Education is the attainment of knowledge, instillation of proper conduct and acquiring skills. It involves the cultivation of an innocent mind, the instilling of values and principles in the minds of children. It includes the development of skills along with the achievement of one's physical, mental and social development. Education consists of diverse phases that ideally never ends and continues throughout life. Bill Beattie, one of the famous writers believes that education should teach us how to think, rather than telling us what to think. Eric Hoffer, an American social writer, believes in the main purpose of education being the implanting of a will and facility to learn. (Manali Oak 2009. Beliefs about the purpose of education. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/beliefs-about-the-purpose-of-education.html)
What is distinctive about man is that his growth as an individual depends wholly on how a culture supports the individual to use the intellectual potential he obtained. Education should lay the groundwork for the fulfillment of a person's dreams and aspirations. It is about finding an identity in the society while fulfilling their dreams. Hence, before that can be achieved, certain qualities are essential to be fostered.
The society is made up of many people securing themselves in different jobs and contributing to the economy is their inimitable ways. What made the job holders pursue the specific jobs relate back to the education they received. Education brings about progress in practical fields to facilitate each educated individual of society to earn a living. The education system is undeniably focusing on literacy statistics and the need to have so many graduates, masters, Phd's, and so many professionals like engineers, doctors, etc in a given country based on the standards in the industrially advanced countries. (http://www.albalagh.net/education/education2.shtml)
Education makes one find interest in the specific category and venture into the fields of interest. In the midst of doing that, there will be failure, setbacks and hurdles; the child's mental resilience has to help him to get through. Emotional resilience will affect how a child determine and deal with problem. In fact, delays in growth of emotional resilience will make them tougher to respond to difficult situations. Extreme emotional reactions to stressful situations lead to learning becoming disrupted and their mental health is at risk. It is an aspect of a young person's social emotional development. It can be deemed as a social emotional capability, as distinct from the academic and the cognitive.
Hence, we have a query if the schools in Singapore are able to meet the role of a child's environment in finding the factors of good qualities? How can schools offer a child safe anchoring points of developmental qualities? (Publisher: NEiTA, Author, Dr Arnold Bonnet, 2005 Education Horizon, Vol 08 No 06 page 22-23)
We need a system that puts students at the centre of their own learning, one that is dedicated to engage all students in learning. We need schools where all students develop their own pathways to the future, schools that amplify their unique talents and gifts and build their self developmental characters.(Publisher: Education Today, Author, Bruce Hammonds, 2010 Education Today, Issue 08 No 06 page 22-23)
Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 2007) Students in Singapore have been indoctrinated with the concept, "In order to get a good job, you need a good education." (http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Real-Purpose-of-Education&id=3721301) Hence why, the pursuit of working to survive comes in, increasing number of people are striving to work in industries which are in demand instead of working towards their goals and interest. In Singapore, the arts and sports field are incomparable to the medical, law, engineer, education field. Many accomplished doctors, lawyers, businessmen currently were previous sports athletes or musicians when they were young, however, they did not continue to move on to become athletes or musician. It draws a point on the Singapore development emphasis for these occupations. The education path they took on, accompanied by the demands of the society bound them to what they are doing. However, the skills they attained are practical to be used in all fields.
Education aims at making the individuals of society self-sufficient. After realizing what the individuals want to do for their jobs, the various practical fields produce productive human resources, who can contribute to the creation of wealth for a country. While the people earn for their work, the organization they are working for are benefiting. The nation is made up of the different organizations which thus gain remuneration when the organizations functions. It works like a two-way system between the individuals and the society.
The teachers and students must work together to allow the young people to understand their own and others' feelings and emotions, understand how others live, develop tolerance and mutual respect for others, develop a sense of awe and wonder about the world around them. The young people must learn to be part of the cause to developing a better world for those around them.
Education is believed to be responsible for the cultivation of a civilized society through 'character forming'. Imparting education to the citizens enables the development of a responsible and thoughtful society. Education helps in inculcating moral and ethical values in the individuals through their education. Eventually, it helps in the creation of a strong society that displays a deep understanding of principles and the philosophy of life. Education aims to make students posses the virtue of patience in times of difficulty and the willingness to see someone else's point of view. In certain countries, education failed to nurture such values. However, in Singapore, where we live in a diverse and multiracial country, the importance of a thoughtful and gracious society is prudent for the country's progress. Since young, we are educated to live together harmoniously.
The education we offer must speak honestly to teach students about the dealing with human differences and resolving conflicts and problems in nonviolent and non-dominating means. Schools need to be places that can manifest relationships that do not emulate the usual hierarchical, competitive, and individualistic forms-places where young people learn of the value of caring and cooperative relationships based in mutual respect and equality. The social development brought about by education is perceptible in the abilities of an individual as a part of society because it helps an individual to thrive in society, to interrelate with other people and helps a person arrive at and sustain a certain degree of social well-being. One is always a part of a group, be it school or college during this education process and thus contributes to one's interpersonal intelligence.
Lickona, a famous philosopher mentioned 3 aspects of character building; moral knowing (knowing the good), moral feeling (desiring the good) and moral action (doing the good). (Lickona, 1991) We must not deny that schools have administered many programs to ensure the feasibility of inculcating such growth. Within the formal curriculum, Civics and Moral Education (CME) is a key subject at all levels which aims to develop good individuals and responsible citizens, focusing on the six core values of respect, responsibility, resilience, integrity, care and harmony. There are also non-academic platforms such as co-curricular activities and the Community Involvement Programs (CIP) to help students internalize core values.Â For example, the CIP emphasizes service to the community and reinforces care and compassion for others and responsibility to the society.
The basic qualities are only adequate to build the characters of students but it is not enough to make them understand the beneficiaries intensely.
Community work involvement involved activities like Flag-Day, newspaper collection, visiting of orphanages, homes for the aged and many other activities. Collecting money through flag-day and newspaper collection might raise thoughts about the students' emotional connection with the beneficiaries. In actual fact, the students are only abiding to the rules of the Singapore system. The activities are only planned for a one-time event; they would never truly get to feel for the people.
Inculcating moral values through these 3 aspects of character building in Singapore's education system have implications on students and teachers as they complement each other in the development of the students. Teaching moral education should not only be restricted to the Civics and Moral Education lesson, it should be taught alongside with other core subjects. Singapore teachers should incorporate moral values in their lessons as Richard Paul, an American Science fiction writer feels that teaching moral values would be most productive when it is carried out in schools and incorporated into different subjects not just in Civics and Moral Education (CME) lessons. (Tan, 2008)
Singapore teachers have a great responsibility as intellectual ability and the upbringing of the children in schools are equally important. However, most teachers in Singapore focused on the intellectual ability, while neglecting the moral upbringing of the students. Hence, although there is presence of CIP, the teachers would focus more attention on the outcomes of the activity rather than the process. Students would not be able to be deeply concerned with
In a classroom, teacher-pupil relationships are equitable and reciprocal. (Ladsin-Billings, 1995) All the teachers should give some room for students to swap places where they can be the ones to get help from students, get students to come up with solutions and plans instead of receiving orders by them.
Schools in Singapore should be psychologically safe environments are where teachers can converse and respect the children's views and opinion. Children are given the opportunity to express their feelings openly, and not feel afraid to talk about them. Children feel comfortable with the presence of one another. Children know that they can make mistakes but learn from it. Adults are able to set an example to model their emotional expression and display the correct way to allow children to learn from the positive side. Schools and teachers vary in their success in being able to develop this psychological route. (Publisher: NEiTA, Author, Dr Arnold Bonnet, 2005 Education Horizon, Vol 08 No 06 page 22-23)
There are a set of positive learning dispositions and capabilities which is useful for all students to possess and one of the core purposes of education is to cultivate this.
The children of our classroom exist in a diversity of different beliefs, views and values. Our individuality goes through a process of transmutation and we are aware of the what kind of individuals we are by manner when we relate to people, hence why we cannot ignore or show negligence to verbal feedback, tone of words, gestures and body languages that the child expressed because it can be useful to work for or against the child's development of self-awareness. This also implies that teachers in Singapore should endeavor to develop, be aware of the significance of these common threads by providing opportunities and setting up environments so the child can use them to begin designing a self-picture, or to embellish an already present outline. Thus the shades and proportions of the child's life fabric can be amplified. (Publisher: NEiTA, Author, Ann Crowther, 2000 Education Horizon, Vol 06 No 02 page 12) This means that as teachers, we have to strive to help them believe in themselves, and develop a strong mentality that they have the capacity to take on any challenge through absolute effort of will and commitment. (Publisher: NEiTA, Author, Ann Marie McAnulty, 2000 Education Horizon, Vol 06 No 03 page 24)
Guy Claxton, 2008. What's the point of school? Oneword Publications
Russell Bishop & Ted Glynn, 1999, Culture Counts: Changing Power Relations in Education. The Dunmore Press Ltd