Deminc... I don't disagree with you. I picked up a book today about how education actually doesn't unlock our talents. For many, a good education locks it away. How come so many children are creative? And so few adults are?
As you said, there is such a thing as too much education
. The writer asserts the following points...
(1) University admission criteria (and the narrow band of skills they value) have influenced how many parents think of IQ.
(2) IQ testing itself explores a narrow band of skills and calls it Intelligence hence an ITE grad who can do magic with a blowtorch... whilst scoring low in academics and IQ is NOT intelligent. By our narrow definition of intelligence, this guy is really dumb because he left school at 14 to work in construction http://petunialee.blogspot.com/2010/01/ ... utter.html
(3) There are many PhDs who can't find a job.
When I write in this forum, I am not trying encourage parents to go up the vortex of enrichment. I am trying to reverse the trend by encouraging schools to REALISE that they must not reinforce such parental behaviors by constantly following the bar set by parents and their expensive enrichment
I must make clear that I've never believed in tuition/enrichment nor even extra help for my kids. Till NOW, DS has no enrichment. He told me he was bored with practice papers. His exams are in 2 weeks. I told him "Ok... no more practices till AFTER exams. I don't care what the results will be but we will play and rot till then." He is IN the system and we have no choice but to help him do as well as he can. To persevere and do his best. But I am also mindful that he has emotional needs and a right to a HAPPY childhood. When push comes to shove and I have to make a choice between high scores and a happy child, I make the choice for a happy and well-balanced child. Again and again.
However, where I disagree with you is that I think it a fallacy to think that only parents are to blame. Parents may have started it. That I agree. But the schools don't have to be sucked along.
MOE can decide that no matter how far ahead of the bar enrichment kids are, the mainstream exams will look sane.
This means that parents like me don't have to play catch up. More importantly, it means that children with no access to enrichment don't get beaten down.
Like I said before, my DS has ME. I am here to patch him up and let him know that even if he fails Chinese (after trying his best) I will be proud of him. Many children go home to scoldings and canings when results are poor. Many children bear with relatives' comparisons of "Sister is smarter than Brother" without a buffer. My DS goes through that every CNY. Like a Mother Wolf, I glare at ANYONE who dares even intimate that DS is a lesser person than DD. All relatives know that they will have to deal with me if they unwittingly make my son feel like a lesser person for not doing as well as his sister academically. But not every child has a mother as sensitive to psychological priming as I am. Not many parents will guard against notions and ideas that disappear into the ether of conversation, but lodge firmly in a child's mind.
Again and again, I have parents bring me children who are not motivated. I work with each pair. Invariably, the child is not working because he is demoralized... and the set of motivation strategies I coach to the parent are just those aimed at improving self-efficacy and self-concept... and giving hope. There was nothing wrong with the child. Just a normal playful child who has decided that he/she is dumb.
The SYSTEM must stop following the enrichment parents
. The SYSTEM must stop rewarding the efforts of all this enrichment by providing kids with enrichment the highest marks. If exams are set such that kids can get 100% without enrichment, many of the kids that do go for enrichment would find it a waste of time. Go also 100%. Don't go also 100%. So why go? Let those enriched kids who wanna move ahead skip levels. But keep the tests and exams within the levels appropriate to that level so that more kids can feel good about themselves.
We have come to a point where parents and more parents are sucked into this vortex. The only solution is for the system to take a stand and stop testing beyond what they teach, regardless of the fact that ENRICHMENT PARENTS started this, regardless of the fact that ENRICHMENT PARENTS started this vortex.Certainly, many trees in the forest are sick. But we need a forest wide solution to prevent more trees from getting sick. You are fighting it, deminc. You speak out against these trees but the solution we need is forest-wide, not tree-specific. If we don't unite and lobby for a systemic STOP to this sort of testing, it may be YOU, in a few years who will fall to the contagion too... or else, do like me, explore education abroad, and homeschooling.
But the day we relocate for the sake of our grandchildren, I know that I have given up hope for Singapore, and I would be sad to leave behind children who aren't as lucky as mine, or yours.