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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Adapting The Classroom TO The Children

To date, I have not met a child that dislikes' Dr. Pet's classes. Parents have their complaints about me. Some do not like me. It used to hurt and stress me but I have now come to accept the inevitable. I cannot please everyone. The best I can do is to make it easy for the unhappy parent to withdraw his/her child.

The children... oh, the children are different. Every child comes to class willingly. Quite a few (especially the little ones, are even obviously sad when class ends). 

"Why does time pass so fast here? Is it time to go home already?" said one little P3, looking somewhat upset.  Every single child fears above all else, to be told to leave my classes and go to another centre with a more traditional format with worksheets, tables, chairs and a teacher at the front of the class. 

We have worksheets, but we have no tables, nor chairs and the Teacher sits at the back of the class. The children's backs face the Teacher.

See here that the little ones wear their name tags on the back of their shirts. They are NOT to look at the Teacher. They learn only when they solve the puzzles we give them. They learn only when they interact with their friends to work as a team. Our children are allowed to lie on the backs to work. Some sprawl on their bellies. This has always been a rather weird feature of our classes but the children love it.

Then I found out that a school in Finland does exactly the same thing. See the screenshot on the right from an article HERE.

It states that "children are allowed to sit where and in whatever position they want, and discussion between them in class is even encouraged." Similarly, in our classes, a quiet classroom is a bad one. We do not want the children to sit still and be quiet. Children's brains stay awake when their bodies get to move, and when they get to talk. Our children MUST discuss and figure things out. We guide them (by saying that they are off track, close or on track) but they do all the thinking for themselves.

Children in traditional classrooms with the Teacher in the front of the class telling and explaining, grow the areas of the brain involved in (1) Remember, (2) Understand and (3) Apply. These are the LOWER Order Thinking Skills.  Children given puzzles to solve, grow the areas of the brain involved in (4) Analysis, (5) Evaluation/Synthesis, (6) Conclusion/Creation. These are the HIGHER Order Thinking skills.

It is hard for me to understand how MOE Teachers can teach Higher Order Thinking skills by  standing at the front of the class to explain. Surely when someone explains, all the student needs to do is Remember, Understand and Apply? How then would the Teacher be able to stimulate the student's brain to Analyse, Synthesise and Conclude/Create?

But well, the MOE Teacher has classes of 40 to deal with. There is no way he/she can allow lessons where kids interact, where they get sit where they want and how they want. It would be chaotic. For goodness sakes, give our Teachers small classes of 15 to 20 to teach.


Malar said...

I wish you have a branch here so that I can sent my kids! ;)

Joyce said...

I know of a school in Singapore that will be implementing this method next year when they moved to their new premises, unfortunately my eldest will only benefit from it for a short while as MOE has decreed that he needs to attend MOE schools in 2017. We are doing all we can (even engaging a lawyer) to ask MOE to allow our children to stay in said school.

I think you and the principal are kindred spirits who empathised how children should learn for themselves and not what they are learning from us. Fingers crossed my children gets to stay.

Petunia Lee said...

Your child must be GEP then. Would you kindly leave a note to let me know which school? I will not publish that comment. It is just for myself to read and know. Thanks!! MOE's results are a result of parents paying for private tuition outside of school stimulated by world class testing methods. Its teaching methods are as old as Goh Keng Swee. That was the last Minister with any ability to think critically and innovate courageously.

Tricia Tan said...

I read your book and I am inspired by your strong commitment to engage your children in self-learning.I like the way your classes which helps to child to develop a positive learning attitude. Do you still run the enrichment classes ?

Tricia Tan said...

I like the way you conduct the class. My 8 year old girl "hates" school and enrichment classes. Your class will appeal to her. Do you still conduct Dr Pet English Enrichment clasd?

Petunia Lee said...

Hi Tricia, sorry this comment is so late. I have not been monitoring the blog. Please google Motivation Genome and send in your enquiry via the Contact Form? Then, I will email you the necessary information. Thank you.