Academic performance in Singapore is often pushed to children because it is believed that the better they perform at school, the better their chances are in getting a good job.
Some parents take this to the extreme and demand for our children to be always on top. Due to the pressure, some children will be unable to take on the pressure and fear of getting bad grades or making mistakes. Some would even say they are dumb even if they only made a few mistakes. This is evident especially highlighted in this report.
When this happens, how should we parents respond? Are we pressing them hard to be on the top? How can we let them know we don’t think they are dumb just because of a few errors?
What is Singapore doing about an overemphasis on grades?
In Singapore, the country’s education system is seen as one of the best.
Many foreigners recognize its efficiency and capacity to produce talented students. Today, many students in Singapore are skilled with difficult specializations like math and science thanks to the country’s education system.
However, the Ministry of Education says that parents should not pressure their kids too much when it comes to grades and exams. They noticed the number of students failing or giving up because they believe it’s not enough for their families. There are also trends where students don’t have the time to have fun because they are busy trying to score high in their tests or assignments.
Because of these numbers, the government looked for ways to help these children out. Recently, MOE removed mid-year examinations to help students discover why learning is fun. They even ensured that Primary 1 and 2 students won’t get examinations so that they can take time in learning the basics without any pressure.
If parents and adults alike reduce the importance of grades and don’t pressure children with it, children will find it easier to do well. They will be motivated to challenge themselves and not have to worry about their parents getting mad because of their grades.
If we keep on emphasizing on it, our children will slowly lose their interest in learning. Some may even find it difficult to socialize because all they do with their time is study.
How Can We Nurture Our Children?
Parents want the best for their child; but, what use will the “best” do if they are unhappy with where they are?
We need to understand that our children learn differently and pressuring them to learn fast will only push them back from greatness. These children need the right type of education and support to unleash their full potential. Ultimately, learning is supposed to be fun and creative but we, as parents, may be taking away the joy of learning.
Greatness in every child
Nowadays, society understands that a person can be intelligent even without testing their IQ or seeing their grades. Every person can be bad at something, but if you ask them to do something they excel in, they will surprise you.
With this in mind, we need to explore where our child excels in and help them develop it further.
For example, if our children love the arts, we should bring them to the art museum or art galleries. Instead of enrolling another class, try something different like self-learning or self-exploration. If your child needs improvement in science, try weekly visits to the Science Centre or do simple experiments at home over the weekend.
Understanding where our children excel in also allows us to be flexible and be compassionate. You can let your child know that even if they have a low grade, their efforts are recognized and you like them to continue learning in the pace that works for them.
Greatness in a child needs to be nurtured
Greatness isn’t something that happens immediately.
You will need to go through all sorts of challenges to hone your skills. When it comes to helping our children reach greatness, we need to ensure that everything we give them will guide them in the right direction.
We need to change how we show our children our support. Be less anxious about grades in school, keep an open mind and listen to what your kids are saying. There are plenty of ways to instill greatness in our children.
Keeping in mind that critical thinking, creativity, empathy, patience and self-discipline are some of the important life skills are not taught in books but through social exposure and experiences. If your child is constantly indoor and desk-bound, you will limit his exposure to these life skills. If it is only their grades we focus on, they won’t have time to focus on anything else because they don’t want to disappoint you.
Our children need opportunities to explore the world and enjoy what the world has to offer.
There is no such thing as a shortcut to be great.
While there is some merit to high scores means a good job, it is also important to know that not all jobs require high academic grades. Some jobs require skills that are not usually honed in schools like innovation.
With this in mind, it is important that us parents balance out our expectations in our child’s academic performance. Every child learns differently and not all of them can score high grades in a snap. We must take the time to know how our children learn and see how you can help them out. Take things slowly if they need to learn things repeatedly, or use aids that will get their interest.
So, if your child isn’t doing well in school, don’t get mad immediately. Find out why they are having problems and see what solutions you can do. Your children will thank you for it and show you that your efforts in helping them are not in vain.
For life skills teaching, here are some articles to help you get started:
How to Teach Your Child the Value of Patience
How to Develop Moral Values in Your Children