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who am i

Name: modgurl
Location: Singapore

New mom. New woman. Born in Singapore. Raised in the World Wide Web.
Sunday, July 25, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

Dear Blogger,

For the last 2 weekends, I have spent hours till the wee morning doing my Primary 6 student's Maths revision papers. These were no ordinary revision papers. These were past years preliminary exam papers from top schools in Singapore.

Granted that PSLE-taking students should start doing mock test and exam papers by now, but aren't giving the average student very challenging papers to start with seems a bit too harsh and may I say, desperate? I thought the whole idea of primary school education is to learn, not to punish them? If 6 years of primary education has taught our children to loath learning and fear exams and tests instead, then there's definitely something wrong with our education system isn't it?

Hasn't anyone realised that despite having a world-class education we so proudly claimed, our nation is still lacking in innovation and forerunners in almost every major discipline. Sure, Singapore students excel in Olympiads all over the world, but what does that tell us? We are just damn good in test-taking!

As a tutor, I feel very sad most of the time when students are not given the chance to enjoy learning. Most of the time, students are taught to study for their tests and exams. Even then, proper study skills are not taught. If they were, why are there loads of books on study skills in the market?

What is even sadder and frustrating is all these so-called "creative initiatives" by MOE and schools to foster creativity in students. What they basically do is take too much time from teachers and students from the original objectives and when crunch time comes, teachers speed through the syllabus faster than a bullet train and weaker to moderate students suffer from lack of understanding of the material. If students can't grasp even the foundation of a subject material, how are they expected to do well in advanced materials?

I am not against initiatives that promote soft skills, but shouldn't all these be working with the syllabus? Not against? I still think CCAs should fit the students' personality. CCAs which claimed that they will change a student for the better is a load of BS. If the CCA takes too much of the student's personal time and the only results produce are falling grades and additional stress, than that CCA isn't effective for the student.

My student is slightly below average. My priority right now is to just get him to pass the PSLE. He hasn't been passing his exams for several already. He has improved his grades since I've been tutoring but they are still below the passing mark. So you can understand my frustration when I have to explain abstract working solutions to challenging questions to someone who is still struggling with his foundations. If I have the luxury of time, I would love to go through the foundations with him. With only 3 hours a week, time is something both of us do not have.

This blog from a "narcissistic mom" has some questions from a Raffles Girls' Primary Maths Prelim paper which I have just completed for my student. (http://wrongsideofthirty.blogspot.com/2009/04/singapore-math-rgps-prelim-2008.html)

Look at the questions and the working solutions. Do they look like Primary 6 working solutions to you? Unfortunately, that was the only way to work out the questions.

Sincerely,
modgurl.

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