Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Unofficial tutorial sessions are the most enjoyable for me. Small group, everyone paying attention, me being asked questions and responding to each individual's specific concerns and tailoring material on the fly to cater to different students' particular needs. Helps also that they are really scared, and I do sympathize with them. Potential 'A' grades in pretty much every subject, but royally screwing up in GP. That's frustrating, but easily explained. Any idiot can study and score 'A's (er... once again, no offense meant), but with GP you can't study something and expect to pass because of the effort spent therein.

Instead, the students' task is to use the content they have already and shape it into the answers they have been asked for. It's like being given plasticine in kindergarten. Kids love plasticine. They squish it, roll it, mould it, sculpt it, and make a complete mess out of it. They love the way it feels in their fingers and how it smears on their faces. They love the control they have over the malleable mass. And when they're done, they have something of their own which they have created and the original lump or slab is no longer recognizable. Sometimes even the original colour has been mixed up with some other hue and the whole thing looks like sh*t. But it doesn't matter. Regardless of what it looks like, the teacher will say things like, "nice dinosaur, Kevin," or, "that's a handy club, Ah Seng, now please stop hitting Amy with it."

No kid is going to preserve his or her share of the plasticine in its shrink wrap and not take it out to play with it. No kid is going to protect its pristine condition and return it to the teacher when it's milk and cookies time because the teacher is most likely to diagnose the kid with some kind of developmental problem. Yet, when they go to JC, the same kids who used to have such fun now work like mad to preserve their content and to return the exact same content to their tutors; then they wonder why they are doing so badly. That's the kind of toil they engage in (or think they are supposed to engage in) and they wonder why they're not having any fun with GP at 18 years old. Where do our youth get their strange ideas from?

Was busy handing out plasticine to various kids today. Will continue to do so over the next couple of weeks. There's plenty to go around.

No comments: