Moderate approach helps kids enjoy learning
THE future is near, or the future is tomorrow, and worse, the future is now; such phrases are ringing in the heads of parents these days.
Hence, the rush to equip their child with the best of education, artistic skills, sports training, and the list goes on.
Kids are pushed into challenges to get the best out of them in the quickest time possible.
Everyone wants their child to be number one in the class, so who is going to be number two, three or even 27.
If every child needs to be in the debate team, who is going to be the spectator?
The biggest concern should be that the kids are missing out on their childhood, the one we had.
Thirty years ago, people lived a simpler, healthier lifestyle with an equal balance between work and leisure.
Children ran around the housing areas, climbed trees, and cycled after school hours. Playing marbles, paper boats in the rain, flying kites on a sunny day and other fun kid stuff was the norm.
Things have changed. It’s all about long school hours, endless tuition, piano and mental arithmetic classes, homework, ballet and other activities .
In those long-gone days, kids enjoyed home-prepared food. Fast food was not an option for children.
In the current era, kids are struggling to meet the regimented life and many are suffering from burnout, stress and other emotional and mental-related ailments.
We all want to equip our child with the best of education to guarantee their career in the future. It’s a valid concern, but at what expense and consequences?
Psychiatric treatment, eating disorders, drug abuse and even suicide among teenagers make the headlines in print and on social media, though it’s not as rampant as in Taiwan and Singapore.
However, it’s a cause for concern.
We don’t need an Einstein to figure out how we have reached this state of mind.
We are caught in the world of ranking, position, power and status. Parents want bragging rights to show off to their family, extended family, colleagues, neighbours and the other mummies from the school.
The future of our children is in our hands.
It is not wise for children to continue a stressful, academic lifestyle.
It is time for us to get really serious and work together.
Guiding them so that they can enjoy lifelong learning must be the parents’ priority.
Education should be joyful, rather than a grind.
We need a holistic approach to overcome this dilemma, and protect our children from the stress of the current rat-race lifestyle.
The current generation, the “Digital Natives” (Marc Prensky, 2001), due to their intense use of information and communication technology, are experiencing digital comfort but not information fluency.
They are constantly exposed to social media and celebrity culture through social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instragram, etc. This may lead to an obsession with material, image and perfection.
Parents need to work with the children’s needs in mind to make them happy, and the effort will eventually make them work harder.
While schools are moving towards the idea of equipping classroom with modern gadgets, it is important to practice moderation.
To enhance creativity and moderation, ICT tools should be used wisely. According to Richard E. Clark (2001), instructional tools are “mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence students’ achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition”.
Effective learning lies with the interdependence of the method and learning tools.
Activities that do not involve examinations should be considered in schools, like gardening tailoring and handicrafts, and should be connected to sciencebased subjects innovatively.
A moderate approach is much needed for children to enjoy and reach stability in their lives.
NORMAN NATHAN Kuala Lumpur