A string of A’s


It’s the time of the year again… what time? – you might ask.

Well, if you have school-going children(at least in Malaysia), then it is time for the mid-year exams results to be out. Are you disappointed with your child’s performance? Or has all the time and money spent for tuition worth it? Whatever it is, I think the most important question that a parent needs to ask themselves is this – Is a string of A’s important?

As a mother of 2 school-going kids, allow me to expound my point of view.

As usual, my answer would be YES and NO.

As a mother, I would like to see a nice string of A’s in LL’s progress report from school. As a mother, I would like to know that my kids have done their best. As a mother, I think that to show that they have done their best, there should a string of A’s to show. Right?

But, let’s reflect back. What does the string of A’s actually shows? What does it mean? Does it show that your little one has good leadership and good values? Does it show that your little one is an all-rounder? Or does it just shows that your little one is good in memorizing and parroting what he/she has memorized during exams? And if another occasion arises, he/she will probably not understand and will not be able to answer similar questions?

The way that I coach my kids in their studies is probably different from tuition teachers. Instead of providing them the answers or ways to arrive at the answer, I prefer to ask them questions first, letting them think. And sometimes you would be surprised with they way their minds work! I seldom insist on them completing 10 pages of exercises or 50 sums each day. Only when they have grasp the concept and needs more practice, do I reinforce what they have learn through practice. I also take opportunity from everyday situations to teach them the practicalities. For example, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. There are practical uses in our everyday life! When we are paying for something, ask them how much change would we get in return. When we are on long road trips, we play add/multiply the car plate numbers and see who gets it correct first.

I prefer this way of teaching. It probably might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Especially if you would prefer your little ones to score a string of A’s. Because this way of teaching/coaching does not force a child to do endless exercises and memorise all the facts which they could then “vomit” it out during examinations. But of course, they would score fairly and would not be in the bottom of their class either.

I am not saying that A’s are not important. As a mother, I would like to see my kids getting A’s too! I guess what I am trying to say is we have to look at things from a broader perspective. A’s are important. But so is the development of a child.

If as parents, we are giving out children undue pressure to score all A’s by any means, we should not blame the child if he/she becomes a parrot in the future, or maybe burnout by the age of 10 and become rebellious.

So, does it mean that I should not care about A’s at all? No, exams in school has a role to play. It benchmarks the knowledge and ability of a child. And it gives a child something to work for – a goal. As long as your child do their best in their exams and is a well-balanced child with lots of opportunities to explore and learn, I think that is good enough.

Or maybe it’s because my kids did not get number 1 in class and score straight A’s? Just kidding!