Academia: Through the lens of my glasses
First and foremost I would like to welcome any visitors who might stumble upon this blog by chance or maybe you heard about it from your friends and colleague. Although I am in no position or qualifications to write about this topic I still insist to post it as a representation on behalf of all the students of any education level out there. Today I would like discuss on several issues that seems to have plagued the modern education system. I apologised for any errors, grammatically or factually as I wrote this post as a thinker who wrote whatever come across his thought but not biased by only one point of view but instead through observations and experience as a student myself.
In the present time human try to achieve a new level. Every week a couple of scientific discoveries were found. Every day a new innovations and inventions came around. Despite that, how many people suffers from having to work to death just to get a bit of penny for the rainy day? How many people are rejected from job interviews as they seem unqualified to apply? How many students cheat in their test by paying other people to do their thesis? How many students leap off the balcony of an apartment, unsatisfied with their results or maybe because they failed the examinations? How many intelligent students out there who had to gave up their dreams of going for higher education because their family had many mouths to feed? Think about it. These problems had existed for decades or maybe centuries before that. What happened to our current academic system?
When I was in the third grade of primary school (elementary school in overseas) I sometimes sat down on my table and talk to myself while looking at the text book. With a bored look I said to my friend next to me, “Why do we have to learn about something that we already learned last year?”. Puzzled, my friends told me, “Shush! We need to do everything that the teacher told us to do”. Even when I was in the secondary school, during the first grade I asked a similar question to myself. Why do I have to learn everything that I had learned when I was in primary 6? Yes, it does refresh our memories on what we had learned ages ago, but looking back that what makes me tired of studying. I guess it’s the feeling of being bored due to learning the same things over and over again only this time with an extra facts, only a few of it which doesn’t worth it and waste most of my times. A few times revising over the old topics was fine but after over 4-5 times it removes other topics that I already learned in the past. Sure, some students pick up the pace slowly but for the others who get it in the first lesson would be bothered by the facts. ‘Syllabus’ needed to be studied appropriately before being forced to be consumed through the text books. Some works with this type of students, some don’t. But the board of education usually just give the orders and a new text books were printed. Much worse than the previous years. No, they never printed out the ‘Slow-learner edition’ or the ‘advanced-learner edition’ for the same grade level. But I guess that came from another problem which I will discuss next.
Ever thought of it during sitting next to your friend in class, and he can’t even answer a simple question the teacher asked? You might say “why does this idiot even be in this class anyway?”. For you, these type of people wasn’t even on par with your level. So why did they entered you class in the first place? Some people might say that creating a distinction between them could be bad as rounding a band of hooligans together will create a havoc or the weak students might feel intimidated by the superior classes. But that’s not the root of the problem. The cause actually came from something as simple as teaching skills. I still remembered, when I was in primary four I was confused on how to write an essay looking at the boring guides in the text book with absolutely no colours, just plain old black and white or blue on some cases. When I was in primary two I had no problems solving any mathematical equations nor learning new type of vocabulary and grammar structures. My teacher at that time won’t sing to me the maths equation but instead use a fun approach on how to solve the problems instead. The same skills could be applied when teaching a higher grade but instead I got this, “Okay students, now turn to page 172 and do exercise B, C and D. Submit to me by the end of the class”. She said that after only showing us the calculation twice while some of my friends including me struggled to understand what on earth was taught in front of the chalkboard right now? Every year new teachers are assigned to schools all over the country to replace retired teachers. Sure, they had the qualifications on paper with excellent standings but when they entered the classroom different things happened. They stood there, teaching like a robot to get their salary at the end of the month. We don’t need that kind of teacher, we need a gifted one. Sadly, the board just send them all over the world to assist schools which lacks teaching staff. Now I ask you, who will suffer from this? No, not the board. No one will blame them if a student failed their exams. No, not the teachers. They just doing their jobs, worse that can happen is that the parents would come angrily storming out the teachers office and then go home after a simple white lie given by the teachers. If you think that it’s the students that suffer than you’re on the right track all along. Not only their parents would let it out on them, it also damages the intellectual progress of the students. Stressed and discouraged, the students would now let it all out by doing negative stuffs. No need for me to explain to you bit by bit. You already know the point. Recently on past semester, I taken mathematics class. I was quite shocked really, the calculations that I had done all this times actually had an alternate solution to it. Some simpler than others and there’s about 2-3 types of solutions for it. It reminded me that during the O-Level examination years back, I had to use one and only one solution so that I could farm out the marks for the question. Now this leads to another problem of our modern day education.
Sitting on the central row of the class my teacher gave a definition on photosynthesis. My friend asked, “Miss, can I use other terms to define it in exams?”. My teacher answered frankly, “No, you must use the exact definition otherwise you will not credited any marks for that question”. When I went to college, we were asked to present in Multimedia class on what we had learned in our biology class. I worked hard on it, using definitions and explanations from the internet and text books. But what happened during the presentation changed my way of thinking, to a different level and changed how I view things. My lecturer commented, “Blah blah blah…….double fertilisation and whatever it is. For god sake I’m a teach multimedia and I don’t learn advanced biology. How do you expect me to understand these…..these things that you’re talking about. It should be simple enough that even a 5 years old could understand the concept. If you did that I guarantee you even a professor would be impressed by your simple explanation”. I was confused by his statement. Spaced out, I recall my memories. Does it worth having to go through the text books all this times cramming my head forcing myself to memorise all the facts for the exam. There’s two points here but what I’m going to discuss first is examinations. Our syllabus are highly exam oriented that the facts that we studied hard all these years are to pass the exams in flying colours. But the thought of learning something new never came up to us. We just know getting a straight A’s means scholarships and good college and straight D’s would mean you’re useless and should never even born in this world. ‘Spoon-fed’ that’s the problem that had been a huge problem that intellects tried with all their efforts to eradicate this problem. Teachers giving you all the notes and facts that would came out on the exam and you memorised them through hard works. Countless times you solve a past-year question and a clone exam papers. You managed to get straight A’s, entered a good college. But what for, you just memorise those stuffs. You never actually learn something there. So what’s the use of the exams? What good those cramming all the answers for the exams in your head. Nothing I say, null. You memorised the facts but when you did the practical you were stunned. It’s like memorising guitar chords but don’t actually know how to strung it, which leads you to relearn how to play the cords again but now your hands are on the guitar. It’s a waste of time you see.
On to my next point if you’re still with me. Does it ever happened in your life that you were studying and one someone tells you that there’s an easier way for you to memorise the notes. You asked them if the skills introduced are new discoveries and they denied telling that these skills already been proved effective and used for more than a few decades before. Devastated, you wonder why you never even know about it in the first place. Yes, here’s where the student found out that if the skills was taught to him before in the past he might actually ace every test he confronts. In the era of Facebook and Youtube I stumbled upon a learning skill to easily memorised facts. I thought to myself how come I never learn this at school this entire time. Filling some of my free time on the internet I found self help guides which baffled me. My teacher never actually gave this tips on how speed-reading or memorising technique could save you a lot of time. Instead I learned it the linear way or should I say the hard way. Sure, some of you would say “I already know that specific kind of technique from seminars or Television programmes. But remember, when you say ‘in a nutshell’, you assumed that everyone knows about it. Instead, it was the opposite. You can’t go on assuming everyone knows about something, there must be a few who didn’t never even heard about it. The point here is, something as important as that should already be emphasised on students since kindergarten. Early learning was very important as I can clearly see the difference between students who worked hard to study maths and students who entered mental arithmetic’s classes. Their level was different but the one that make it so was actually their style of learning.
Although my point of view seems bias to most but think about it. Can you see what’s wrong with our systems. Nowadays entering a college taking a measly course in biotechnology would cost you a thousands of dollars. But did it ever occur to you that you can learn the same thing you learn in the lecture hall in the internet and best of all, for free. What for did those ridiculous payments are for? So that you can get yourself a white piece of paper entitled that you had achieved your degrees? And then what, you get a good job and become a salary eating machine? Nowadays it’s all about certificates. You don’t achieve high standings in IT and you would be rejected by a company. Even if you have an innovative thinking that could even be the invention of the centuries. Think about what would happen if Steve Jobs is on his 20’s in the present times, he was a college drop out. He wants to create the iPhone, and then what? He got kicked out off every company that he tried to sell the iPhone to. Abracadabra, the iPhone was never invented. It’s all about money these days ain’t I’m right. It was ridiculous in the first place to pay for something that you can obtain freely in my opinion.
That’s all for now, in the future I might wrote some more and possibly did a full research on this. But guess what, I don’t have a diploma nor degree in education. This might only get dismissed by everyone. Who am I to say all of this. I’m just a student. Besides, youth nowadays wouldn’t like to read long essays like this. And it’s not even up to the essay standards I guess. Have a pleasant day readers.
Posted on February 21, 2012, in Academics, Something to talk about..., What I've Learned and tagged a plead by students, Academics, Education, Improvement that should be done, Reformation, Revolution, Ridiculous stuff, say no to capitalism, world injustice. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.