Sometime last year in September 2010, I wrote an entry about how Creativity was in jeopardy in Singapore with an entry that you can read here.
Recently this year, I was faced with the problem head on once again as I resumed my interaction with my students.
One of the telling issues that I managed to pick out was that my students were afraid to speak their mind out for fear of saying the wrong things or making mistakes. An example would be of how some of my students would speak out first only to cover their mouths thereafter and when I ask them to repeat what they had just said because I couldn’t hear, they’d refuse because they were afraid of making mistakes.
From such a situation, I must wonder what the teachers in the school have done to the child so much so that a child as young as 10 years old is afraid of speaking their mind because a child as young as that, under normal circumstances would usually be active and eager to contribute – well at least I remember me and my classmates were.
Perhaps, the teachers have cultivated in the students an environment whereby making mistakes is unforgivable and speaking the wrong things means getting punished. But that’s only just a possibility and I don’t think that’s something that I’m straying too far from because the only way a child is unable to be creative is because of how the environment has moulded the child and in this case, it would be the case of the school since children spend more than half of their day in the school.
The uncreativity is really bad when you know that the whole class needs to be spoon-fed with each and every single detail – this after explaining for at least 10 minutes to the whole class and individually to each student for 3 minutes a student.
Now imagine if you only have an hour to teach and you have 15 students.
You wouldn’t even be able to progress much because you’d need to be spending and shuttling between students even after explanations.
Such is the challenge for the destructive work that Singapore’s NO FAILURE education system and social environment has created for whom we constantly call – Leaders of Tomorrow.
I rarely come across schools that participate in a competition for the sole purpose to give exposure and experience to its’ students. Most schools who sign up for competitions would rather send a team so competitive and eager to win that it diminishes the purpose for what’s called EDUCATION – the ability to make mistakes in a safe and controlled positive environment.
In Singapore’s instance, a positive environment is one whereby achievements are tangible in the form of cash prizes or trophies, for the schools, it’s the many awards that they stand to gain for them to proudly display on banners as an advertising collateral to attract the best brains in Singapore.
In a separate account, some of my most street smart students have begun to realise that I’m not just their Speech & Drama trainer, they see that there’s something else about Mr Abd, something that could potentially put them into deep trouble if they do something terribly wrong.