Rethinking how teaching, learning take place

I read Mr Ken Lee Jun Jie's letter with interest ("View tuition from students' perspective"; Monday).

I like his sound and seemingly workable suggestions. However, some issues may need to be looked into.

Who will be the so-called good teachers who will be "shared" across all schools?

It may be a sensitive issue, as being singled out for the task can possibly lead to resentment among some of those not selected, as some teachers may not wish to be seen as being less capable than others.

One possible way out may be for senior or master teachers to take up the challenge. Which senior or master teacher is best suited for the task is another issue to be carefully thought over.

Will students be placed into different classes or groups based on their learning styles, not according to learning abilities, as is more commonly practised? A major revamp of existing practices may be required.

Will precious time, which can be a constraint in schools, be spent on trying out lessons on the same topic, delivered by different teachers in varied teaching styles, before students decide which is best suited for them?

Nothing boosts the passion of a teacher more than being allowed to... handpick his own resources and teaching materials, and deliver lessons in his own personal style, spicing up the lesson with his own experiences, anecdotes and other handpicked materials.

Besides, different subjects, or even topics, may lend themselves better to different teaching styles.

Finally, who will take ownership of the ultimate success or failure, or the learning rates, of students in a class?

Will the teacher see himself as having been relegated to a lesser role, merely delivering pre-packaged lessons and becoming less committed as a result?

Also, we have to be careful to match the student with his preferred learning style, as well as assign teachers to classes which match his teaching style.

Having been a teacher before, I find that nothing boosts the passion of a teacher more than being allowed to, within certain limits, handpick his own resources and teaching materials, and deliver lessons in his own personal style, spicing up the lesson with his own experiences, anecdotes and other handpicked materials, which, hopefully, appeal to his unique students.

This is not really "repetitively" planning how to deliver content, for every class can be unique.

A fine balance, therefore, has to be struck between requiring the teacher to use pre-packaged materials and using his own ingenuity, creativity and imagination to come up with an innovative and engaging lesson.

Low Siew Hua (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Rethinking how teaching, learning take place'. Print Edition | Subscribe