Student misbehavior often brings worried parents to the doorstep of a counsellor. Their children don’t do assignments or even refuse to go to school. When this happens, parents should investigate to find out the real causes.
Parents are naturally concerned when their children suffer from emotional problems or lack concentration or interest in school work. Some parents also worry about the stress their children suffer from too much homework. They wonder how well their kids get along with classmates and whether there are bullies on campus.
All these woes may be reasons why some students hate going to school. However, educators believe the core of the problem lies somewhere else.
When children refuse to obey their parents or teachers, the problem may be due to their lack of motivation to learn.
In a positive learning environment, children display a natural desire to learn. The process of exploring untapped information and knowledge should be exciting and satisfying.
Unfortunately, the mainstream culture of teaching and learning in Hong Kong kills all the fun.
The curriculum in most local schools is packed with practical topics and leave little room for students’ wild imagination.
Students are spoon-fed with “basic formulas”, “hot topics for exams”, “must be memorized” textbook passages, etc. Such an unwholesome system is some students want to run away from.
Emphasis on what is to be tested will get students worried about not passing the exam much sooner than they actually start learning. That is not to say we must eliminate all forms of assessment. But we must try to raise the student’s motivation to learn by shifting the focus from drilling to learning in the classroom.
Education serves to preserve the continuous history of mankind so it ought to take a more humanistic approach. Instead of dwelling on the areas to be covered by exams and other forms of assessments, educators should share the ideology behind and the feasibility of their pedagogies.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 4
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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