Teach your children…

I spotted this headline in a local daily the other day…

Newspaper headline

…and the first thing that crossed my mind was – whatever for? What are they going to teach the kids? Einstein’s E = mc2…or Pythagoras’ theorem…or Newton’s “For every action, there is an equal reaction…”? What knowledge would they have to impart to the children that entails the recruiting of graduate teachers?

Gee! Aren’t they supposed to enjoy and have fun? At that point in time, they’re supposed to develop their motor skills through playing with building blocks, play-doh or plasticine or making paper handicraft, their mental skills through games, jigsaw puzzles and so on, their social skills when they mingle with their peers…and they’re supposed to sing and dance and have fun. I have heard of parents who moved their kids to other kindergartens for the simple reason that there were no books and no examinations…and the kids played all day.

Once, my mother visited my brother and his family in New Zealand. When she came home, she complained about the grandchildren going to school with an empty school bag – just their lunch…and they seemed to be going somewhere all the time. I guess they went on field trips to the museum or the science centre and the like…and they probably learned more than they ever would from books in the classroom. I also visited some primary schools in the UK myself and found that the system there was very different from our book and exam-oriented AND rote-learning system here.

Or are they going to enlist graduates in child psychology? If you ask me, those are mere theories, academic stuff. In real life, every individual is different and one cannot stick steadfastly to principles drawn up through researches based on some groups of little tots halfway across the world. “Teaching is a work of heart.” Just because someone is a graduate, it does not necessarily mean that he or she can handle the kids better. Even a maid with no formal education would be able to guide the kids effectively to learn things of immediate need and concern through the love and affection that she showers upon them.

I have heard presenters at seminars – those with a string of degrees. Once, there was one from a local university, a PhD holder no less, who was SO boring and nobody knew what he was talking about, so everybody switched off and started talking among themselves. He was annoyed as the noise level was too high for him to be heard, and he knocked on the microphone and said, “Excuse me! I am still talking! I haven’t finished!” Sadly, nobody gave two hoots about the poor guy and went on with their private conversations. Imagine people like that teaching the little children…

I suppose in principle, it would be good to train those teachers who are going to teach in pre-schools but then again, that will give rise to a few considerations on the matter. One is the selection – who will they choose to be trained? Don’t we all know that there are teachers in the schools who should not have been chosen in the first place…and who managed to pass and graduate, some with 1st Class Honours some more? Two, who is going to train them? If you think the lecturers in the teacher training institutes and the universities are any better than the teachers in the schools, think again! Just look at the PhD guy at the aforementioned seminar!

Whatever it is, I hope this is not another of those desperate measures to provide employment to those unemployed graduates from the universities – just a year of training and abacadabra! Behold! A full-fledged teacher to be dumped in the schools, never mind what damage he or she will do! To be fair, there may be some good ones – those who are naturally-gifted with a flair for teaching but I am quite sure that these are few and far between. Little do they bother that this is the beginning of a vicious cycle…and the backlash will come sooner or later. Thank goodness I do not have any more kids in school…