Saturday, December 31, 2005

Spoon feeding leads to questionable success

Article below point out an important issue that has be ignored by Malaysian politician. In Malaysia there is a trend where most of the politicians especially from ruling party does not respect the opinion from academicians, they just close their eye because they feel that they the most powerful people. Due to that, most the project designs by the government failure and waste tax payer money.

For instance, teaching Math and Science in English which has been opposed by expert in linguistic and education but the government just ignore it. Even though their realize that the project will give bad impact to the students but for them their survival in politics is more important than the future of the students. I don't feel Malaysia will move foward successfully if this kind of thinking and altitude still have in most of the politician. They don't take their responsibility seriously but always thinking how to make themself rich. The Malaysian Education System really need to re-engineering for the future of next generation.

Spoon feeding leads to questionable success

The findings of the Merdeka Centre research commissioned by the NST on the tuition industry sounds about right; that over 80 per cent of tuition-going children attend additional English classes, three quarters attend Maths classes and over half attend Science classes. This is because most parents who send children for tuition are satisfied generally with the education system.
Although one can only speculate on the situation decades ago, the fact remains that public schools have a very poor teacher to student ratio of about one teacher for every 40 or so students. Thus, while there may have been significant improvements in the education system, one thing which has not been improved upon significantly is the teacher to student ratio, thereby necessitating private tuition.
It is basically about who can pay for the best education. And so, the best teachers who are very much capable of teaching well in school get paid extra to teach privately for ensuring that a smaller group of students (who often include their own school students) do extra well in exams.
There are, of course, exceptions. One is that class size does not matter much.
My own former Maths tuition teacher was a retired headmaster who had devised his own syllabus, which was far superior to the one used in public schools. As a result, almost everyone in his rather large tuition class of more than 50 people obtained “A” grades for Maths without so much as breaking a sweat.
Then there are those brilliant students who do exceptionally well in exams even without private tuition.
Nonetheless, it can be deduced safely that students who receive private tuition tend to do better than the majority of those who do not.
But beware. There is a terrible pitfall to this. All the extra coaching is a form of spoon feeding that can hobble students at tertiary level. The “teacher” or lecturer to student ratio is even worse, because students are expected to be independent enough to be able to learn on their own.
And those who have not developed enough self-learning skills will fend poorly. They would expect their lecturers to spoon feed them the same way they have been spoon fed in primary and secondary schools.
If they are asked to conduct research, the best they can do is scour the Internet for related materials and dump everything in their essays without much sifting and analysis. And when asked to make oral presentations, they would not begin with the end in mind, as they are unable to derive tenable conclusions due to their inadequate analytical skills.
Consequently, if they, who are unthinking, form the majority of students, lecturers would feel compelled to conduct lessons by dictating notes instead of discussing issues. And the vicious cycle continues up to graduation day.
Then they get a rude shock; that working life is about competing against those who are independent and dynamic, and who forge ahead through self-learning and innovation.
Thus, private tuition at primary and secondary school levels at it stands today is a symptom of an inherently systemic problem of the Malaysian education system. It must be addressed urgently if Malaysia is to produce more world-class university graduates.


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