“You still don’t understand?”

I had been wanting to rant about this since morning given the intense feelings I had then, but it’s been a few hours since then and I guess those feelings have subsided quite a bit.

I am not the recipient of the remark as titled, but I thought it was pretty unfair how it was lashed out at her given that it IS a difficult content topic. It was followed by something worse, which I can’t spell out because that will really give it away. How on Earth (lol literally since it’s beyond Earth) are we supposed to understand that in such a short period of time…? It was mentioned that it “takes time, you”ll slowly get it” but yet with my constant revision of the material (which means searching for articles and videos by the way), I have conformed to the idea that eventually I’ll just memorize the answers for the test, with how clueless I still am.

That’s what really sucks by the way.  I don’t deny Singapore’s efforts to continually step up in this age of education, where opposing views are increasingly valued over textbook answers. But it really remains a great challenge if educators are going to slam down students’ questions this way. Why are we, as students, being drilled to answer examination questions (and please examiners), instead of being encouraged to grow our thirst for knowledge? What happened to learning, or rather, being encouraged to learn?

I did not, and have not seen the wrong in clarifying doubts we have. It may be really simple to some, but for some of us it could be really abstract and incomprehensible. In that case, how is it wrong to surface our doubts? I’m pretty sure we aren’t stupid just because we fail to grasp one aspect of the topic, which is well, technically not even part of the topic. There’s a reason why it has been removed from the syllabus document- it’s definitely not completely for us, but also for the teachers themselves. I don’t see why we should be expected to easily comprehend something that some teachers can’t even grasp. We are far from being geniuses, I mean there’s a reason why we are here in RV.

I’m not faulting anyone here, because this is analagous with whatever RV is trying to inculcate in us, or rather, possibly the general education system as a whole. Mrs Tay once told us that the difference between us and another elite school she had taught is the style of lessons. RV students constantly demand for more and more practice papers. The majority of students in the elite school however, spend most of their classroom time asking and asking, making sure they’re devoid of any doubts in content knowledge before attempting any questions. Isn’t that what learning is supposed to be like?

When I was nominated to attend the dialogue session with the MOE staff, I expressed something like “I actually really like learning the subject, but my grades are killing my interest in it.” I guess that’s where the learning outcomes fail so badly. I actually feel really rich in content knowledge, but if my intelligence continues to be judged by the results I attain (in other words, how well I’m drilled to answer assessment questions), I guess I wouldn’t go wrong in saying that I’m a really stupid person.

I appreciate your honesty because not many people can be this blunt anymore, but I don’t think you should put her down like that, or rather us, since I was a quiet mouse silently swallowing answers as they were. Just like what you said, 我们都是人. Some of us have different learning curves from others, and I think it’s only normal that we face difficulties in our learning. Because only in adversity do we really learn.

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