Tag Archives: education system

A School is..

Smart children are those who do well in school. Who can pass tests, and got good grades.

Oh yeah?

Well, I’m not against test.

It’s just that we need to have the right kind of test, to measure a child’s capability, skills, and to find out which are his/her strengths/weakness.

We can’t use standardized test to every child in order to determine whether they are smart or stupid, whether they deserve to move to the next class/grade or to repeat at the same grade, to pass or not to pass. Every child is different, unique and have their own skills and interests, and school tests are supposed to be adjustable to this.

Children who do well in sport or art subjects, have the same opportunity with children who do well in mathematics or linguistics. Both are equally smart, but they are different in the areas of strength.

Apparently, school and the whole system have failed to see this, but we, as parents, must put it in our mind and help our children to regain their self-esteem.

Every children have their own strength and weakness, they are unique, special, and deserve the same opportunity. And yet, there are educational institutions (even the most expensive ones, or especially those expensive ones!) who is using a standardized test to determine whether a child belong or doesn’t belong to their school.

Yesterday, I did some research to three kindergartens in my neighborhood. My son will turn 3 this May, and maybe I will send him to a pre-K institution. I have to admit, I got disappointing result because all three institutions are focusing on introduction to numbers, alphabets, enforcing reading ability, and mathematical ability as their main target, and forgot other areas which need to be emphasized as much as numbers/alphabets.

This is pretty common for early education institutions to be focusing on math and reading as the main subject, dominating 70-80 percent of their curriculum. The remaining 20 percent of the curriculum, goes to other areas such as musical ability, socialization, art/craft, sport activities, and technology/computers. This is so wrong for me, because I want my son to learn (more appropriately, to play) in an institution which have equal/balanced curriculum between academic and non-academic.

It will be a heaven for parents whose children are talented with numbers, alphabets, math and linguistics. But for kids who haven’t got any interest on numbers of alphabets, they will obviously be considered as “less smart” just because they love to draw pictures, able to swim, ride a bicycle, play lego, or sing a song perfectly on pitch.

Not only they will have lower self esteem due to their slow ability in learning numbers/alphabets, the pressure from friends, teachers, and even parents will ruin the child’s entire schooling experience.

So it’s not enough for us to constantly demand the correct education system, to send our children to expensive schools or courses, we must open our eyes as wide as possible and spent enormous quality times with our children to understand what their interest are, what their skills are and what areas are their strength/weakness.

In the end, school as a place to learn will have “some” responsibility to teach certain things to our child, but the belief that “I have sent my child to a reputable school with great program, great curriculum and great teachers. I am sure the result will be satisfying, and I can relax a little bit..” is WRONG. School is one source of knowledge, but it’s not the only one.

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Don’t Go To College, If …

Found a very interesting article this morning from @rudicahyo, about the importance of high education. If Bob Sadino thinks it’s unnecessary to study as high as college, James Altucher even instructed parents NOT to send their kids to college.

Whether college is important or not, the fact is, not all brilliant, rich, and creative people today are college-graduates.

He didn't finish Harvard, one lucky bastard! (Google Images)

So dear fellow parents, or parent-to-be(s), or even those of you who are still in school, or college, do you agree? Before answering that difficult question, why don’t you try to answer this first?

do you know what are you going to do with you life?

If you have a solid determination on what you want to be, a scientist, a doctor, a lawyer, or whatever occupation you have in mind, obviously you MUST go to college to earn more knowledge about the subject of your choice. This is where Mario Teguh, Marissa Haque, or whoever believed that “college will make your life better” is correct. And you can stop reading this blog. 😀

But if you were like me, who went to college because you thought “what else should I do? Everyone else is going, so I think I better go too,” .. you better take some time to think again, stop wasting your parents’ money.

I use to be determined. I had a clear image on what I want to do with my life. I want to be an architect, I want to design houses, buildings, etc. But after it became impossible, I just went along with whatever was there in front of me.

Then everything started to fell apart. I was going nowhere. Without a solid determination on what I want to do with my life, and how I want my future to be, I have no directions. College becomes boring, because I have no idea what to do with all these subjects that I’m learning. I didn’t feel any satisfaction, and attending classes felt like a heavy burden for me.

If you feel the same way, perhaps you should quit for a semester, and rethink your decision through. Perhaps you’re like Mark Zuckerberg, or James Altucher, or everyone else who thought that college is a waste of time and money, and would have succeed in other areas.

If you’re a high school graduate, and can’t decide whether to apply to college or not, here’s my advice to you:

1) Ask yourself what am I going to do with my life? What do I want, what are things that makes me happy, WHAT sort of activities is going to give me satisfaction? What are the things I’m actually good at?

2) Ask yourself again, “Will college going to help me achieve that goal?” If so, what major? What university provides the subject?

You need to set the goal first, then the “how-to-get-there” later. It’s not the other way around. Apparently, most of us were trapped in enjoying high school too much that we forgot to set our goals immediately, and waited for them to appear after we applied to universities.

Now do you still think that it’s necessary to go to college? Do you know what is it you want to do with your life?

What is it?

Will, or is, going to college going to help you achieve that purpose?

Good luck.

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Because We Don’t Remember What School Has Taught Us…

Perhaps I’m not the only one whose life has been haunted by so many tests. From elementary to college, it took me 20 years to finally get out from the chain of “formal education.” At second grade in high school, I got a low score after taking a test in the subject of chemistry, and it ruined my plan to be an architect. I was unable to go to A1 class (natural sciences), and I was placed at A3 class instead (social studies). After graduating high school, I couldn’t take the architectural major because I didn’t came from A1 class. No universities allowed us to do that back then.

I have to take the Economics major, and spent 8 horrible years in college. Now I’m working as an Administration staff, with no passion whatsoever and forgetting what every teacher have taught me for as long as 20 boring years.

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Bad Education = Bad Future

That was one of the reason why I hate tests. And to make it worse, the education system in Indonesia haven’t move forward to a better future. While other countries such as China and the United States are continuously reformed their education system, we are still struggling on how to make the BOS (school’s operational fund from the government) free from corruption. But let’s not lose hope, we can try to monitor and share some thoughts about education by ourselves, to friends, families, and maybe to the educators.

Back to those tests. I agree with what the US president Barack Obama said: “All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test, and that’s not going to make education interesting.” And he got a point, one of the reason why tests are useless is because it makes the process of gaining knowledge to be boring. To my opinion, this is an important fact that we all need to think about.

What President Obama said during his explanation on the updates of his program “No Child Left Behind” is true. And it is no doubt that every country must consider this matter highly important for their educational system. Including China, who through a recent survey have emerged as a powerful country when it comes to in the field of education. They spectacularly rebuilt their system as a modern, high-performance and also egalitarian. And once again, the use of traditional teaching methods are being questioned. How can a system designed 60 years ago could possibly matches China’s goal to engage with modernity, technology, and the world?

Chinese experts have sought to deviate from the pattern of exam-oriented teaching and learning to develop creativity, problem-solving skills and lifelong learning attitudes in students, and to turn tedious study into a pleasant experience. (read more)

Now enough with the trip to USA and China and let’s go back to Indonesia. Our educational foundation (the Indonesian educational curriculum) was latest revised on 2006 and we have our ministry of education who plan, supervise, and in charge to develop/improve our system. We have received enormous assistance from the world bank (so if the reason is insufficient fund, then we know that there are institutions who can help us), but why does it feels like we are still experiencing a major failure in creating bright students? I admit that we have Indonesian students who won international awards, but how many are them compared to the rest of the nation?

It’s not impossible for us to have prodigies, genius children, and to make education as part of everyone’s right. But in order to achieve that, perhaps we must no longer trapped by the old, traditional, way of thinking that test scores are everything and start paying attention to what other countries are doing for their people.

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(I also wrote this article on my “IMO Blog– JabberGibber)

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