After recently becoming a tutor, a recurring issue I’ve encountered is students ability being ignored. Some students in mixed ability groups are subject to being taught the basics of the syllabus, foundation, to “get them through” and not taught the higher band content as it would be for the minority of the class.
These students have a real desire to do well but feel let down at being told they would have to teach themselves A grade content with no input. We work meticulously to cover all the content in the upcoming exams to ensure that no questions are left blank; which seems to be the opposite advice that their teachers give them. Its moving that, independently, a small pocket of students desire to push themselves beyond even their teachers expectations to achieve what they know they deserve.
Against the norm of peers and even teachers it seems, these students have developed contentious skills to excel in a subject they would like to pursue which should be nurtured in the growing competitive world. These skills should be treasured as today the majority of students get caught up in rote learning and how to get the best grade – I know I did. This competitive nature, although a great lesson for real life, doesn’t develop children’s personalities into the unique people they are. It promotes the notion that if you are intelligent, you are academic and intelligence is not related to any other aspect of life. The greatest lesson children need to be taught is that everyone is intelligent in their own way and by capturing their unique intelligence they will be successful.
Education systems today seem to see more advantages in scrapping coursework and increasing the weight upon exams than disadvantages. Not everyone’s best skill is an exam as it requires great memory to remember the information of each topic at one set time. Nerves, pressure and events in a a child’s life on the lead up all affect these examinations. It doesn’t seem fair that all children are examined at the same time through the same means when some students will have a clear advantage that can’t be controlled. As a result the children with the most “luck” on examination day are labelled “intelligent”, leading all other children left behind maybe through no fault of their own.
Of course, it’s not as black and white as this as it is NOT all luck – many of these students declared “intelligent” of course work their socks off to gain their deserved grade. But what about the children who work just as hard but only just scrape through or don’t even meet the mark. They tried just as hard, but due to methods used to assess students, or their own passion they couldn’t get the grades to go to college or University. These children miss out because they wern’t examined in the best way for them. New methods may help these children to excel to their potential rather than falling through the gaps.
Introducing new methods of examination may increase popularity for subjects deemed non-academic such as Drama, Art and Psychology. Take Psychology for example; it uses Maths to analyse research, English to write up the reports but due to the long debate over whether it is a Science it is deemed non-academic. Why does another label denote whether or not it is an important subject to be intelligent in. At the end of the day it is a rewarding and important job that would leave a gap if someone wasn’t brave enough to follow a non-academic route. “Non-Academic” has created such a stigma these days meaning a lot of the subjects labelled this way are avoided. Supporting ALL subjects could prevent everyone being mediocre at one thing such as maths and encourage everyone being experts in their own passions.
I would love to show this to children at school today. Teaching them that whatever they love and are good at is something they should explore no matter what.
“get a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”