Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning Chinese

Dr. Lee Wei Ling wrote it today's Think Thank in the ST.

It is obvious that the burden of learning how to write in Chinese is overwhelming for many. At the end of Primary 6, the children are expected to be able to read about 1,600 words and write 1,000-1,100 words. For an average pupil, especially one from an English-speaking home, the latter target is unrealistic.
Little wonder then that some families that can emigrate do so just to allow their children to escape the torture of having to learn Chinese up to the standard the curriculum demands. What we teach and how we test our students in Chinese needs to change and changed soon.

Unfortunately her brother the PM and the Education Minister do not have sufficient courage.

China lament the declining ability of its citizens to write Chinese characters because so many of them now use the computer to write. As they see it as a serious loss they are not open to the many possibilities of gain that could open up as a result.

In the paragraph she wrote prior to my earlier quote,

The irony is that students cannot use word processors in examinations and are required to write the characters. Hanyu pinyin and word processors are allowed in lessons and projects, but to be denied their use in exams makes the exams even more difficult. The Ministry of Education says it will take five or more years to revamp the Chinese curriculum. How many days does it take to change an illogical exam requirement?

Yes, how many days may I ask the Education Minister.

No comments:

Post a Comment