Friday, April 11, 2008

Play-Based vs "Structured" Education Systems.

Anyways, in my previous entry, I mentioned that there were two ECT casuals that came. One of them, Gloria was here today. I believe she's in her mid 30s-40s. When we were having outdoor play today, I decided to take the opportunity to have a conversation with her. And yes, a lot of my previous assumptions were spot on.

Gloria has been a registered elementary teacher for about ten years! However during her time, she only had to complete the 3rd year degree, unlike the current Australian batch which are required to complete four years before graduating. Gloria was put on a waiting list to be able to go to her school. Tired of waiting, she decided to go to Singapore to work as a teacher. Ironically, it is easier for her to find work overseas than in Australia... (as usual).

It must be stated that Gloria did share some similar view points as I do.

The Singaporean education system is too competitive and could do with some play for the younger age group, but the Australian childcare context could do with a bit more structured work, as opposed to having so much play. She complains that early childhood "group leaders" emphasize too much programming for "play" for the children without realising how different it is in primary school.When children make the transition to primary school, it is difficult as the system is very structured. This I agree with her.

As stated, Gloria was one of those who came into the preschool room and states that she has a "choleric" personality. She said that Group Leaders & staff she has met so far have been very adamant that having "structure" in the schooling system may hurt a child's self-esteem, but she knows that the children need a certain amount of more structure otherwise the children may run into misbehaviour.

She was pleased to report that as as she was concerned, many of the staff in the centres where she goes in to relieve have allowed her to do-it-her-way. In her defense, I would agree and state the perspective where Group Leaders and childcare staff who only work in daycare or childcare centres may not understand that until they have done practicum in a primary school. There really is no easy way to convince them otherwise.

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