Learning is not just about being able to answer exam questions

Learning is not just about being able to answer exam questions

Dear Thelma: A student worries that a teacher's unconventional methods of teaching might affect his exam results.

I am a secondary school student. I just finished Penilaian Tingkatan 3 (PT3) and I'm very worried about my results.

Throughout the year, I had an English teacher who was new to the school. She was a nice teacher all around, but I started to worry about her teaching at the start of this year. By March, she had not touched the textbook or reference book even once in class, and she kept saying that we did not need to follow books to learn the language.

At this time, all my friends at my tuition centre told me that their schools had already finished with their syllabus and were starting to practise for the exams. When I told my teacher about this, she simply said that she had her own way of teaching her students.

We often did things that were not actual learning. For example, she played games which took up the whole 40 minutes of class. She often split us into groups and made us do activities that involved doing nothing but having discussions. This was useless when we could have been doing past-year paper questions or revision instead.

Once, she made us act in class, and the preparations and presentations took up English classes for the whole week. She did not use the reference books and didn't give exercises to us, and this made me worried over whether I had done well in the actual exams because I felt I was not prepared at all.

When I asked her about possible exam questions, she refused to give us hints. She didn't do extra classes either, unlike my aunt who is also a teacher. She was not doing anything that a teacher is supposed to, in my opinion, and it was bad for her students.

I see how my aunt teaches, and all the things she does for her students, like train them with past year exam papers to make sure they are prepared. My teacher did not do this at all, so how am I expected to do well?

When I came home from school, my mother would ask me if I had homework. When I said no, she would worry. I didn't want to tell my parents about this teacher, because I didn't want them to go to school and jeopardise my good relationship with this teacher.

I also didn't want my friends to dislike me because I caused them to do more work in class. Yet, I also do not want to disappoint my parents with my results. - Worried Student

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