WHAT IS A CLEVER CHILD?
Students in Myanmar are not typically taught how to self-study. The concept is as foreign to them as the idea that school is a fun place. School is a duty which the government have enforced on students while equipping teachers with the means to ensure upstanding behaviour through any means necessary. We have mentioned about the assemblies with the canes, the teachers with the canes and the children who are caned before. This is a regular part of Myanmar school life, although I wish it weren’t.
Parents in Myanmar want their children to do well and to be clever. These seem like words plucked from a dictionary or Hollywood film script as they have no substance or measurable method of judgment. The concepts do not translate into tangible products, meaning that a student is set up to disappoint; passing matriculation might be seen to be doing well, but should you get enough points to be a doctor, engineer or merely study history at university? What is well and who decides that benchmark? How many points certifies clever over having studied hard or bought answers at the highest price? Parents consider beating a small price for a clever child, often feeling that the reason behind failure was a lack of beatings not that the pain inflicted by beatings may have dulled the child’s spirit to the pain of failure.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
Motivating Young Rural Students
Long-Term Career Goals
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