Friday, September 01, 2006

Teachers' Day

Last night, I had the privilege to attend the Teachers' Day Rally @ Singapore Expo - words direct from the mouth of our Prime Minister.

... some thoughts...some reflections...

The many peaks of Excellence - that is already happening in schools, but a handful at this moment... yes... it's moving up to 30% in the near future. Yes, perhaps there's how our education system celebrates diversity. Saying is certainly much easier than putting it in action. On the other hand, it's like the Chinese saying, 百花齐放. It has slowly changed the mental model of what defines a 'good' school... it's no longer just being academically strong... though it is still one that draws the most attention - in this place where paper qualification is still the key, out of the entire education system, though in the recent years, other affective factors such as character development comes in. Now, it seems like everyone has a place, be it in the fields of character development, sports, arts, etc... yes, the first step was when the ministry introduces the School Excellence Award... it's not just academic excellence, but holistic development of children under our charge... as such, such recognitions/awards are just

Leveling up - every child will be taken care of... somehow, this is the perceived message... no one will be deprived from schooling because of financial disadvantage. Yes... I think that's the beauty of our system... Remember several years ago, there's this work on 10-year Compulsory Education...

Perhaps it's the environment that I came from shaped this mental model. I was lucky to be in a school that has strong financial support from the school management committee (SMC)... "Money is not a problem" - that's what the principal always said... and that certainly freed us up in planning and implementing our programmes, as long as it is purposeful, meaningful,... and yes, pupils who are in the financial scheme are taken care of, not only through the various provisions by the ministry, but also those by the SMC. Yes, children should not be deprived from any opportunities because of being financially disadvantaged.

Socio-Emotional Bonding... to Singapore - National Education... our pupils' sense of belonging to the country... this is an reiteration of one of the key messages in the National Day Rally. Coincidentally, this was briefly touched on when we had lunch... when we talked about the amount of effort that was put in to bring out the nationalism amongst the younger generation. All agree that the school has done alot in this aspect, in raising the awareness of national identity, and the importance of feel and love Singapore. Some find that we have done so much that this over-dose, to some extent, made it too 'artificial', to 'force it down the throat'... it's probably something should not be taught, but a natural grow - the love, the belonging - from the individual. What's happening at home has an impact too! The influence from parents, in particular, shapes the kids' mental model, too!

Well, perhaps one can tell how successful it has been only when this 'natural bonding' to the country is being tested, in some stage. Back at home, the older generation has somehow stronger emotional bond to where our ancestors come from, although they are born and locally breed. Why? Simply, the sense of belonging? or they see the land beyond reach a better one? (There's always this chinese saying, the foreign moon is always brighter.) Well, I guess I found myself more Singaporean than ever, after going through the emotional challenge when I was away... that one year has brought me closer to the land I belong... on the other hand, it's also dangerous, come a second thought... I appreciate my country more, many a times, based on comparison... yes, Singapore is a better place to live in, the system we have... though sometimes seem 'too rigid' but it's for the good of the country... but not to forget, I'm comparing what we have to a developing country. What if I've been immersed in one that offers more than what Singapore does? What will my thoughts be? I guess that will be the real testing - to test my sense of belonging - what guides my thoughts and actions! I can't tell... perhaps should look out for such an opportunity to test it out!

Teachers - the assurance of support... and more teachers... yes, if we look at the recent changes in the system... into the professional wing... more funds have been channelled for schools to employ teaching aid, to purchase support, etc... On the other hand, sometimes, despite the fact that there is money, it's not easy to get the right candidate to fill the post...

PS: "Teach Less Learn More", "Prescribe Less, More Work"

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