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Teachers are expected to have vast subject knowledge, resourceful in every way to be able to guide students using different teaching methods and mediums to engage learners. They act as role models and are aspirations to students to become useful citizens to the nation.
Requirements of a student are constantly changing in accordance to the demands of the society. But in general, students going through the education system are expected to build and expand their knowledge in all areas, by getting information from all reliable and credible channels and turn to the teachers and/ or parents for any form of clarification.
Now that we are in the 21st century, there are some values, attitudes and skills that are mandatory for our own survival as well as the nation. Self directed learning, subject/ field knowledge, leadership qualities, positive attitude, moral values, caring for others and lastly, a healthy individual are what students need to arm themselves with, with the aid of teachers to face the challenges ahead.
Being self directed in learning is what makes us an independent learner who does not wait to be spoon fed with knowledge by teachers. The current policy of Teach Less Learn More requires teachers to come up with lessons that will engage learners to participate and discuss actively. This will help foster and encourage good communication skills that is one of the desired outcome of the education program for students; communicate effectively and persuasively. Curiosity encourages students to learn and know more than what they should be studying at their level which fulfils the aim of the TLLM policy - quality of education rather than quantity. Quality of education is important as it
Having a student who knows more than what is required of him is better than having many students who know posses the same amount of knowledge. Fundamental and field knowledge are important to ensure the survival of the nation as well as oneself in the competitive society. Singapore being a nation that has no other natural resources but only people of their own as their only resource to keep the nation in prosperity and viable in the international market. Thus the meritocratic system that awards only the best students pick out students who are cream of the crop and are given the best education that the nation can offer. This has brought about the debate over the competition between the Junior College (JC) and Polytechnic students into the admission of universities, despite the yearly increase of student intakes, due to the collaboration of overseas universities. Students will then be equipped with knowledge required of from the field to lead innovative creations and resolve perplexing questions. Collaboration between overseas and local universities will increase the competition for teachers who wishes to be lecturers or teachers of the institute, as it is not at all impossible that the board may one day determine that it would be more effective if the students and local teachers themselves be under the tutelage of overseas educators. Teachers would have to use other means to prove their worth in the board, despite the annual announcement of the need to increase the recruitment of teachers.
With the vast knowledge acquired through the course of education, it allows an individual to look things at a bigger picture and to select a field that they would be pleased to be in.
Ability to step back and look at a bigger picture of situations is one of the qualities that all leaders should posses. Promoting leadership in school is also one of the focuses in an education program as it would be one of the prerequisite for a student to lead in the future. Leadership qualities are developed through camps, Co-curricular Activities (CCAs) and opportunities to become student councillors or prefects by schools. Good academic performance and character are often the two main criteria that determine the opportunity for a student to take up leadership roles in the school and becoming student leaders. This creates a form of stratification within the school, segregating those with good academic performance and character with those who don't. The underlying meaning of such act would be to influence the students to become like them (student leaders), who will ultimately become the type of ideal student that the education system is trying to achieve. The role of the teachers would be to help students see the point of achieving good academic results and help them change into a better student of good character, using the student leaders as examples. Thus the job of a teacher is not only to educate a student by imparting knowledge, but also to develop good values and character into students. Students holding on to leadership positions in school may not necessary have an easy life as they seek to balance out school work and being a good role model. As expectation of them increases, student leaders should be taught the importance of time management and other relevant skills, else it might lead to burn out.
Leaders of today who are immersed in a competitive environment since young and are often seen as intemperate and callous, thus making them incompetent leaders who are unable to perspective take. People with high perspective takings skills are often well liked by subordinates as they are more empathetic and compassionate. Therefore, showing care and concern for others, across all races is promoted in one of the desired outcomes of education helps prepare students for the future. Project works would help to foster team work and caring for each other. As students learn to care for others, the act will be extended to caring for the nation, which reflects emphasis on patriotism and nationalism, resulting in compliance to build the nation and community.
Kind acts may be misplaced when it is wedge between ethics and results of kind acts. For example, a student being talked around by his naive and tender hearted classmate into allowing him to copy his test answers. Therefore, it is important for a teacher to help draw the line between kind acts and ethics for students.
The ethicality of a nation will be guided by moral values of each individual. Moral values acts as guiding principles that helps distinguish right from wrong. Therefore, teachers should not neglect the importance of Civic Moral Education, which is often neglected in most schools where it is converted into free time for students in discretion. Moral values will be the guiding principles for all students which they will carry with them till adulthood. Students with the wrong moral values will result in doing things that are unacceptable by the society, such as cheating during exams and in worst case scenario, theft. Such actions will not be acceptable by the society and it will then reflect badly on both the school which will in turn be the responsibility of the teacher to guide and help the student turn over a new leaf.
Having a positive attitude towards learning is important, as desire to learn will make learners regard education as a valuable tool to yield good academic results. Imparting the right kind of attitude should start from young, as students are easily influenced. And by laying a good foundation, it will reduce delinquents and bring about more good citizens. Often, the responsibility of teaching a student falls on the teachers, despite the fact that attitude of an individual is acquired through several sources such as family, peers and culture. However, due to the conventional mind of many parents, any form of inability to teach a student well immediately link to the competency of the teacher. Therefore, the job of a teacher is challenging, as they have to think of ways to inculcate the right kind of attitude in the process of teaching.
Other than cognitive development, the nation also focuses on the health status of an individual, which is also one of the desired outcomes of a student by hoping they would be inclined to sporting and/ or physical activities. To achieve that, Physical Education (PE) syllabus includes a wide range of actives for the students to develop mentally, physically and emotionally. It is said that PE is the only subject that develops as student as a whole - total development; cognitive development takes place via learning and understanding the different concepts required of the sport and/ or physical activity; physically via the different types of physical activity that will strengthen the body of each student and the most commonly known test would be NAPFA; lastly, emotionally as one of the quality of a good sportsmanship is to control their emotions. This creates a certain level of commitment and requirement of PE educators who are currently required to teach a second subject, excluding those whose schools are offering PE as an 'O' level subject. However, only athletes of the school are chosen to/ and or allowed to take PE as an 'O' level subject. This would require PE educators to be specialist of the subject, and thus higher expectations would be expected by the school. In the long run, schools who decide to jump on the bandwagon will have higher expectations of their PE educators and at the same time relive them from the need to teach a second subject. This would mean that teachers who are teaching the subject would be required to take up the classes and thus meaning more workload for them. Students themselves are now open to more choices for their 'O' level subjects, but it might not be an easy path for them in the future as PE is not well recognized nor in total agreement by the public despite the promotion on the importance of sports for all. PE educators would too have a different amount of stress, as they would need to ensure that the students who take up the subject will be able to pass, given the fact that it is a rather new subject.
Having explored the desired outcomes of both the teachers and students, we can see that all teachers face a tremendous amount of workload that is not necessary just teaching, marking and setting exam papers but also inculcating moral values and the right kind of attitude into students, as they play an important role in the student's life. The knowledge, skills, attitudes and values will act as guiding principles and assets that students need to bring into the work force, which their task is to prosper the nation using their abilities that they've acquired through the twelve years of education. And students going through the education program are all leaders in the making. Leaders are change makers. They will brave through all unknown challenges and obstacles that awaits them in the future. They bring about change in people around them, motivating and inspire others to be like them. Most importantly, they take charge of their life and make changes to the world that they live in. Our students who will be armed with knowledge, attitude and skills are all leaders in the making. They will make the nation a better place to live in for everyone in the nation. And lastly, education taps on the passion of teachers to produce students with qualities, talents and different capabilities to lead a nation and ensure viability in the international market.