Thursday, 1 May 2008

Why Self-Reliant Learning (SRL) for A-Level students should fail at GMI.

Observing the mischief of this system after some period of its implementation from a professional point of view, one might notice the kind of travesty which lurks amongst fancy jargons, pretentiously and ostentatiously. The idea might have started from petty resentments of mainstream education styles or eagerness to catch attentions by mongering a fresh, new concept for experimentation through the media. But failures strike the colors of such systems best and the truth that mainstream spheres provide excellent security leads us but to one question; will GMI admit its wrong and change its educational policy regarding the GAPPs?

We shall examine SRL in its true form, A-Level in its true nature and the inadequacies of the existing GMI-version SRL.

What is A-Level? A-Level is the substitute of former HSC academic qualification acknowledged as prerequisite for university-level study. A-Level examinations are so predictable that a 25-years-in-a-row grade increment is noticeable in the UK and the syndicates stressed out that it is affirmatively due to improved and more experienced teaching methods. You will find the word ‘prerequisite’ most significant in this discussion. This word is also used in defining the first level of the hierarchical Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Benjamin Bloom. Bloom’s approach is both holistic and in line with all the educational and philosophical –isms such Cognitivism, Constructivism and modern theories.

To base this discussion on this fabulous taxonomy is to keep it coherently relevant. The similarity between Bloom’s prerequisite and that of the A-Level is the required role-play of the teachers or assistants or guiders, if you will, in the field, both, qualitatively and quantitatively regarding time spent with the students.

This is clearly outlined by Cambridge in its a priori suggestions of which we are well aware of (the learning hours). The least GMI could do is try to have teachers fulfill these requirements, but the unforgivable past seems to disadvantage the students rather than benefit them. It is unfair to station rebuttals to the above statement on will- or spirit-deficit of the students or the incompetency of their strategies for the problem did not recently developed but rather escalated from tradition of vaunted malpractices. This claim comes with too many proofs to be erroneous.

Truly, SRL is substantial to a bona fide higher education. Then again, the gateway is A-Level. A healthy education starts with the ‘affective’ process of ‘receiving’ knowledge passively without which the ‘scaffoldings’ would be too weak to support forthcoming information or worse yet; misleading. Then only can ‘responding’, ‘valuing’, ‘organizing’, and ‘characterizing’ can take place. The same principal applies to ‘cognitive’ process, in which the correct knowledge provides the ground for ‘comprehension’, ‘application’, ’analysis’, ‘synthesis’ and ‘evaluation’. Even if a student is fit for SRL at ground level, it would take an absurdly lot of time to make it through trials and failures.

This distortion in natural learning process imposes threats not only on knowledge development but also on creativity, motivation and morale of the students. A long exposure to imaginary incapability misinterpreted to have originated from ones natural, unchangeable, and limited intelligence would cripple potential students. The students, then, adapt to the new surrounding consisting majorly of degenerating laddive, though, ‘empty’ individuals amongst students and teachers alike, constant failures and let-downs and so forth.

I shall finish this article with a scholastic and constructivistic example. Let us imagine a student getting to know m-field or a magnetic field. SRL would tell the student that an equally important e-field or electric field also exists. The problem with e-field is that it is not included that in-depth in primary or secondary syllabus. A book will tell the student that an e-field is the force per unit charge which would be felt by a sufficiently small test charge at that point. To confirm this and quench the student’s thirst for other information, the student would check other books. Yet, the same or about the same definition appears which does answer questions like; how does e-field affect m-field? How does e-field function in light propagation? And so on. If you say that such questions would not benefit the student much in A-Level tests, you are robbing SRL of its rights. A fully functional teacher would do just fine in helping the inquisitive student by explaining e-field holistically in a nutshell.

Acta est Fabula.

Ahmad Kamil, 30th of April 2008.

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