Should parents give their children more autonomy to decide what they would like to do in their free time, rather than try to fill the free time with enrichment classes?
Of course! By doing so, children learn and experience the decision-making process and learning-from-mistakes process.
They have opportunities to be bored and have to think of what to do to entertain themselves or solve the "boredom problem". This promotes creativity and problem-solving skills.
At the same time, they feel more in control of their own lives. It also helps them to build self-confidence as they can handle situations on their own.
Fill in some time with enrichment classes, but not too much. As a child, most of us did not have the sense of control to do meaningful stuff during our free time and would just play games. If parents can help to fill it with some useful workshops, especially during the holidays, children will learn useful skills.
Once they have done what they need to do, by all means, let them decide what they want to do. Children must be given the space to think, explore and create. Even if parents want to send them for enrichment classes, let the children decide which ones to go for.
A writer says that the effectiveness of an education system that offers more than one pathway to success is highly debatable. Do you agree?
An education system that rewards exam smarts is not a good social leveller, but rather, it rewards rote learning and rigid thinking. Mavericks are the innovators and creators of the future, not exam-smart robots.
There are always many paths to success in life. So our education system should also offer its students many paths.
It is not ridiculous to say there is more than one way to earn a living, so why is it ridiculous to say there are many ways to reach success in education?
Loh Wai Poon
Is the marking scheme in schools curbing creative writing? How can we get more students interested in writing?
Kind of. Teachers tend to want kids to use stock phrases to describe weather and emotions, and plain writing is usually penalised because "it makes the piece of writing seem dull".
I'm not totally against using fluffy words and phrases, but when kids are inculcated (with this view)... then you'll see many of them overusing it, trying to score points.
That is how you have tonnes of essays, especially in primary schools, with "sunshine bathing the land with a golden hue" as an introduction.
Creation and creativity are not determined by marking systems and sound concepts of language. They are based on interest and passion.
It's important to understand that in language, we should not let our students adapt to overused approaches and platitudes. We should adapt to new channels of learning and relatable contexts.
Bernard RX Chen
I feel that an interest in writing needs to be built in children first. Let them explore their writing slowly without weighing it down with marks.
Let the creative writing be creative, it needs to be nurtured. Let the composition be a non-weighted assessment, at least for lower primary pupils.
If a rubric is not used, then what is the alternative? Mark and count grammatical errors or mistakes in vocabulary? Then how do teachers decide on the quality of content?
Michelle Marie Tay