Mod­er­ate ap­proach helps kids en­joy learn­ing

New Straits Times - - Letters -

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

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