Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Does School Prepare Us for Life?

Posted by Chong

This was an essay that I wrote long time ago during my preparation for examination. I was glad that I finally managed to republish the article online today. I was inspired to post this article after reading the thought-provoking 'Are undergraduates ready for the real world'.

The school days are crammed with facts and figures, encompassing various subjects ranging from English to Mathematics. All of these require students to learn, memorise, understand and to be tested. Besides grades and examinations, the school also encompasses a wider curriculum including character moulding, citizenship building and personality development. Indeed, I think the school does prepare us for life.

Firstly, the school teaches us self-discipline. We learn to keep to a schedule and to adhere to the timetable. We also learn to appreciate time and to be punctual. Moreover, we are trained to plan and manage time wisely. We also abide by and respect rules and regulations. The disciplined students will grow up to be disciplined adults and they will do well in their future undertakings.

The school also helps to fortify our determination and perseverance. We learn to fulfil the demands of the school. We also learn to meet deadlines and hand in the homework on time. Moreover, we learn to face stress and pressure. In school, students learn to overcome challenges. Students with strength of character will be well-prepared to face the challenges of work and life in the future.

Co-curricular activities are part and parcel of a student’s life. They help to mould students’ character and personality so that students learn to be confident. They help to hone the leadership qualities in the students themselves. Students learn to work together and co-operate with others. They also learn to appreciate good values like esprit de corps. Students learn to contribute positively and to put their best foot forward besides to take success and failure in their stride. We as the students learn to honour values of sportsmanship and fair play. Through co-curricular activities, students also learn loyalty, commitment and responsibility. When they grow up, they will work well as a team with others and committed in serious work.

The school is a micro-society. The everyday social interaction is an excellent preparation for life in the society outside. In school, students have the opportunities to interact with other students from varied background, creed and race. Indirectly, they learn tolerance, acceptance and understanding. The students also have the opportunity to work and to mingle together. This can help to foster an open mind and promote unity.

Just mention the word ‘school’ and images of grades and examinations come to our mind. Indeed students spend a lot of time and energy preparing and sitting for examinations. Along with that they gather a string of qualifications as well as knowledge and skills. They are crucial since they are the stepping stones and the foundation for the future. They can help students to secure a good job and successful career.

In short, school does prepare us for life. It helps to nurture and to build strong character in ourselves. School also prepares students with the necessary ‘tool’ so that students can fit into society and contribute positively to the nation and people in future.
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  1. For some, school does prepare them for life.

    For some, school convinces them to give up on life. The school shootings in the US should give you a clue.

    It depends on the student, the people who mix with the student, the teachers, the parents, society's expectations, the entire system.

    Though its nice to think there's a simple answer to your question, I'm afraid life is not that simnple.

  2. Although the values you insist to be instilled in students are positive...

    My take on this would be that most students would still lag behind in society aka the real world because they lack the ability to think on their own two feet despite being drilled to perfection in coping with datelines and pressure.

    from my experience, a majority of teachers spend their time teaching the syllabus to students..who mostly lap up whatever has been told unquestioningly. It is a rare class who participates actively in lessons. So much devotion being placed on the syllabus and exams and coursework means there'll be nary a mention about the purpose of learning something and an idea of the career choices available.

    The widespread notion that the number of As obtained equates to success is severely ingrained in both the teachers' and students' mentalities. The current situation here is that top scorers are heaped into one top class and given a lot of attention....and pressure..
    thus learning loses its fun...

    It is rare to see consolation being offered to students who are NOT top scorers. Naturally this cultivates a fear of failure which would hinder the students' performance in the real world, where failure is bound to be faced and guidance is not readily available. As for those who were lulled into complacence by praises and attention, a fate no less harsh awaits.
    i dare say most from this group would go to university and graduate only to end up jobless, due to lack of experience , soft skills and humility.. Be surprised (or maybe not) at how ineffectively university graduates communicate...especially in English. Be even more surprised at how little activities most of them are involved in..... personal enrichment and development is most probably sacrificed for academical excellence.

    what good will cramming skills be in the real world where we already have computers ? we need people who can APPLY what they've learnt and CONVEY their ideas. We need people who would actively seek knowledge..

    We need leaders, not people who expect to be spoonfed.

  3. No!!! With our current education system, we are doomed for life.

    I just got into uni and everything is different from school life. The lecturers don't spoonfeed us anymore. There is nothing to memorize and spit out later. The lecturers aren't giving us answers.

    Instead, we are encouraged to think. Heck, I couldn't think much. It was new to me.

    It's quite boring now to see who has scored the highest number of As. It only shows that they are good at memorizing. Nothing much.

  4. School does prepare us, in a way. At least it provides us education, and that is very important already. But still, I personally think that we should rely on the education system too much, especially here, in Malaysia.

    I do not know what the others see, but I do realise inequality. Students with top scores are given the most attention, and slower students, instead of guiding them more, they are being neglected. Clases like science streams are every students' dreams. And those in art streams are being labelled as dumb. That's very unfair. Because students in art streams are not dumb, they are just more interested in other things than studies. Some people will be surprised to find that some of these students in art stream are so much smarter than those in science stream.

    In the working world, it doesn't matter whether you're from art or science stream; whether you have graduated from overly prestigous universities or have won hundreds of awards or competitions. IT IS YOU, yourself that matters.

    I am not saying school is unimportant or useless. Just that, school has taught the students the wrong mentality - Getting most As = The best.

  5. School creates a challenging atmosphere for students. Some passed it with a successful achievement but some failed to so.

    A successful achievement doesn’t count how many A, a student get in the examination. A successful achievement is how we learned, absorb and use the input we get in school efficiently.

    Despite from where the students were studying, boarding school, daily school or technical school. All students from any type of school have a big opportunity to excel during their schooldays.

  6. 1) school is a tool whether you use it wisely is up to you
    2) grammar problem: the use of "the" before school is screwing with your paper

  7. I believe that schools are only focused on producing students with As rather than teaching them any manners or perhaps, the way people should sit or how to use cutlery, since in todays world most institutes are more focused on getting students who excel in studies as well as those who have the required skill(mainly being eloquent, knowing what to where etc.)
    Also one thing I have noticed in several schools is that they love to blame parents who they feel are in charge of teaching their students the basic etiquettes.

    Living in Singapore, streaming , as i have seen has resulted in 90 per cent of the youth losing interest in studies and the 10 per cent fleeing away to UK...thus, resulting in a total loss to Singapore and thus to the education system here.

    Thus,concluding, schools teach students what is required for students to enter university after which its all up to them and their relationship with their teacher(for recommendations) and schools which are suppose to mold students into educated, mannered and responsible individuals have just taught the students ho to mug-up and left the students to leave their lives alone.
    MORAL-teachers attend school for their salaries not to teach you.

  8. This really helped with my english coursework, thanks alot

  9. To those who are slamming school for being so grade-centric, I am disgusted by your myopic, self-assertive views.

    The major factor I canthink of is the competency of your resoective education systems. Blame lack of non-academic activities on your government-not school in general. To devalue the importance of scjool is as good as saying that they serve little purpose. That's equivalent to claiming children automatically become prepared for adulthood with time.

    Here in Singapore, students have to take Co-Curricular Activities (CCA). Examples include Choir, Football and Infocommunication Clubs. Yes, much focus is placed on academic studies here no doubt. But students are given ample opportunities to further develop character and values like leadership. I describe it as further because the main curriculum already serves that purpose. Every week, there's a Character and Leadership Education lesson, for instance. While it's not exactly that effective as students have limited hands-on learning, there's still something done to expose students to the outside workd froma young age.

    Are these foreign to you? If school is really about going there everyday just to memorise boring chunks of text, then blame it on your government. Blame it not on educators or schools, but on the policy makers who have not woken up to the twenty first century. Alas, blame it on yourselves for not making the most out of it - no matter how little it appears to be.

    Mind you, the process of that rote learning many seem so critical of is actually one means of honing our character. Indeed, Mavin Berkowitz 1995 Model of the complete moral person describes values like determination, perseverance, commitment and responsibility to be part of being a capable, moral and most likely aspects considered important by employers. That means things as trivial or meaningless as studying for an examination are subtly inculcating these principles in students. So I see little reason why schools are just schools. They are much more thsn that; they watch children grow.

    You are welcome to disagree with my points of contention.

    1. Oh and you might want to research more about the education system here and in other countries renowned for it. Even the most incompetent student is provided with ample opportunities to advance and be trained. Not academically always, but in vocational and skills to join the workforce.

  10. School does not prepare us for life.
    School does not have an authentic way of teaching, learn and study, pass exam and then forget everything. It does not allow us to be creative, the key in human learning and machine learning. You do not plan, and if you can't deal with the stress, you will be f**ked. School shows nothing for our talents and passion. If you want to play soccer, no, only recess and PE. School provides instructions for us. In real life, we have to know what to do and plan out our own schedule. K-12 school just has so many problems, life will just never move on!

    1. I agree. Furthermore, if you have certain issues (e.g. ADHD, dyslexia) that make it harder to study, you will be told that you're just "lazy" and need to work harder. I've experienced this as I have ADHD. Even when I try my best, I can't sit still and study without losing interest quickly. School really needs to help students like us instead of discouraging us by calling us lazy.


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