Jon M’s post about exam marking and its comments triggered this post.
What am I doing when I write? I want to communicate something which is uniquely mine – it may cross into the general experience of others, but the way I tell it, is exclusive to my life. The story that I am struggling to write comes from the questions in my head that I am attempting to answer. So it’s imperative that I think for myself rather than think in the prescribed way that someone else has dictated.
What do we want for our children? I want that same free and creative thinking for my offspring and the courage to express those ideas.
Now, I know that my ‘readership’ is predominantly based in Britain, and you may need to suspend your disbelief to swallow the following information. Here in Thailand it is said that the education system is based on by rote learning and so with a number of international schools to choose from, many international parents, including Thais, choose British schools because it has a world reputation as the best education system. It teaches children to think and apply, it is believed, rather than to swallow what is provided and regurgitate on request.
And yet it doesn’t, despite being considered so great by the rest of the world, encourage any form of individuality. In fact, if you have a child that is ‘an individual’ it fails them in any number of ways. As a parent I want to encourage my children to take risks, and think for themselves, but in classes of 30 or so, this simply isn’t encouraged. Indeed any kind of independent thought and behaviour is considered to be subversive and anti social.
I am aware of chiding and coercing Son to behave in a way which is ‘acceptable.’ Schooling (from the age of about three at nursery) has been a constant struggle for both of us. Parents’ Evenings are an ordeal in which I have to sit and listen to a) how intelligent my son is but predominantly b) what a disruptive influence he is. Letters, emails and phone calls home cause my heart to sink.
What do you do with a child who is constantly discouraged from his enthusiasm because it doesn’t fit the pattern of behaviour expected of a group of children? I do realize how hard it is on one teacher to cope with a classful should one child incite the others, but I hope with all my heart that he meets a teacher along the way who realizes how unique he is and that he isn’t turned off for good.