Posted June 29, 2012on:
It is not often that you read a parent, who in writing in the press, comes across as logically anti-establishment.
In response to Singapore’s dependence on tuition* (our internal moniker is “Tuition Nation”), that parent wrote all you need to do is point your kids in the right direction.
Other parents here are likely to react: No tuition for his kids? Is he mad?
Some teachers here might react: If only we had more parents like that.
My favourite bit is at the end. On the role of parents, he said:
Parents should be there to encourage, probe and challenge their children and to provide opportunities for them to ask questions.
To prepare children for the 21st-century workforce, where information can be outdated within six months, where lifelong learning is a necessity and not a luxury, parents must provide children with the learning process, not learning outcomes such as grades.
My reaction was: Are more parents thinking and acting like this? I doubt so and I think that the writer is part of a vocal minority.
Other parents might argue that the writer’s kids grew up at a different time. That may be true, but his strategies of focusing on long term skills and gain are timeless.
The only thing I might pick at is the example of grades as a learning outcome. There are other learning outcomes that are not graded and worth more than grades. Things like being civic-minded, kind, respectful, organized, innovative, critically-minded, adaptable, articulate, curious, etc.
Paper qualifications might get you a job, but the other qualities keep you employed. I think that very soon those hard-to-measure qualities will be just as important (if not more important) than academic transcripts.
*As an aside, when folks visit Singapore to learn why we do well in tests, I doubt that this latent factor is revealed as a possible contributing factor.