The least learning is done in the classrooms. Do you agree? Students spend most their time learning about the syllabus in the classrooms through lessons conducted by teachers or at times, external vendors. However, though most time is spent in classrooms, we question how much learning is effective. Most learning done in classrooms are focus on academic aspect, we must not forget that students need holistic development which is acquired through many other activities outside the classrooms like Co-curriculum activities (CCA), learning journeys, adventure camps and more.
Holistic development holds a high importance in student’s character hence i agree that least learning is done in the classrooms. Schools organize learning journeys for students which foster important learning experience that will link the theoretical with the experiential. This provides students with more insights of the outside world rather than just being cooped in classrooms studying textbooks and notes. For instance, students have the opportunities to go overseas for exchange programmes to experience the education system in the schools of other countries.
Some trips are specially catered for students to learn more about a certain subject. For example, schools bring their students to Germany to learn more about geography. Worksheets are also specially designed to supplement the syllabus. At the end of the trip, students would benefit as it helps to better appreciate what they have learnt in the textbooks. Clearly, learning journeys injects life and meaning to the learning so that it becomes real and concrete. Co-curriculum activities (CCA) cultivate skills, social and emotional competencies in students.
In classrooms, students spend time paying attention to lessons and doing their work. There are insufficient opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills, characters and non-academic talents. For example, students who are in the council are provided with important tasks to fulfill. They attend leadership workshops to learn event management, conflict and stress management and more. Through these enriching courses and the ample responsibilities given to them, students would grow to be more mature and wise in decisions making.
Therefore students get to acquire skills to recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others which results in establishing positive relationships and handle challenging situations effectively. Students attend adventure camps to step out of their comfort zones and apply what they have learnt to their studies. Adventure camps specially foster mental and physical training. The most common adventure camp is the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) for Youths to go through tough activities which students do not encounter during normal days, let alone in classrooms.
Often, participants are required to overcome their fear of heights and fast speed through “flying fox” and “abseiling”. Teamwork are also expected to tackle certain challenges. Through these activities students are able build on their perseverance and determination to push themselves to further. Such positive attitude can be applied in their academic aspects. No doubt, out-of-class experiences linked to persistence and educational attainment. Work attachment programmes are beneficial to students as it is a good hands-on exercise.
These programmes provides opportunities for students to apply what they have learnt in theories to real-life tasks. Learning takes place during hands-on activities as students are able to feel the first hand experience which would leave a stronger impression on them compared to learning from textbooks. For instance, students were attached to the various A*STAR’s Research Institutes during the November break to breathe the research air and walk the walk of the scientist. They were required to do a lot of research and embarked on mini projects.
Thus, this kind of learning experience helped put what students learnt in school into perspective and cultivates a critical skill and ability. However, a skeptic may argue that if the least learning is done is classrooms, then why are there still so much emphasis and time spent in there? Indeed we cannot deny that though holistic learning enhances students’ character, academic learning still has to be conducted in classrooms. The ministry of education has implemented the Art Elective Programme (AEP) and Music Elective Programme (MEP) to nurture talents through more in depth learning of Art and Music.
These programmes are offered to academically able students with talents in art and music at selected secondary schools and junior colleges. Students who are under this programme have done well as shown in their results and competitions. For instance, students from Nanyang Junior College have participated in Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging (Art) and achieved many gold medals. This shows that learning done in classrooms is about to provide development of individuals talents. Gifted Education Programme cater for the intellectually gifted students and the curriculum is taken place in classrooms.
This programme is aimed at empowering gifted pupils to be self-directed, lifelong and independent learners. The activities include Primary Mathematics Masterclass, Advanced Mathematics Enrichment Classes and more. These classes further challenge pupils with exceptional abilities in their studies beyond the core curriculum. Clearly, classrooms are able to provide further learning to students. In conclusion, most time is spent in classrooms, it is evident that most learning is done beyond classrooms as hands on experience and outdoor exposures make more impact on students than studying textbooks.