The Benefits and Challenges of Student-Designed Learning

This article talks about the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in America attempting a new way for students to learn: they were to try to "design their own learning". Students had freedom to pursue topics they were passionate about, but had to motivate themselves to complete their tasks without the firm deadlines and rubrics that had become standard to them. 

I think that this method would be beneficial to Singapore students as it can broaden our perspectives. Some SLA students researched on gender stereotyping while a few African-American students chose to work on "colorism". They needed to do field research like conducting surveys from their neighbourhood. To be able to come up with a research topic and present our findings, we would need to identify a problem or trend in society that interests us, mainly by reading up on current affairs or observing trends in our daily lives. Through the research, we need to put ourselves in others' shoes to understand their problems, developing a stronger sense of empathy, as well as social awareness. This learning experience would expose us beyond what we learn in school and allow us to gain insights into the society, broadening our perspectives. 

Changes to psle, what could be in store?

Link: Changes to psle, what could be in store?

By this year, Psle aggregate scores may be scrapped and replaced by simple bands such as A, B, C, would this be beneficial?

I feel that this is system should not be implemented as it would mean serious competition for spaces in popular secondary schools. The grade 'A' has a range of 25 marks for those above 74 and we would than be unable to differentiate those of higher grades in the same band as all would receive the same grade, unlike with the aggregate scores, which provided a more specific score. This would also mean that many people would have to fight for spaces in popular secondary schools belonging in their grade and it would mean difficulty choosing places for students who more or less have the same grades. This would result in many popular schools either having to give our spaces at random to those of the same band or to give them out on a first come first serve basis, which may be unfair for those more worthy students and actual higher scores, who may lose out to those who chosen at random. However I do agree that aggregate scores put large amounts of pressure and stress on primary 6s, but I do not believe in simple grade bands being the best solution to this problem.

PSLE scores to be scrapped, students to be given grades

The high-stakes nature of the PSLE has often been cited by parents and observers as a major contributing factor to the stress in the education system. Therefore, 12-year-olds will in future no longer be given aggregate scores for the national examination. Instead, students could be given letter grades and placed in “wider bands” like in the O- and A-Level examinations.
Personally, we support the decision made to remove aggregate score during the PSLE examination. PSLE examination has caused a lot of stress in students, and the student's future seems to depend heavily on that aggregate score. Parents have also been adding onto that stress, putting pressure on their child to do well and also comparing their child's score with their relatives. Thus, removing the aggregate score will serve to remove some stress from the students. Students will feel less discouraged even though they may not score as well as their peers, as they do not know their score. However, this will also mean that the students will not know how well they fair in this national exam, and some may think they scored very well and thus stop working hard.

Changes to PSLE grading: What could be in store?

Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) aggregate score will be scrapped and replaced with simple grade bands such as A, B and C some time this year.

I feel that this system should not be implemented. Even though I agree that this can cause less stress for students due to a decrease in pressure, I think this new system will not be beneficial to a student's learning. Students will not know their true standard and in fact stress is what cause a student to work harder to win over others. For example, a candidate who get borderline A in PSLE will think that her score is already very good, when in fact the top scorer might have gotten 50 more marks than her in total, but is still an grade A. If the candidate knows her actual score, she will be clearer of her actual standard and will put in more effort to be better in rankings. In a stress and pressure-free environment, there is nothing to 'push' us to constantly try harder. Only in a competitive society will we work harder to win.

Schools, stop the 'kiasu' practice of using DSA to 'chope' bright kids

Schools, stop the 'kiasu' practice of using DSA to 'chope' bright kids


The Direct School Admission (DSA) was introduced in 2004 to let secondary schools broaden their admission criteria beyond PSLE scores and give those with other talents in sports and the arts, a chance to shine. However, some schools have been using the DSA scheme to admit students on the basis of academic strength. In the most competitive schools, like Raffles Institution, at least half the students they admit through DSA are academically talented. Many of these students would be from the GEP, and likely would have got into their choice schools based on PSLE scores. In 2012, MOE released figures showing that 60% of those admitted to these schools via DSA would have gotten in based on their PSLE scores. Thus, the DSA scheme has become another way for the academically bright pupils to secure places in the premier schools ahead of the PSLE, contradicting the core objective of the DSA scheme. Hence, MOE should relook at the DSA scheme and stop schools from using academic criteria to admit students under this scheme. 
 I disagree that schools should use DSA to "chope" bright students as it is unfair for other students who perform average in their studies. When secondary schools take in students based on their academic talent, other students who perform well enough to enter these schools will be deprived of the chance, as most of the slots have gone to these bright and smart students. Thus, these students will not have a chance to get into these good schools to further their studies, thus causing the "smart to become smarter" while the average students will not be able to progress. As mentioned in the article, one example would be the Raffles Institution. At least half of the students there that they admit through DSA are academically talented. This shows that only half of the school intake is left for students who study in normal school and not in the gifted educational programme. Hence, this shows that admitting students through academic talent is unfair to other students and deprived them of the chance to do well.

Could Teenager Wreck your life?

We agree that infatuation will bring detrimental effects to their life. In the article, it states that with infatuation, breakups will come too. Due to these breakups, more and more teenagers will fall into depression. This shows that teenagers who are involved in relationships at this point in time will most likely fall into depression. Furthermore, being in a relationship, teenagers will not be able cope with schoolwork as well as family relationships. When teenagers are in a relationship, they need more time to be spent with their partner. Hence, this will result in them having less time spent to do schoolwork or spend time with their family. In conclusion, we agree that infatuation and relationships will bring negative effects to teenagers' life.

Malaysia schools reopen after heatwave closure, but no outdoor activities
This article is talking about the Schools in the northern Malaysian states of Perlis and Kedah, which were closed due to the heatwave, having their classes resumed on Thursday (March 24) but outdoor activities are still suspended.the education ministry talk about declared schools to be reopened the decision was made as the temperatures recorded over the preceding 72 hours were below 38 deg.
It is saddening to hear that school closes when the heatwave strikes in some states Malaysia, the Earth's temperature has been increasing over the years due to human development and many harmful consequences have affected the Earth. I think that environment being affected negatively will also interfere us in our daily lives. The Earth is a place for us to live in and every single one of us should be responsible and be a part in saving the Earth. If global warming increases without doing anything to prevent it, our lives such as in the aspect of education, government or health or even more would be affected too. Hence, I believe that it is important that we save the earth through a,individual or a community event.

Changes to PSLE Grading: What Could Be In Store?

Changes To PSLE Grading: What Could Be In Store?

PSLE aggregate scores may be scrapped and replaced with simple grades such as A, B and C. Most parents and educators agree that removing the aggregate score will reduce stress on pupils, and instead of chasing after that final few marks, they can focus more on a holistic development of their skills and interests. The new grading system will be more like the A levels, where the grades are fewer and bands are wider. This will reduce the risk that children are too finely sorted by academic ability at a young age.

I feel that this system should not be implemented although it helps to reduce stress as students will not be able to know exactly how well they have done in the PSLE. They may assume that they have already done very well when they see an A in their results when in actual fact, they may have just barely gotten the A grade. One student may also feel discouraged when their grades are lower than their classmates but their actual results may only differ one or two marks. It will also be harder to know which students are better and which secondary schools they should go to. This may result in students of all different standards put in the same school and it will affect their learning process as they would have different learning speeds. Even though it may be more stressful for the students, the PSLE aggregate scores will allow students to have a better idea of where they stand among their schoolmates and work harder to improve.
This is an article where Australia introduced a programme a decade ago which is to ensure that every secondary school student in the country had a computer as part of so-called "digital education revolution" and evaluations of whether the method is effective and useful for students or a  distraction.
I agree with this article. I think that laptops are indeed a distraction for the students. Pupils at this age, especially secondary period, have little self-discipline. They could not refrain themselves from spending too much time on the laptops. They get distracted easily by non-educational websites, therefore laptops should not be allowed to used in school. According to the passage, it states that "Another school, St Paul's Catholic College in Sydney, said it has banned the use of laptops for one day a week to encourage students to play sport and to reduce reliance on the machines.". This shows that laptops are bringing detrimental effect to the students, therefore it should be banned in schools. Thus, with the evidence and explanation above, I can conclude that laptops are distraction to students and should be banned.

Schools, stop the 'kiasu' practice of using DSA to 'chope' bright kids, by Jun Na&Jie Ning

Link: Schools, stop the 'kiasu' practice of using DSA to 'chope' bright kids

Summary: Direct School Admission Scheme (DSA) was introduced in 2004, where students with talents in sports and arts can enter 'top' schools that specailise in these areas. However, in recent years, more 'kiasu' parents use DSA to secure a place for their child in these IP schools even though their child might already be smart enough to get a high PSLE score to enter the school. This reduces the amount of spaces left for others who might not be smart enough but have talents in other areas which defeats the purpose of DSA. Thus, DSA should not be an avenue for parents to 'chope' a place for bright students first.

Opinion: In my opinion, I agree with the author of this article because DSA is meant for not so bright students but with talents in sports and arts can enter schools that specializes in these areas and therefore, can have more exposure and opportunities for them to excel in their talents. This allows students to be able to benefit better from these schools as they have better opportunities to groom themselves according to their talents and thus, wouldn't go to waste. Imagine if these students did not have a chance to enter these schools and went to a neighborhood school instead as their results were not high enough, they wouldn't be able to groom themselves as well as those in these specialized schools and wouldn't be able to discover and unleash their talents hiding in them. Also, MOE should re-look at the DSA scheme and not put results as the basis to admit students in their school through DSA. After all, these students are entering due to their talents in their talent in sports and arts.

Schools, stop the 'kiasu' practice of using DSA to 'chope' bright kids, by Alvina and Yan Yang

Link: Schools, stop the 'Kiasu' practice of using DSA to 'Chope' bright kids

Summary: DSA is a scheme that allows secondary schools, including the top ones, to admit students based on not just their academic ability, but also their talent in sport and the arts. It will draw a different group of students and inject more diversity into the student bodies in the top secondary schools.
But sadly, within a few years, both schools and parents started gaming the system.
Opinion: We agree with the writer that schools should stop this practice. By having DSA, students of different groups with other talents can attend certain schools, and do not have to be very academically inclined. By taking in all the bright kids, it defeats the purpose of DSA, as in the end, people with other talents still cannot join the school as they may not excel in studies. According to the passage, some schools have been using DSA scheme to admit students on the basis of academic strength including those from Gufted Education Programme. This shows that top schools are not making use of DSA to accept a diversity of students. Therefore, we agree with the writer that schools should stop this practice.

Experts laud move to have students clean schools

Link: Experts laud move to have students clean schools
Summary (50w): A move to make all schools include cleaning activities by the end of the year could bring long term benefits to students. It will help build character, cultivate a sense of ownership and spill over to the home environment. They will learn to take responsibility and have opportunities to work with others.

Opinion: We strongly agree with the Ministry of Education that students have to participate in cleaning activities. This is because such activities can teach the students to keep their environment clean and not litter, teaching them to be responsible for their environment. When they clean with their classmates, they also learn to work together in groups, having chances to communicate. Doing so also impart values and build character in them. Thus, we strongly agree that students have to participate in cleaning activities as it a platform for them to develop and benefit from.

What Do We Lose By Measuring ‘Average’ In Education?

Through the example of pilots performing better if the cockpits fits their body, the author was able to bring out the idea that fit creates opportunity. If the environment is a bad match with our individuality, then our performance will always be artificially impaired. If we do get a good fit with our environment, we will then have the opportunity to show what we are truly capable of. This means that if we want equal opportunity for everyone, where we are able to live up to our full potential, then we must create educational institutions that is responsive to individuality.

I agree with the author that fit creates opportunity. The education system that we are under does not necessarily suit everybody. It only fit those who are fast learners and for those who are not as fast, they would be left behind and they will never be able to catch up. This is unfair to them as the system does not provide them with a suitable platform for them to reach their full potential. Every man is born different, hence the education system should provide different students with different kinds of teaching pace, so that it is responsive to different individuals. This is so as to allow all students to excel and to bring up a society of individual excellence.