Education system is various in different countries and its strategies for effective learning are not the same. For example, American education mostly focuses on “learning skill” while education in Vietnam favors in “learning the core of knowledge”. In the article “We should cherish Our Children’s Freedom to Think,” by Kie Ho, Ho supports his opinion on “learning skill” in America that gives students benefits in creativities, freedom, and motivation much than it does in Indonesia. In contrast, according to E.D. Hirsch in “Teach Knowledge, Not ‘Mental Skills” states that “core- knowledge” is more effective than “learning skill”. “Learning skill” is not consistent and so vague while “core knowledge” is not. With “Core knowledge”, students will learn the same foundation, so teacher can lead them forward. With me, I used to attend schools in Vietnam and have now been attending in an American school. I preferred “learning skill” method because it gives me the ways to learn something effectively in creativities, freedom, and motivation.
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The most important thing that learning skill in the U.S becomes effective is freedom. Freedom means that people can freely write, speak and create. In the independent country, America, people have the right to expose their ideas or criticize things freely. As long as Americans do not commit any illegal action, they can criticize anyone, even the president, without taking any sequences. Why will freedom rarely take place in other countries, such as Vietnam? The reason is because Vietnamese don’t really have freedom. In Vietnam, people should not do bad thing, such as they cannot speak or write something badly to government or country. If yes, people will be able to be forced in the jails. Of course, it is unpatriotic, so it will able to affect the survival of a country. For example, I read news regarding propel, but I did not remember where I got it. It is about that a group in Vietnam incited citizens against to government. Moreover, they passed out and wrote something distinguished to citizens that Vietnamese government was corrupted. Their purposes were to destroy current government and to establish a new country; as a result, they were arrested after policemen found out their plot. Therefore, they are not really freely because they cannot speak or write something that they express the ideas to outside. Like Ho, he questioned where a history student could act as Lyndon in free controversy against another student pretending to be Ho Chi Minh in any country other than America. It would be unimaginable for a Japanese student to do the same regarding Hirohito played in the World War II (2007). Without freedom, I think people cannot be allowed to create motivation. If students may not be creative, they will not exceed their knowledge.
“Learning Skill” is creative. It gives me to invent much in study. In Vietnam, teachers always require students to memorize all materials in the books, so students cannot have opportunities to create their own ideas. For example, when I was in twelfth grade, I crammed one long three-page poem in one night. Even though I stayed up until 2:00, I could not memorize that poem at all. As a result, I failed the test the next day. On the hand, I do not have to remember all information in the U.S classes. My Intercultural Studies ( ICS5) class that I took the last quarter is an example. My ICS5 teacher taught us History of African American Art. There she gave a lot of information embodied through paintings, sculptures in her lectures. Of course, she did not ask us to learn all everything in the lectures. She only asked us to create our ideas by giving feedbacks and feelings to which paintings and sculptures she mentioned. I learned a lot from her class because she gave me interest on learning diverse ethnic, cultural, and racial heritages in History of African American Art that I have ever known. Like Ho, he has educational experiences in Indonesia. He followed the rules of teachers that he had to remember the whole Hamlet’s play perfectly; in contrast, his son learned it in a different way by creating a love letter to Juliet or Shakespeare. He said, “When I was 18, I had to memorize Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy flawlessly. In his English class, my son was assigned to write a love letter to Juliet, either in Shakespearean jargon or in modern lingo” (Ho, 2007, p.113). In addition, he supports one more detail on creative geography. Instead of memorizing the names of all main cities in the world, his son only drafted the map which demonstrates the route- including the names of the streets, and buildings- from his house to school (Ho, 2007). I think creative skill helps student study effectively. Therefore, creative skills also motivate students to study the best.
The last thing leading the effective learning skill is motivate. Motivation helps students get more actives in the study. They can freely talk, express their ideas, and make their own decision. With active motivations, they can be encouraged to finish their work successfully. Decision making is kind of active motivation as a typical example. In the U.S, students have chances to make their own decision. Students can interrupt their teachers while they are teaching. And then, they can say their decision that they are making. Also, teachers motivate students to invent something new that they have never seen. Wow, that is great to give student logically critical thinking on their decision. Consequently, that motivation barely takes place in Vietnam. Vietnamese students are so passive. It means that they are mostly silent and unmotivated in the classes. As long as teachers ask a question, students can only raise their hands and answer to questions. In addition, teachers do not have enough time to give students a chance to make their own decision. Teachers only go to class, finish their job and then give homework to students. Of course, students have to complete homework due on the certain date. So, it is the reason why students can use the best their critical thinking on solving the tough solution. According to Ho, he also points out that unlike his son, he was also obedient to teachers and had no choice to make his decisions. The only thing that Indonesian students’ just act is to listen and to answer only when asked, give the only correct answer as well. His son, in contrast, is very motivated. He absolutely made his own decision and got an A even though he was laughing in the class. (2007). Therefore, I like active motivation because it plays an important in the success of learning skill.
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In short, people can choose “learning skill” or “core knowledge” as their strategies for effective learning. However, learning skill is better I believe because it gives me freedom, creativities, and motivation. Living in the independent country, America, three main factors: freedom, creativities, and motivation are very useful. Even though American education is not considered “to meet the high standard in such basic skills as mathematics, and language” ( Ho, 2007, 113), I think it is enough to increase the country as a modern country with a high innovation technique.
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