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Elimu
 
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Cramming on the Eve of the Exam

03 June 2013, 07:17
Cramming on the eve of the exam.

I have a Maths teacher from India. He's a bit of a motor mouth although an excellent teacher. When he's in one of his fits (because we couldn't factorize a quadratic or understand some simple concept) he starts lambasting our education system and indeed, our nation. One of his favourite quips is about how nobody here is actually interested in studying and learning, but we think we can pass by 'cramming on the eve of the exam with our stupid grandmothers...'

He's right though, at least at my school. I suspect it's the same with your kids. Not that we're never interested in learning, but the whole culture seems to be focused on the exams and tests and not the time in between. Suddenly it's exams and suddenly people are running around trying to organize themselves.

I'm guilty of this. In fact there's a Geography book calling for me right now. And what's worse is that Geography is my extra subject - I study alone without attending classes (although the teacher is free and willing to help). I'm expected to read the work and understand and do activities and present problems in my own time. Being one of the better students, I'm expected to do tut-sweet and to work ahead where possible to maximise my opportunities in life. I must say, I've screwed up. Nobody to blame but me really, and it's a shame - it really is. That's because I'm part of this culture of people - and I'm nowhere near the worst offender.

So what's my point, and what's my proposition?

Stop rewarding kids who work hard only, and stop telling kids to work hard. Rather, put emphasis on working smart. Studying ahead of time and all the other tips that come with those homework diaries with the cool pictures.

The eve of the exams should be a time of relaxation and Facebooking and reading News24 and sleeping early - not cramming. I understand this isn't always possible, but as a Grade 11 High School Learner in a good school under a reasonably better syllabus - I still think it is. And yes, I'm engaging in a bit of hyperbole - the point remains that the thrust of learning is not during exam times.

That all said, it would be mighty hypocritical for me to go and study now... so with that I absolve myself of studying for Geography for tonight. If only I could submit this as a persuasive essay for English Class. Better yet, if only I could turn off Facebook and face my books!

What do you think about the study culture of your kids, friends or self? Do you have any study tips from your school days? Also, CAPS learners - liking the new syllabus? Even my Maths teacher from India endorses it!

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