Issues in Education (Reflective Blog 5): Can Technology tame the beast (Shadow Education)?

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Reading Kwo’s and Bray’s article, I’m of the opinion that the formal education system has unwittingly brought upon itself this parasitic shadow of private supplementary tutoring. When the focus of learning has heavily relied on examinations and assessments, can we blame the parents for turning to private tuition to ensure their children pass and advance to the next level? When the focus in education has shifted from providing quality, higher order critical and creative thinking skills to one in which teachers are teaching to test, can we blame the parents for perpetuating the trend of sending their children to tuition centers because they do not want their children to fail and be left behind?

Hence, as they so accurately concluded in their article, ‘schools need to consider why parents are sending their children to tutorial institutions’. I believe that schools (or even higher institutions of learning) in its quest to progress and innovate, has lost sight of its primary mandate and thus, has to re-think again its primary role so as to justify its existence. Perhaps, going back to basics needn’t be so bad after all if clarity of purpose as to what we are educating for is attained.

Additionally, I am also of the view that schools should study ‘what the pupils gain in those institutions that the schools themselves are not providing’ or in my opinion, over-providing (e.g. the constant stress on achieving certain learning outcomes and attaining a certain Grade Point Average, the constant droning of chalk and board talk by not very inspiring teachers etc.).

While schools have caught up with the use of technology and introduce it to the classrooms, I am not too sure if this will tame the beast of ‘private and supplementary tuition’. Students enjoy socializing with their peers via social media like Facebook, gaming in various formats, and even reading and blogging when done for personal, communicative effects. But, typically, when these tools of learning are introduced into the lessons, they often fail to invigorate the interest of the students with the latter often becoming indifferent and skeptical, as though their only private space outside of school has been invaded.

I believe a deeper analysis of why students like and do not like schools should be carried out to better inform decisions on whether learning can be reinvigorated to align with their likes and dislikes.

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