Sunday, September 28, 2008


We certainly do have dilligent kids. From the essays I've been grading, it's quite obvious that they've been studying. Oddly enough, it looks like masses of them have been studying the same things. I've encountered the same facts, the same examples, even the same stock phrases faithfully reproduced in essay after essay. So there's no question that they are a truly hardworking bunch. But, sigh, if only GP rewarded hard work alone, each of them would get a stellar grade.

As I've said before, having knowledge is a good thing, but the more important thing is the ability to select the relevant bits of knowledge and use them to solve the chosen problem. Simply providing a list of facts that have some relationship to an identified topic isn't going to get anybody top grades.

One problem is that many of the other subjects the kids are taking push the idea that if they would just memorise, they will pass score. Their track record shows that they're right, and we in GP get drowned out; the lone voice in the desert crying, "Think! Apply judgement! Argue your case!" But in the end, it's still easier for the kids to deliver a bunch of facts, and wonder why they are just barely passing. Or not.

It must be scary living as a teenager today, though. I get the impression that they are actually living vicariously through their textbooks. 'Cos even when the information from their notes and textbooks are outdated or even goes against what should be common daily observations, the notes and textbook 'facts' -- in an occasionally warped and twisted form -- still come out in their essays. If it's in the textbook, it must be right. Can't argue with that logic.

So I'm not all that surprised that our kids know squat about contraception, a real-life issue. It doesn't come up an any subject that they're preparing to take an examination in, so it isn't important. It isn't in the textbook either, so, y'know, like, whatever. As for 'experimentation' there's enough info in the old sec 4 bio textbook to figure out what goes where, but it kinda' ends there. Hence, the few teenage pregnancies a year. The other teens are probably too busy studying. Probably.

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