Despite many enquiries from parents, it took us a long time to develop and launch our P1 and P2 English enrichment programme. The reason was this. If we had to run a course for lower primary children, it was important for The Schooling Society to pioneer a unique and unusual English writing programme. It was critical for us to be able to inspire normally reluctant writers.
The Schooling Society
Today, MOE announced that from 2019 onwards, P1 and P2 students will no longer have any form of weighted assessment and exams. Meanwhile, P3 and P5 students will not be having SA1 exams after 2020.
Singapore students excel in critical thinking
In 2016, a random sample of 5,000 students in Singapore topped the global PISA scores for English, Mathematics and Science. The 3 yearly PISA tests are designed by OECD. More than 60 countries around the world participate in the study. 15 year olds across the globe are tested to gauge how well they apply their knowledge to solve problems. In other words, PISA tests students on their critical thinking skills.
As parents and educators, we spend many hours thinking about what motivates us and consequently, our children and students. Many parents use material gifts to motivate their children to do well for their exams. Are we setting ourselves and our children up by teaching them to expect rewards? Do these incentives truly motivate children?
‘Drive’ is a book that tells us otherwise. Daniel Pink writes about studies conducted by psychologists decades ago. The first was done by a man named Harlow in 1949. The second man was Deci who carried out his experiments in 1969. These men’s studies revealed that adults and children alike were not motivated by short term rewards. In fact, they discovered that such material benefits made people less motivated in the long term.
Each and every one of us knows of someone who was an excellent student in school but who somehow did not go on to fulfill this potential beyond school. The popular belief is that these stellar students find it hard to cope with working life because they do not have the street smarts to navigate the unpredictable roads of real life.
Why Is There A Gap?
As the world surges forward, educators around the world struggle to match their own skills with the increasing pace at which children are embracing technology. Parents and schools realise that this new generation of children will have to be smarter, sharper and quicker than generations before them. As social media and web communities continue to connect people in an unprecedented manner, highly intelligent people become even more highly sought after.
Hunched over books, some with pens for jotting down notes while others are busily highlighting passages. Every day, millions of students go through the ritual of studying for tests and exams. Assuming that all else is equal, what is it that distinguishes those who do well from those who don’t do as well?
We will discuss about some of the most popular learning strategies and explain how tweaking them can make a difference.