Now that Sonshine is in his tail end of his primary 2 (P2) school year, I am somewhat getting the taste of the 'real deal' of our primary school system. Only at year 2 and I am already brimming with unhappiness with our education system. Yes, I have heard it and read it from mamas who had gone before me. But nothing beats having the first hand experience yourself.
Amidst the many gripes I have, today I will only rant about one aspect of our curriculum that I deem utterly silly and irrelevant- compositions.
Now in P2, students are expected to write a full blown piece of composition. Some schools already started their students in P1. Why the gods up there expect 7/8 year olds to be able to write a story is beyond me. Writing a story is not easy. It entails many skills in one. The child has to juggle all these skills simultaneously in order to write a decent piece of composition.
He needs to have a good grasp in
As if those are not enough, he also needs to have
6) enough real life experiences
7) good inference skills in order to properly relate the story and the characters' thoughts and emotions
8) sequential skills (if there's such a thing ie to be able to tell the story in sequence)
To make it even more exciting, the child has to juggle all these and write a good story in what, an hour and half? WHooHoo!
And the real thorn in my flesh is this: the students are not given enough time to master these skills.
Think about it. In kindergarten, the children are only learning to read simple sentences. Some may be learning how to write simple sentences- at most. (I am talking generally here, there are exceptions of course) And then all of a sudden in primary one, they are expected to write a story with the limited knowledge that they have.
The schools don't equip the children enough to write a decent piece of story. If anything, I think at the lower primary level, at the least, we should be focusing more on strengthening the students' individual skill sets like grammar, vocabulary and writing proper sentences. But NO. The gods up there expects them to learn grammar, vocabulary, sentence making AND writing compositions all at the same time. Wow, you really think every child is born gifted huh? And please, are you trying to raise award winning authors in Singapore? Why the need to train our children to narrate a story? Why set the bar so high? What is the point of writing a beautiful story composition this skill (being able to write a story) becomes utterly useless in the working world- well unless you become a writer. So that we can compose better emails? *shrug*
How then can anyone blame Singaporean parents to exhibit 'kiasu-ism'. If anything, the ministry is the driving force behind it. They leave parents no choice but to send their kids for extra lessons. Because the schools are not doing it! And with the extra hours spent in another classroom, it adds more burden to the kids. The kids are stress, the parents are stress. Oh my, are our children and us parents destined to live like this for the next 4 year until PSLE?
TO the gods up there, please for crying out loud. Relook into our curriculum and try to make some sense out of it. And I am not just talking about compositions. The other subjects too! Please be relevant. Please don't throw our children into the sea and expect them to swim multiple laps when they yet to have the know-hows! Make learning gradual, don't throw all out at them at once. The kids are still young and lacking in many life experiences for goodness sake!
-Rant over (more to come, I forsee)-