CHILDREN are born with different talents, abilities and skills to help them survive the world when they grow up.
Their unique personalities make them special in their own ways. Thus, it is crucial to understand that when these children go to school, no one is actually better than anyone else. As good and sensible citizens, we should not belittle and discriminate students who do not excel in examinations. Parents and teachers too should stop comparing one child with another. The child will eventually develop an inferiority complex when this happens and it will kill his self-confidence. Clearly, this does not help the child to polish his hidden potential.
With the national public examinations just around the corner, UPSR, PT3, SPM and STPM candidates are struggling to reach the target set by the school. Remedial classes and academic camps are making students’ schedule packed to ensure that they will score the maximum number of As in the examinations.
Consequently, there is pressure and the fun in learning is slowly washed away.
I remember watching Taare Zameen Par, a 2007 Hindi movie directed by Aamir Khan. It was about a dyslexic 8-year-old boy whose parents feel embarrassed as he fails every test, unlike his top-scoring elder brother. The parents fail to identify their younger child’s cognitive problems. He is then transferred to a boarding school just to meet an art teacher who applies strategies to activate the boy’s talents. The teacher discovers that the boy is gifted with visual intelligence that allows him to develop his artistic skills brilliantly.
According to the book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, published in 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the idea of “Multiple Intelligences” with seven distinct intelligences: visual, linguistic, logical, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
Children are believed to possess all the intelligences and are likely to be prone to some intelligences that determine their learning styles and ways of thinking. I am proud of the teachers who vary their teaching methods as it shows that they are concerned about the students’ needs and learning preferences.
As an English teacher, I am usually assigned to teach the last classes of both lower and secondary forms. The majority of the students are not well off and their social background affects their view of education and interest in learning. They are perceived as rule breakers who will only tarnish the school reputation. Problematic learners always agree that rules are meant to be broken but they forget that determined teachers are always there to fix the broken pieces. The responsibilities are undoubtedly heavy and the tasks are challenging but it is time for teachers to do some homework.
This is the opportunity for teachers to take teaching to the next level by experimenting new tricks and techniques in the classroom. If there’s no pain, there’s no gain. Teachers may have to endure heartaches and headaches along the way, but eventually, the passion the teachers build will result in satisfaction money can’t buy.
In my humble opinion, obtaining good grades for primary and secondary education does not guarantee the students will maintain the outstanding achievement in their tertiary education. Failures are not losers. Thomas Edison, William Shakespeare and Bill Gates proved it all. They are perfect examples of successful people who didn’t make it at school.
Students should be encouraged to learn, not forced, to get straight As. Let them burn the midnight oil willingly. Motivate them the right way and the seeds of inspiration in them will grow naturally. Do not blame the gradual process, because Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Teaching is indeed a bittersweet journey. True teachers do not just teach. They learn from their students, too, and the more they learn, the better they will become. Muhamad Solahudin Ramli, Marang, Terengganu NST Letters 25 AUGUST 2014 @ 8:05 AM