In education, school not the only place to start

The following is an excerpt from Yawning Bread

Our education system is instruction on steroids. I am aware that in recent years, there have been attempts to inject more project work into classrooms, but such efforts are, I suspect, confined to the better classes or better schools, and its benefits pale in comparison with the systemic bias towards instruction and more instruction:

1. With classroom sizes are still approximating 40, teachers find it extremely difficult to adopt a user-driven approach to teaching.

2. With a society obsessed with examination results, too often it’s teaching for testing.

3. With so many school children augmenting their school hours with private tuition, even if schools switched mode to something less rigidly instructional, the fact will remain that a large percentage of learning time from the child’s perspective, will still be heavily instructional in nature, since the very raison d’etre of tuition centres is to get kids to pass exams.

I don’t know where she got the figure, but Teo Soh Lung, a Singapore Democratic Party candidate in the recent elections, called Singapore “a ‘tuition nation’ where 97 out of 100 students have to receive tuition on top of attending school.” (Today newspaper, 7 May 2011, Education the battle cry here, by Cheow Xin Yi)

We should also bear in mind that play is a learning experience too, typically an unstructured, exploratory one. Children learn about other aspects of the world, e.g. the geometry of terrain when zipping around on skateboards, or social skills when interacting with others, in the course of play. Yet by reducing playtime and shoeboxing them into tuition, we once again amplify the instructional over the exploratory.

Read the full article  here.