Kampua Talk: Teaching People to Be Mindless Parrots

Kampua Talk

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Teaching People to Be Mindless Parrots

I'm not finished with the PMR thingy. Well, not just PMR alone. Rather education system in general.
This is what I overheard when people are discussing our education system...
Scenario 1:
Uncle A: I think the educational system is great. I enjoyed school and did well. My son is just like me. He loves it and is at the top of his class. Some university is going to be lucky to get him. His future is very bright. I don't understand why people are complaining so much. I think the education system is doing an excellent job.
Uncle B: But what about the kids who are not doing well in school? What about those who drop out? They are not smart theoretically but they are good at technical skills. They will not have your son's opportunity.
Uncle A: That's not my problem.
Scenario 2:
Uncle C: Leave the system alone. I did well and my kids are doing just fine. The teachers in our school are the best.
Scenario 3:
Auntie D: That is just the way things are. I can't help it if there are kids who are not as smart as mine. What do you expect me to do about it?
Sometimes when you heard comments like that, you felt like want to choke that person! But most of the times, as the society has been adopting the kiasi syndrome, most people will just agree, nodding and just go with the flow. No opinions are made. What is wrong here?
Memorization and knowledge are NOT the same! People know that it is true, and that there is something important about making this distinction. They also know that our educational system puts a great deal of emphasis on rote learning aka memorization. In fact, diplomas and bachelor degrees are awarded on the basis of how good we are at memorizing.
Teaching only by memorizing leaves people walking one of the two roads, both of them dead ends. If they were good at memorization and did well on tests, they left school believing they were educated and smart, even thought the only thing their good grades really measured was their ability to memorize.
The other road is the one taken by people who do not memorize very well (like me) and are categorized as "not-so-smart". School disminished their self-esteem early on. They believed the labels that were put on them. They deem themselves stupid and accept that they are incapable of going very far. These people hate making mistakes because each mistake only reinforces their belief that they are stupid. Many give up because they are unaware that the inability to memorize has no bearing on their potential for success.
Our fear of making mistakes is so ingrained in us that we habitually react to our errors in ways that blind us to the real learning in them.
One of the chief reasons our educational system is in chaos is that it is still closed-minded, archaic and slow to respond to new ideas, new styles, and new ways of being. The worst part is that laws forced kids to attend school and to conform to one-right-answer thinking. Often the only choice kids have is to rebel.
This topic is endless and if I seriously blogged about it, 1 week would not be enough for me. Hence, I conclude this post with a quote:
"Learning to learn is the key. And if your kids have forgotten how, it's only because their knowledge of these primal processes has been chased into hiding by you or too much public schooling."
-Hal Zina Bennett (1972)

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Blogger fookiat said...

new year dee lar.. don't need to talk to serious geh leh. happpy new year.. have fun and enjoy yourself.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea....AGREE AGREE AMD AGREE! i dont like malaysia education system, besides memorize,it is still memorize! tak tahukah mereka bahawa belajar macam ini sama dengan belajar nothing mer...this is a question they should think of...SERIOULY~

1:25 PM  

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