A tale of two reports
Posted September 4, 2014on:
STonline announced that 42 secondary schools would offer a new programme for students to learn science and technology.
One paragraph leapt at me:
Students will learn skills such as reasoning and problem-solving, scientific inquiry as well as pick up new uses of technology such as programming skills.
The programming aspect might be novel, but should reasoning and problem-solving be new?
I hope that the programming is not limited to programming languages and that it also includes computational thinking.
As for reasoning and problem-solving, what is to stop teachers from doing more of that now? Do they need permission from the top, direction from the centre, and content only from prescribed curricula? Or are they going to cite the sorry excuse of “this is not tested so what is the point”?
That was my reaction to the STonline reference.
The official MOE press release read like this:
This programme will provide learning opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in science, mathematics and technology to solve real-world problems….
The skills and competencies include: Scientific inquiry and literacy; Reasoning and problem solving; Design thinking; Computational thinking; and Data analysis and the use of technology
This clears the air on whether it was about programming or computational thinking. But it still makes me wonder if inquiry, literacy, reasoning, problem-solving, and design thinking should be a special programme instead of an integrated one.
If schools so not pick up on this hint, then local tuition centers might just do this to give some students an edge over others.
In fact, as much as I do not like what tuition has become, I would like to see tuition centres or private education outfits picking up the slack or pushing boundaries. That might show the incumbent schooling system how to serve its stakeholders with meaningful long term skills.