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注册日期 : 08-12-25
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|主题: From the Press 8/1/2009, 9:12 pm
|More room in US education system (Mr Loh Sheng Hng, MyPaper My Say, 5/1, pA16)
School in the US was lots of fun (Loh Sheng Hng, Today Voices, 5/1, p16)
MyPaper My Say and Today Voices carried a letter from Loh Sheng Hng, a 13-year-old student at Hwa Chong Institution, in response to an earlier letter “School’s no fun” (Suresh Kumar, Today Voices, 2/1, p30).
A NEW school year is beginning, and is mostly greeted by children with sighs and moans.
Rather than rant about why school is not fun for children and teenagers, it might be more useful to make a comparison of education systems across different countries.
As my father was on a job attachment in the United States, I had the privilege of experiencing the American education system before adapting to Singapore’s.
A major difference between the education systems of both countries is that in Singapore, there are tests which are followed by examinations, and at the end of the year, your achievements and failures are all documented in your report book or testimonial.
In America, on the other hand, the emphasis is on daily work and discussions about projects rather than last-minute studying for tests.
However, rather than giving students a grade, teachers encourage them to do better and improve at their own pace.
Students are also allowed room for imagination and to exercise their own initiative.
This is an aspect of education that students are attracted to, but which the Singapore education system has yet to offer.
Parents also play an important role in American education.
Teachers have a very friendly relationship with parents, and parents frequently volunteer their time in school for activities which aid students’ holistic development.
My mother also helped out at such an event. She came to my school and taught the basics of counting in Chinese to the American students. All of us enjoyed it.
A friendly teacher-to-student relationship is also maintained.
Instead of speaking to the student, teachers in America write small notes of thanks if you give them a gift and notes of welcome when you join their classes.
This is a gesture which could mean a lot to students.
I remember field trips, where students learnt through the use of their senses by touching plants, smelling flowers, tasting fruit, listening to birds and seeing the beauty of nature.
Such activities took up a significant part of curriculum time.
Firemen from the local fire station also made visits to the schools for talks.
In mathematics classes, fractions were taught with chocolate bars, which added a touch of fun to the class.
In English class, you were exempted from a phonics test if you had scored full marks on precious occasions.
Teachers make everything meaningful and fun, and tailor their lessons to their classes.
In Singapore, however, students learn from textbooks and do worksheets, which might not be as interesting.
On a final note, I feel that the Singapore education system is slowly becoming more open, and is giving more space for students to learn independently – a move which I feel will benefit students for years to come.