Having coached my two children when they were in primary school, I have made my own observations about teaching approaches (Let's kill the drill approach in schools; Feb 17).
In the teaching of English, for instance, pupils who speak little English and have no knowledge of grammar, would benefit from repeated written exercises on grammar usage and the learning of standard descriptive verbs for appropriate nouns.
However, such approach might seem counterproductive to those with good English language ability developed from extensive reading.
Likewise, for mathematics, there are pupils who have difficulty applying maths concepts.
Yet, there is a significant group of pupils who are able to use algebraic variables to solve unknowns even in primary school.
Given this disparity, the use of model drawings is useful.
Pupils good in maths need the complexity of a word problem to keep their interest for maths alive, while pupils weak in maths can apply model drawing to make sense of what a fraction means in a given scenario.
In order to excel in a field, consistent practice is unavoidable.
Musicians rely heavily on muscle memory developed over the course of practice. Maths enthusiasts review and search for elegant ways to solve a maths problem by cutting down steps to a solution.
Similarly, practice hones the skills for writing.
Due to the disparity in learning environments and abilities among pupils, it is a challenge for the Ministry of Education and schools to formulate academic curricula that fits all.
Doreen Leong May Yuen (Ms)