Callers debate role of teachers, exam system
Friday, 15 March 2013
TODAY, VoicesTODAY (Page 36)
The role of teachers in how
students learn drew lively views from callers in the latest episode of
VoicesTODAY talk show last night.
While the topic was “Should students take
their frst major exam only at 18?”, callers drew attention to teachers, with
Ms Junie Loh pointing out that some teachers make students “overly focused” on
examinations, lowering their interest in learning in the process.
father, who gave his name as Richard, said teachers should focus on providing
the best education to students, instead of aiming to churn out top students
from their classes.
Another caller, Ms Yvonne Wong, said teachers should “draw
out” curiosity in the child, while Mr Daniel Yap noted that teachers today
also have to juggle other responsibilities, like administration work and
dealing with demanding parents.
Also energetically debated last night was the
issue of streaming and high-stakes exams. Dr Manu Kapur, Head of Learning
Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education, said that from a “research
perspective”, whether to have a high-stakes exam would depend on what society
determines is a mature age.
Ms Loh said she supported the present system of
exams as they help students identify what they are good at and what they need
to improve on. She added that a student would go through about three major
exams, and if he failed the first one, he had two more to prove himself.
Ms Wong felt that instead of assessing children based on grades in one exam at
Primary 6, focus should be on evaluating a child’s attitude and aptitude —
which should be tracked during the six years of primary school.
Winston Chin said that he is not a “big fan of streaming”, as he felt that when
students of the same ability are grouped together, they tend to “help
themselves to succeed”.Referring to Finland’s education system — which TODAY
featured last week — Mr Chin said Finnish students with higher ability would
help “weaker” ones.
Agreeing, Mr Yap said the Finnish education system is
designed such that students will have the same teacher in the frst three to six
years, which allows teachers to know students well and help them cater to
students with higher and lower learning ability accordingly.
The article can be viewed here
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Source: TODAY, VoicesTODAY (Page 36), mediacorp