Prepare For School Camps
It’s that time of the year that parent will either dread or love – the time for the level camp. And according to blogger Mr Brown, one parent thought that the upcoming Primary 5 camp could potentially be a weighted assessment. As in, something that children are actually graded on.
And this is what student life has come to in Singapore.
Life in Singapore is stressful, period. The rising costs of living, crowded public transport, competitiveness at work are just the tip of the iceberg.
To make it worse, competitiveness in schools just keeps increasing, and parents don’t want their children to be left behind.
Here’s a list of school activities that are not graded, and should never be. Also, why they should never be.
(Again, just a reminder to worried parents out there that these are not graded. Yet.)
1. School Carnival
Imagine this: Your child being graded on his/her creativeness, communication skills and leadership skills in setting up a carnival stall. From brainstorming for a theme for your class’ stall to chionging preparation the day before the carnival and interacting with carnival goers, your child will be required to display a wide array of skills. You may wish there was an assessment book to guide your child on how to pick up these soft skills, but there isn’t. And no, you’re not allowed to pitch in and help.
Scary, isn’t it?
Alternatively, experts recommend letting their kids learn these skills through everyday play and interaction with friends.
2. Sports Day
With the government’s increasing emphasis on sports in Singapore, I’m sure we don’t need to stress the importance of sports in our lives. If done right, giving sports the attention it deserves can definitely pay off, such as in the form of gold medals — be it in regional or international competitions.
But what if parents were told this bad news: Not all of students’ end-of-year assessment will be devoted to academic events. Instead, a fair amount of time would be spent preparing students for the annual sports day — teamwork and hard skills exhibited in playing the various sports would be used as the judging criteria.
Think of the fainting spells this will induce, and tired limbs – parents’ limbs, not students’.
3. Classroom Cleaning
With a new initiative to introduce daily classroom cleaning from this year, parents must be in a frenzy trying to decode this confusing message the Ministry Of Education is sending them. A parent may be prompted to think like this:
Okay, cleaning classrooms is a serious thing now. But..it’s not academic in any sense? Is it really necessary?? They did make it compulsory though…and they do it every day? Oh my god, they must be secretly using these cleaning sessions to assess my child. Better tell ah boy to appear hardworking and clean every spot diligently, it must be graded!! Can’t let a speck of dust affect his future now, can we?
It probably doesn’t help that most schools conduct cleanliness checks to ensure all cleaning is done. And no domestic helpers are allowed to help.
We can imagine the quibbling over every speck of dust that a child did or did not clean up on his classroom floor.
4. Show And Tell
We all remember being that timid 7-year-old kid, apprehensive yet excited to introduce our new toy to the class. Show and Tell is such an innocent and relaxed activity that brings back so much nostalgia.
Then imagine if Show and Tell was a serious, graded subject, as it is a good precursor to preparing for the O-Level Oral Examination. Public speaking is also a valuable 21st-century skill that schools are keen to hone from young.
Show and Tell also trains students’ critical thinking skills in introducing their teddy bears to the class with more depth than their peers. Critical thinking is another crucial 21st-century skill kids will need for the future workplace.
Yes, surely it’s not worth grading the exercise – won’t they just feel the pressure to bring in bigger and better stuff, leading to an arms race rather than a training opportunity?
5. Class Decorating
If students slack off on their class Chinese New Year/Teacher’s Day/Deepavali/any-other-festival-the-school-deems-fit classroom decorating, they might lose out on showcasing their artistic creativity and strong teamwork.
But actually grading this segment would be overkill. After all, they are just decorations that are mostly environmentally unfriendly.
There are other means to develop one’s creativity and teamwork than grading something like class decorations.
Once again, none of these are graded — our students are stressed out enough.
But we hope we helped you imagine a world where they were graded, and how horrible a world that would be.
So let’s stop piling on unnecessary pressure on our children by expecting them to compete in everything.
Featured image from YouTube