3 ways that your child may be shortchanged (and what you can do about it)

As a student, I didn’t like school. Learning was never fun for me and I just went through the motions because I knew that’s what my parents wanted me to do.

However, I was blessed enough to score well enough for the PSLE to attend the top secondary girls’ school in Singapore.

Most of my teachers in this school were not engaging or interesting. Some even left us to our own devices, perhaps because they thought we were smart enough. I tuned out during most lessons and I memorised more than I internalised or applied the content. It was a miracle that I barely made it to a top 3 junior college (JC, a pre-university institution).

It wasn’t until I was in JC that I met Literature teachers who inspired me. They taught me about the power of words and language and developed the love of it in me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

A picture of me and my JC students in 2013.

When I myself became a literature teacher in a neighbourhood JC, I saw the other end of the spectrum. These students were earnest learners but they lacked the confidence and competency of being good writers and thinkers.

Some of them even broke down because they couldn’t cope with the gruelling demands of the A’ Levels. If only they were given opportunities while they were younger to develop this confidence and love for the language.

This is why I see it as my personal mission to ensure that children today are not shortchanged in their educational journey. I work hard to be the kind of teacher that my JC Literature tutors were to me, only at an earlier stage in a child’s life. And I train my teachers to be the same.
It is only when children develop their confidence and competency early in their lives that their journey ahead will be smoother and this would pave the way to future successes.
In summary, these are 3 ways in which children today may be shortchanged:
1) Their critical thinking skills may not be adequately honed. Instead, they might just be taught recall and memorisation skills.
2) They are not being given enough writing practice in school. This is NOT about the number of composition practices that they are asked to write. It is about being given a breadth of writing practices that cover different types of writing to make writing relevant to them in their lives.
3) They are taught only to focus on good grades instead of using their skills to solve real-life problems. It would be worse if your children have no recognition of global problems or what is going on around the world.
So parents, do you think your children are being shortchanged? If so, what can you do about it?
1) Ensure that your children are building/have built a strong foundation in writing, not just in terms of sound grammar and good spelling. Children should be so comfortable with writing that they have no qualms expressing themselves in this manner.
2) Encourage them to think by engaging them in conversations about global current affairs.
3) Ensure that your children's learning are being supplemented with out-of-school activities that challenge them to solve problems independently in a safe and nurturing environment.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop me an email at mail@artisticstrategies.com.sg