death by paper cut

{April 15, 2005}   An Epiphany of a Reflective Practitioner

Its not about the programmes, its about the people.

In the business of education, the myriad of programmes are meant to be the tools teachers use to benefit the students, but the reality is – students have instead become the tools teachers utilise to measure the success of their programmes.

Case in point – work review. There are many good purposes of a work review, but more often than not, the message is the more projects and programmes, the better. Doing things for our own betterment = to make sure you’re better than others.

When teachers are surrounded by students most of the time, they seldom really connect with them even in the classroom. Teachers have stopped treating students like real people, but as statistics. The agenda of the teacher in the classroom is her list of Specific Instructional Objectives – objectives must be measureable. You are only as good as what you can achieve. Inadvertantly, the message the teacher transmits is that good grades ensure happiness in life.

But long after we left the corridors of our alma mater, we realise we can’t get further from the truth. So what is the truth?

The truth is – all these programmes usually do not value add to anyone’s life, especially when there’s so many and carried out so grudingly. So I say, although you can’t just decide not to do them, you can make them a preoccupation, rather than a priority.

The priority is to be able to halt all activities and talk to individual persons as if he or she is the only thing in the world that truly matters. That’s what we all need, isn’ it? For someone we care about, to be able to drop everything, and talk to us like everything else can wait. I have been blessed enough to know how much moments like those means.

It doesn’t have to take the whole day, a mere 20 minutes makes that much difference. And when these kids grow up, they can hold on to that thought that even when they don’t achieve accolades, there are, and there will be, people out there who will drop everything and listen to them as if they are the only ones in the world that’s important.


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