Sunday, March 8, 2009

When learning should be an absolute joy.

March...graduation time. Students are once again in the limelight. Especially those graduating with honors and or with special academic awards.

Now, before anybody goes off thinking that academics don't matter to me, let me say, that as a parent that isn't exactly the case. It isn't that I saw no reason for my boys to study because I knew an education is important.

What I never get, is the point of all this hullabaloo about getting THE grade.

I'm of that school of thought that knowledge can't really be graded. Well, knowledge of certain objective truths like in Math - those can be measured. But how to measure with a number the use of a simile, or making a pasta, or a creative design?

For one thing, I am also taken aback by how seriously some parents take this whole notion of education as a competition.

Of course, I see that the world is all competition. And even if we try not to compete, we cannot entirely avoid it. Sure, I can make sense of competition for a job, for a promotion, for client in business. But competition in education? I guess part of me is still in some fantasy world where education means learning and not getting the grade.

However some parent are so intent on having their kids do well in school they get tutors even while the kid is in the first grade and should instead be enjoying this thing once known as a childhood.

I even hear so many parents lament now that their kids spend so much time in front of a television watching cartoons. A complaint that's been around since they themselves were kids! I suppose they would be happier if their children spend their free time memorizing encyclopedia. Maybe they feel that would be normal.

Unfortunately, not all kids are created equal. In other words, there are some kids that even if you strap them to a chair and flash mathematical equation in front of them the whole day, they still won't get it.

And it's not because they are dumb. It's because each child has a special way of learning.


Amy said...

I know education is important but i would never push my kids...they learn at their own pace, in their own time.

I am pleased to say though, Charlotte does not get her brains from me!

Love Amy xx

Tracey said...

I agree with you Odette (as usual) You can't force a child to learn, though some parents try! Amy hated maths, and the junior school rushed her through it all, and she just couldn't get it, At secondary school they helped more and now she's fine! William just took it in stride, neither liked school, Amy absolutely hated it, but college she enjoyed.
Tracey x x x

amna said...

that's what happening in Japan where parents are pushing their kids to the edge of getting high marks, there are numbers of kids committed suicide of not being able to cope up with grade expectations. we should let the kids enjoy their childhood, there is time to play and a time to study. i don't agree with parents who sent their kids for another tutorial class after school just to excel. we only have our childhood once in our lifetime and we should let the child live, enjoy and have good memories of it. there was one classmate of mine who was aked by the teacher about her childhood memories, the poor thing just answered, i passed it through without realizing it coz it was spent in piano, singing, swimming and etc. lessons and a bit of interaction with other kids at parties..that was it. reason?? her parents want her to be the best when she grow up. i was not impressed by those extra-curricular activities that she excelled for, in fact i felt sorry for her of missing her childhood days.

My ex-inlaws never teach or speak to their kids in english since they were born but their native country language but they learned to speak english fluently at the age of 3 by just watching cartoons on tv...all of them. i am very impress how the kids mind catches everything so fast. one day, my 4 year old niece (husband's side) whom i have loved and raised since she was 2 weeks old was commenting on my english and i said excuse are only in prep 1 to correct my english , she looked at me sadly and answered" don't worry Mommy, i understand .. you never studied in prep school that's why your english is not good" ... i was speechless.

Sid Brechin said...

I am one of those kids had to put almost zero effort into school. I could almost sleep through classes and still place at or close to the top of the class. I think I was a bit of a nightmare for some of my teachers in looking back. I also read everything I could lay my hands on. I was often sent to the principal for correcting my teachers then back when a trip to the school library would prove me correct and the teacher wrong. Eventually that stopped not because I stopped correcting as the teacher's learning to ask how I knew.

I did find study a must in the Army but they will push you to your limit no matter who you are or how gifted you are. They really do set out to turn you into the best possible you that you can be.

When I went to college I was also working full time. I was also a bit older then most of the other students which was another advantage. On top of that I had all the good study habits I had learned in the Military. My brothers where almost the same in these things.

We also learned and shared a number of tricks to make learning easier. I wrote down a number of these for my daughter and put them in my blog. You can always link to it from Odette's mine is called Useless information.

None of us regarded learning as a competition. It was more a form of currency. My Grandmother made sure we realized anything could be taken from us. Money home family even country. Anything except our education. By that she did not mean pieces of paper and marks. She meant the information we walked out of the classroom knowing and being able to use. That is the one thing which can only be taken by God. you spend it or pass it on and you still have it. It is a universal currency which can be spent anywhere.

Some of us have to learn things the hard way. Learning things in a classroom is about the easiest way to learn them.

blue_butterfly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blue_butterfly said...

amy, tracey, amna, sid:

iam glad that we all agreed on this. as a parent i never pushed education to my children. What I did was surround the kids with interesting books and learning aids like pennies, buttons, charts, toys and every ordinary and extraordinary thing under the sun.
Learning was shared by me and the boys as we took the special time to do the alphabet and then draw pictures to match the letter.

There was never a fuss over homework as they knew that it was their responsibility. It was never an issue.

I also love to tell stories, and making them up, never knowing where once upon a time is going to take me as they also take turns adding one sentence and often lots of giggles to the story.

yes, learning is a life long experience and a good start makes the quest for learning a natural part of one's life and a legacy to the next generation.

Angry American said...

Math? What's that? lol

I've always had to use a calculator (hell I'm not even sure how to spell it). I've always sucked at spelling and grammer too. I think my parents were just glad I graduated high school after what I put them through about quitting. 8)=

(That little smiley face is supposed to be a geek with glasses and buck teeth, by the way. It's what I call text art. Ask Odette to tell you about my more "creative" designs some time.) :D


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