tuitions! I guess that leaves very few hours at home... Kids seem to lead busier lives than adults these days. Yet I wonder whether they are any better off with all these extra cramming sessions...

I teach English. Yet I find that most of the students can't write critically. Many lack motivation to study on their own. Critical thinking skills are a rarity. What are aplenty? Ability to regurgitate, requests for notes.. Learning is via memorizing facts... which I feel is not helpful these days. Need information? There's Google.

My gal comes home with Maths questions on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - big numbers. And she spends her time working out the calculations on paper. This in an age where we have calculators to do those menial tasks for us. Problem solving questions are far and few. And when you come come across such questions, they are usually very simple. By and large, our the minds of our young have actually bee very dumbed down.

Students' world view are very narrow. Text books are outdated. Instead of sparking their imagination with new frontiers, we continue to limit their horizon with minuscule local issues. This in an age where our world behaves like a global village. Talk to our kids and you find many of them ignorant of many things. They remain cocooned in this little kampung of ours....  remaining very much the jaguh kampung that all of us are familiar with.

Our children lack the independence and the ability to learn on their own. I wonder too whether we'll be able to inculcate into them the need to be lifelong learners, for which a high degree of independence is required. Cos majority of the kids I see today tell me that they need tuition in order to do well....

1 comment:

Thomas C B Chua said...

Long time no visit to your blog. You are still faithfully blogging ! Bravo. Still musing on educational issues ! As long as the policy makers are insincerely ignorant of the reality the schools are facing, they will be conscientiously stupid about their policies. Good teachers are few and far apart these days. Teachers who do not ask students to look into the well but laboriously help them to look up the well and see infinity ! If a student diligently goes for his classes outside the school, he must have felt some inadequacies in his teachers in school. Nevertheless, there are also many who simply jump onto the band wagon, so as not to be left behind. These sit behind and have their private session behind the teacher's behind. AJ 7, teach on!