I REFER to the letter "Education: A thought for dual-medium schools" (NST, April 22). Most people would agree with me if I say generally, learning English opens up opportunities for a wider learning process.
The writer referred to the learning of English as enabling her "to think clearly and see the bigger picture".
It brings to mind the different methods of education experienced by my friends' children, who are schooled in the United Kingdom.
Most of them are able to explain clearly their understanding of issues or subjects being discussed.
Today, some children have yet to be able to explain their surroundings when they are aged 4 or 5.
Education experts may need to find out why students are unable to express their thoughts, or in other words, explain things eloquently.
This may sound harsh, but as a lecturer, I have always felt that students' grades do not reflect their ability to think.
My friend, a private university lecturer, agreed with my theory of "knowledge-chunking".
According to the theory, since knowledge is chunked based on the different subjects, our students have become too exam-oriented and rigid in their thinking skills.
This is a result of knowledge being "chunked", based on the subjects being taught at schools.
For instance, students learning Geography are not able to link the knowledge related to Science when they discuss about growing a particular plant.
This is because they only learn how plants are being grown in Science and the different types of plants in Geography.
The connection of these knowledge is, however, lost.
When students are asked to describe the process based on their understanding, it cannot be articulated.
This theory was supported when I visited Kolej Tunku Ja'afar Primary School on its open day last March.
The teaching process at the school is conducted using themes. For example, when they study about forests, they learn how plants are grown (Science), the different types of forest animals (Science and Zoology), photosynthesis (Science), the various types of plants and forests (Geography), and environment and responsibility (Civic Education), among others.
I noticed that there was no "knowledge-chunking" in their process of learning.
Wouldn't it be good if this is put into practice?
Dr Siti Suriani Othman, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia NST opinion letters-to-the-editor/thinking-skills 03 May 2014