Spark curiosity to foster greater interest in learning of science

In science learning, the essence is for students to be curious and have an inquiring mind, to experiment and to try out, writes Khong Kah Yeong.

The Ministry of Education recently called for schools to instil and encourage a greater interest in the learning of science to move the country forward.

This is to be lauded although this was not the first time that the ministry has made such a call.

In the past, seminars and workshops were held throughout the country to introduce a fresh approach in the teaching of this subject. This was when Nuffield Science was introduced to the schools. Selected teachers of this subject were shown how to use more experiments to spark greater interest in science among the students.

Unfortunately since then, many schools, perhaps through budget constraints, have fallen back to the old method of more theoretical than practical learning through experiments. This has resulted in waning interest in the subject – more so if it is taught by teachers who themselves have no aptitude for it but were streamed (read forced) into the science stream during their school days because of the combination of the results in their school examinations.

In science learning, the essence is for students to be curious and have an inquiring mind, to experiment and to try out, to observe and record and thence to discuss and draw logical and correct conclusions. They should not be afraid to fail but have the courage and the will to try again and again perhaps with a different approach each time until they succeed.

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These traits are essential to produce inventors, innovators and researchers in this country, not only among academicians or industry players but also among administrators so that new knowledge, more efficient methods of working and more modern administration will be introduced.

This will help the country to keep up with the rest of the fast-moving industrialised countries, where such inventions and innovations are introduced regularly and rapidly.

Let us hope that this time the call will be sustained for the good of the country, and not be another case of “hangat-hangat…”!

Khong Kah Yeong is an Aliran newsletter subscriber who has some acquaintance with Malaysian schools.

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