The Role of Teachers

Dear Tchr. V,

Last night I helped my son review for his test in PE, and noted his struggle with computing for Body Mass Index (BMI). The difficulty lay not in the formula per se, but in the actual computation, because it involved decimal numbers which they have not yet covered in class. He also told me that they're not allowed to use calculators for the computation.

Please enlighten me:

1) Why are they not allowed to use calculators in PE? Why, is the stress on the ability to compute, rather than on the understanding of physical fitness concepts? If it is equally important that they know how to compute long hand even in PE, is it not unfair to expect the children to do something they have not yet been taught to do?

2) I noted that while the BMI and the BMI formula were in his notes, there was NO discussion of what BMI means or how it relates to physical fitness. More importantly, there was no discussion on how one can improve his BMI, or achieve better physical fitness. Is there any particular reason for this?

My son also showed me drill sheets he accomplished in Arts, on Calligraphy, which the teacher asked him to redo because they were not up to standard. I learned however that they were not shown how to use the calligraphy pen, or how to execute the calligraphy strokes using the pen. When he was told to redo his drill sheets, he was not told where he went wrong or what he was supposed to improve.

I am sorry, but I am confused -- is it not that the role of the teacher is to impart knowledge and understanding, by explanation, demonstration, and then encouraging exploration and curiosity? Is it not that the teacher is supposed to encourage improvement in the child by giving meaningful feedback? All these were absent in the two areas I raised here (PE and Arts). Am I wrong, or has education changed?

I had wanted to discuss this in person but the reality of work and other responsibilities prevent me from coming to see you. Nevertheless I hope you could please 1) remedy the situation and 2) send me a reply. Thank you and God bless.



Olive Joy said...

Excellent point :)

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