A general answer when students were asked of whether schools teach too much would be a definite, “YES!” But is it? As the education stage excelled, quantitatively, the subjects increased as well and so is the workload thus, the complaints. The exact root of the complaints when students were asked would be “SO MANY TO MEMORIZE!!” Then the following question would be, is the education ministry nuts?? Has they not sensed the current syllabus is meant to be not learning but memorized. Yes, memorized and you will spark flying colors in grading. Then the syllabus can be summarized as
Boring. Unfair. Undeveloped.
In school, a student generally spends at least 6 hours a day. Whether or not one has the interest, the day at school will be through, if worst comes, by self-enforcement. Neither the parents nor the school can force a student to stay and study if the student is just not interested which perhaps has caused playing truancy syndrome. With the memorized to score formula, the increased number of subjects need to learn has dramatically decrease survival chances in peer competition because the realization of failing to memorize would cause grading “suicide” hence kills the learning passion and developing dependency to guidance self development. Refreshing the qualities of the desired future generation, surprisingly the direction of the education system won’t seed independent as one of them.
This problem enhanced as teachers became less dedicated and demotivated when paperwork increased demanding more details in teaching summary. When student appears with the existing dilemma and the teachers are tight with paperwork, there exist a gap between them thus making teaching a lot more NOT easier because stressed teachers simply could not understand stressed students. Anyhow, many students somehow got the idea, just memorize and success is on your way, so they excel. Some in fact memorize better and passed with flying colors. The ones who are not good in memorizing, fade away; failures, the system concludes. The intention of the syllabus has meant not to kill learning passion but to equip the future generation with general knowledge besides excelling the area of interest. Good intention but through memorizing? It is nothing but good intention led wrongly by methodology.
Lets take mathematics for example. Generally, students are provided with the formula straight away plus with some calculative workings to get used to it. And the exercises are overwhelmingly given to the students in certain schools just to make sure they will definitely make it. Consequently, the students became technically good but not applicably. An obvious observation is in the examination papers itself. The basic technical questions are tackled easily but the critical thinking question would get the student stuck, leaving the answer blank or some tried but wrongly done.
One of the ways that the education ministry could do is to lessen teacher’s paperwork which has limited time and effort with student’s association. Students are human beings too, to understand them it is not a matter of hours but long time process so the teachers need more time with them as to enhanced teaching suitability. Maybe the existing teaching method is not working because the students lack attachment to the style and if with less paperwork, the teacher can have more focus on skills modification and at the same time building the relationship with the students. Stressed teachers tend to have less interest with students.
These two below are good examples of dedicated teachers who teach mathematics;
1) This teacher managed to introduce a way to not get confused with geometry definitions here
2) This wonderful teacher marvelously led the students to figure out the area formula of triangle here
Another one way is to emphasize more applications and knowing by figuring out in the syllabus. Because if a student is said to be of good quality and an independent one, figuring out is essential. Later in working life, an employee is not expected to be given exact guidelines. Therefore, school is just the exact place where the cultivation must start. Teaching theories is vital but memorizing them is unnecessary as the most important lesson is application. One may not do well in exam, it is okay as long as you know what have you learned. Yes, it is okay! (telling that to myself over and over again)
Maybe one of the best way to cultivate inquisitive thinking is to know what do the students perspective of a subject beforehand. Like respiration, the breathing cycle, in biology. Perhaps some students would have their own theories. And next comes experiment to figure it out. This would not only spark learning process but also creativity.
Learning language can be fun if tangles with activities such as drama, choral speaking etc despite the actual exam based exercises being done. But my English teacher was creative! He mixed contemporary arts and studies into the exercises. One lesson, we listened to Black Eyed Peas’s Where is the love to learn about new vocabularies. We also did an exercise based on a scientific study of making communication possible in gorillas and oh boy what a difficult text it is! But my teacher explained it through, understood we did!
Back then in school, I remember that any answer which I need is laid comfortably in the textbooks. EVERYTHING! From definition, meaning, the fundamentals, the reasons blah blah blah and all I need to do is, memorize! Which I failed to do because my memory has not much capacity ehem.. consequently I became bored with learning, oppps! I mean, memorizing.
The sayings of school teach too much would be unfair because the root of the problem lies within the system. It is never wrong to aim high but a proper cultivation is all the student needs. And it will do no harm to adapt successful educational system of other countries notably United Kingdom which brags some international prominent tertiary institutions like Cambridge University.
Learn from the best!