I AM worried but not because of the recent Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah exam paper leak. I am worried but not because students have to resit the Science and English papers. I am worried but not because two senior officials in the Education Ministry have been suspended.
What I am worried about is how our primary schoolchildren are reacting to the problem.
It was reported that stressed out 12-year-old Nur Syazwana Batrisya Abdul Aziz of SK Taman Cahaya Masai in Johor Baru lodged a police report over the leaked UPSR English and Science exam papers through her father yesterday (NST, Sept 14).
I can understand her feelings.
But do exams have to be a burden and a chore? Do schoolchildren have to dread taking exams? Do they have to experience frustration and stress if they have to resit exams?
The answers to the above can be “Yes” or “No”. It depends on the student. Does he or she view an exam as a test or assessment? Or, does he or she view an exam as a learning experience, something that is challenging in life?
As William Shakespeare once said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.
And the enduring and abiding quote by Victor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom”.
Why do our students choose to suffer rather than embrace the inevitable?
Sitting or resitting an exam is not the end of the world. There are many more setbacks and crises in life that are worse than sitting an exam.
Even the iconic Apple iPhone faced hiccups during its launch. Countless users encountered problems with its Maps application.
Look at Apple — it has been working hard to solve the problems and now it has a much improved Apple Maps in iOS 7.
Then, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and our country, experienced the tragic loss of precious lives due to the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17. Those are crises of epic proportions, unprecedented in the history of airlines.
Look at MAS. It still has to pick up the pieces, and undergo restructuring and pruning of its staff. Life goes on for MAS, even after the two tragedies.
In a famous Stanford marshmallow test, American children aged 4 were given a marshmallow each. They could either eat the marshmallow immediately, or not eat it and wait for 15 minutes and have an extra marshmallow.
The startling conclusion was that when the researchers tracked the subjects 40 years later, those children who were able to resist the temptation and wait for 15 minutes to have an additional marshmallow had fewer behavioural problems in life, fewer drug problems, were less likely to become obese, were more successful in life and scored an average 210 points more on the American Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
I would like to urge our 12-year-olds to take this leaked paper incident as their “marshmallow test”. Do not get upset and stressed-out now but wait patiently until the end of this month and enjoy the fruits of your labour. You all have another two weeks to really delve deeply into your study of the subjects, solidifying and fortifying your grasp of the subjects.
When life deals you lemons, make lemonade. Relish the challenge of taking your exams again and become more resilient. Who knows, the leak may be a blessing in disguise. L.C.B., Cheras, Selangor NST Letters 17 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 8:08 AM