Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stop Reading This

The last revision for the learning of Mandarin was targeted at emphasis on conversational skill, not reading, which brought howls from those fearful of diluting the mastery of the language. It looks like the teaching of English in our schools is heading that way too.

The official spiel is that the focus will be on speaking the language more confidently, never mind if they end up not being able to read the road signs. Or the letter from LTA requesting particulars of the driver of the car caught speeding. The trick is the use of visuals.  Instead of the current written instruction on a test paper to, say, pen an essay on a fixed topic, the student will be presented with three pictures as guides to compose their masterpiece. Presumably, the drawings will be detailed enough to differentiate a HDB block from a Sentosa Cove condominium, an Ikea chair from a Herman Miller, a local born and bred from a foreigner.

Wong Siew Hoong, deputy director-general of Education (Curriculum) at the Ministry of Education (MOE), claims the aim was to prepare pupils for the "21st century workplace" where, presumably nobody will need to decipher the permutation of the English alphabet.  "Didn't you read the memo" will no longer be an excuse for missing another office meeting. Those handicapped by dyslexia will welcome the good news, no longer will they be mentally challenged  at determining the meaning of a simple sentence. All too soon, we will be moving on to communicating with sign language and flash cards. The question to ask,  is this progress worth the 8 percent in salary increment for the teachers?  Well, if reading anonymous online blogs drives up your blood pressure, this may just be the solution for you


  1. Lol! As usual, quietly and surreptitiously you hit those obscenely paid idiots below the belt! Ooch! Those retards must be screaming and crying for blood! Hahaha! Good one!

  2. I said that again. MOE is experimenting with our future once again. Whats wrong with age-old method of reading and spelling tests? Is the new system better or just another shot by the Minister of Education to justify why he is being paid in millions? We went through so many changes and please tell us how many projects actually worked? Please do not change for the sake of change. Reduce the class size for a start. Why it is so difficult to do? What do you think?

    1. You are spot on about the MOE's change for the sake of changing.
      My first kid studied Mandarin with the text in Chinese characters only.
      For my second kid, two years later,they added Pinyin to the Chinese characters - that way, they can at least pronounce the word.
      One year later on, my third kid had text with Pinyin only. Chinese characters were introduced later.
      All the scholars in the Ministry, and they can't make up their bloody minds what is the best way to teach the subject. Indeed, our children are guinea pigs for their experimentation.

    2. Everytime govt say to fix things = quality..they always mean throw more money at it. No surprise there lah. All that pay deduction 1 year ago after GE2011, probably are all recouped by now through other ways.

  3. It's going to be the same as teach less, learn more scenario, whatever that is not taught in school, will be taught at the tuition center.

    The tuition centers will laugh their ways to the bank while the children and parents suffer.

    Who want to have kids ?

    1. You are right.
      The deficiency in our education system will be taken up by the tuition centers.

      And the tuition centers will help the Millionaire Minister achieve his KPIs even though his ideas and methods are stupid.

      And who pays?
      The dumb sinkies.

      Keep voting PAP lah!
      Only the tuition industry will benefit.

  4. Our poor kids will be guinea pigs again, or rather we all had been all along. Just do away with the mother tongue policy and introduce it only during secondary school and I believe, then we will achieve proficiency in our 1st language. For those who want to excel in their mother tongue,by all means. Maybe we have too many PRCs now that our English proficiency got watered down. Dumb policy makers at MOE.

  5. It will be the next big thing in education. Teach less (MOE teachers), earn more (MOE teachers/private tutors), scre**d even more. (kids/parents)

  6. every morning I look forward to reading your blog and then the shitty times:)

    1. Agree! Always a pleasure to read this blog.

      On the subject mentioned, as my late fsther lamented years asgo, someone in the Education Ministry had this wonderful notion that English Grammar need not be taught.

      The home environment should be good enough to incalculate the the idiocracy of the English Grammar.....

      Only problem is that not many families here then and now converse in Queen English.

  7. Someone on kaisuparents forum gave this as example of PSLE critical thinking question -
    1. How to encourage more young Singaporeans to marry young and have more children?
    2. How to foster better bonding between locals and new immigrants?
    3. How to get A* PSLE without going for tuition nor parental supervision?

    By the way those well connected tuition centres are ready to dish out solution for your children. Remember first to Tuition then to school. So don't worry too much.//

    Is this some real examples, seriously? If so, I am very shocked!
    Not sure if this is part of the STELLAR program or not, but does anyone see anything wrong with that?

    1. hmmm...

      Depending on what is the 'standard' answers these tuition centers or teachers claim to provide. Why would question 1 naturally follow question 2? Is the intention to brainwash young people to support the govt's social policies such as marry young and have children, without asking why the blind encouragement? Or will the answer then lead to the reasons why citizens should welcome new immigrants (naturally?) because we a nation fail to product young children, we will fold up?

      Ahh...i see. A whole new brainwash all together!

  8. "..the student will be presented with three pictures as guides to compose their masterpiece"

    Don't worry. I think our students/singaporeans are very good at looking at pictures and still form accurate views.


    1. are you a facebook shareholder? You shud sell them soon you know they are going down the drain.

  9. Some changes are intentional. The reason for the "tweak" of 2nd language was the result of one of the great leader's grand children's misadventures with 2nd language. At least the subsequent reversal (which shortened the hen's stint at MoE thought not jinx's sister's) showed that 2nd language teachers deserved their 8% pay hike.

    As an aside, after a decade of Mao's cultural revolution, a big part of that generation who were to go to school in the 1960s and 1970s grew up illiterate - they spoke well, just couldn't read or write. The red dot is absorbing all the lessons from the red sun's lessons well - from despotism and corruption of officials, to brainwashing via education. So when the barefoot doctors?

  10. How come when asking for a pay increase, of $50, for Town Council's cleaners, there is a need for justification of productivity.

    When there is a pay increase of $800 - $1,000 dollars for teachers, why is there no justification and where does the money comes from.