Reduce rote learning

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 May, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 May, 1994, 12:00am

I REFER to Stella Lee's article headlined, ''Half of pupils struggle with work in English'' (South China Morning Post, May 2).

Having taught in Hong Kong for over 20 years it doesn't surprise me to read that form one students have difficulty coping with their studies in English.

I would suggest that some of the reasons for this might be: Poor English - or rather Chinglish, teaching in the early years.ce. Many schools need to break away from the prescriptive method and to introduce a more investigative, open-ended approach.

Mathematics. Much of the number work given to form one students is too mature and sophisticated for them to handle at this stage of their development.

Recently I was coaching a primary six child in mathematics and was dismayed to discover that much of the maths the child was struggling to cope with was only introduced into the English schools maths syllabus in forms three/four. The child was too young to comprehend the difficulties. It was like trying to teach five-year-olds the time.

Far too much emphasis is placed on rote learning.

Teachers should be aware of the old Chinese proverb: ''Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and l'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand.'' It's through the understanding and the application of knowledge gained that teachers should be aiming for.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED Far too much emphasis is laid on rote learning and endless grammar exercises at the expense of listening and oral skills.