This blog is kind of trigger by LP post on rote learning. I have been thinking about teaching these days too.
Just a few weeks ago, my MIL told me to sign my son up for CL classes. I said No, she said its just $65, her other daughter's child is going, why not just go. She complained I always play with my son, I am not concerned about his future. I told her I will teach him myself. There are many reasons for this decision, although it is easier just to dump him off a weekend class.
1) I want to very clearly signal that what someone has or do, doesn't mean I have to do it too.
2) Language is acquired and not learned at age of 5, at such, once in a week learning of CL at such young age is a waste of time.
3) related to point 2, I believed spending 1/2 hour every day is definitely more effective than a drop and dump once a week lesson, even if I am less competent than the tutor.
4) I am sure I will focus on the language experience; the playing, the speaking, the authencity of activities, the story books I choose. I dun want drilling of vocabulary or exam skills at age 5. That can come later.
5) it is just 3 weeks, and my MIL commented that my son speaks better now. Of course la, his dad is professional, you know LOL( sorry, I can't help myself, my ego just exploded)
I tried to balance exam skills and language experience in school, and LP concept of rote learning, ( I will define it as regular drill and practice resulting in memorizing) is what I applied rather regularly too. ( rote learning means something else to me)
Rote learning is highly efficient and effective. Efficient because it uses the least amount of time, effective because it pertain to exam skills, and have a high correlation with exam results.
But scoring A means you are a proficient language user? Have you know someone who score A but speak like S***? Language is a tool, but also a gateway to culture, a carrier of emotions. It has authentic uses for communication, written or verbal. The ministry is trying to emphasize "interactive" spoken and written language now, which is the right direction, but the assessment has not shifted yet, given we are all pragmatic, efficient driven humanbots, what do we do? Exam skills practice, how to analyze the passage? How to prevent careless mistakes in your answers, although your answers would have shown clearly you understand, but No, follow the standard way of answering because in the end, it will be marked and graded that way.
A problem based approach to language acquisition would be more meaningful, in my humble opinion. But that would mean there is no standard curriculum, how to grade pupils?
Don't get me wrong, practice and drilling is inevitable. But we do not live in a black and white world.
Do you think there is a magic formula where u can trade/ value invest and make money? No, there is no standard answers, just various methods that work well with your mind and money.
My pupils always tell me, they don't know the answers. I say, try, it doesn't matter if you get it wrong. Remember I told you a method to derive the answer? Just try it, I won't blame you if you get it wrong. It is returned blank, usually by 1-2 hardcore pupil. To me, it is far more serious than not knowing the answer, in life, we never have answers to many things! Why is my wife unhappy with me, what I didn't snag that promotion? It's ok not to have the "right" answer, but we cannot stop exploring!! The pupils who do not try usually get it hard from me. Tell me how to survive outside, if you don't know how to think!
Pupils are more than happy when I gave answers. Quick solution, long term pain. Just like I never agree with 5-7 years stint of principals, before they are rotated out. How to build character of a school that way? Some scholar come and know he only has 5 years to prove himself, what would he do? We all know how focus of the short term gains in the Coporate world lead to. Need me to repeat GFC? Would he do things differently if he knows he will be around for 12 years minimum? You bet. I know all the pros and reasons for that rotation, but if that is the case, why is PAP not adopting that line of thought and is doing well, both internally (still in power) and externally ( people are still relatively well off ). Given how the ministry is trying to run school like the Coporate world ( saw Singapore quality class award on school banners few years ago, good riddance with that! Glad we have a minister that talk about value- centric education), how irony they didn't see the flaws of the Coporate system.
Sorry that I Side- tracked a bit. I took a hard look and reflected on my lessons after my first 5 weeks. Plenty of misses, since I miscalculate the workload and curriculum requirement of my new workplace. That is the easy part, I can easily adjusted and catch up. But the verdict of my review, do more lessons that focus on exam skills. It is still a real world out there, put interest at a back burner for now, CA is round the corner.
I am glad I am teaching my son the way I want it. Nope, say all you want, I am not sending him to language classes yet.