It’s been more than a little difficult to stay updated what with work becoming all-consuming, but I’ll try to post up some good op-eds and interesting reads more frequently in the weeks to come. I can’t quite remember why I didn’t post this one up on education – a two-part commentary by TODAY on the Finnish education system vs the Singapore one. It’s occasionally depressing (if not heart breaking) to read students rant about the local system championing only ‘rote learning’ and bemoaning the levels of stress, given that so much work goes into avoiding precisely that – okay, more of the former than the latter. I suppose in a country where more-is-more, something’s got to give. Other commentators seem to think otherwise: we are an innovative, response-driven system that allows for experimentation, even failure. A lot of good work goes on in the Primary schools like this report here
More on the Finnish system here: http://www.todayonline.com/commentary/teachers-they-trust
In sum: No standardised national exams till 18 or 19, high degrees of flexibility and teacher autonomy, stringent teacher training and quality of mentorship for beginning teachers.
Contextually, SG and the Finland/Denmark/Norway/Sweden are poles apart, but there is something to be learnt about cultivating and supporting a more autonomous teaching culture, a blunting of the standardised-testing instrument, and fundamentally, a broadening of the definition of what it means to succeed. We cannot allow fordism to seep into the heart-work of teaching, and release students batch-by-batch as economic beings rather than transformational beings.