Yes, the Primary 6 kids just got back their PSLE scores, and my primary school top scorer wasn’t so good anyway – the score have never been higher than the top of my year, even until now. I don’t have much recollection of that time and I know I didn’t do that well anyway. But then, let’s just forget about PSLE and think about Primary Education for a moment. I just news from my cousin who was in Primary 4 that she was sad she didn’t get top for any subjects, though she got the overall top. Yes, I know she used to top Mathematics and English, sometimes Science, together with the never-anyone-else position of the overall top. That’s kind of crazy I know, but she happens to be in the same Primary School as the one I graduated from.
I do not suspect that schoolwork’s getting any easier, or exams, in any case, are getting less strict, but I do suspect that the Pygmalion effect (also known as the Rosenthal effect, or more commonly known as the “teacher-expectancy effect”) is at play, and this is bad. I am not doubting my cousin’s ability in any way but the education this days have the huge problem of Pygmalion effect even when the streaming is not in place. Somehow, without streaming, teachers may even find that they have to trust themselves even more now, thus discriminate much more people (reflecting the truth in the numbers sometimes – how can schools have so many talents anyway).
At my time, Pygmalion effect was already at play and I suspect I was one of those who benefited from it. But I also remembered that more people were in my league that in my cousin’s, now. I was the noise-maker who somehow manage to convince teachers that I was making noise in class not because I didn’t get a thing but because I already know everything. Somehow, the teachers also make me feel that I have got to know everything to get this right to make noise so there I go, in this endless cycle of deception and eventually make lies become truth. The guy who made noise because he knew nothing turned out to get to know things – in order to make noise; and he got a little hungry for stuff to know. Frankly, teachers just have to coincidentally influence students in the right way to get them going.
There’s still a long way to go for all these to incidentally happen, for my primary school, for my cousin, for the system, as well as the teachers hoping to inspire. Everyone just have to be themselves to eventually be someone else, because you always find that you have always been someone else anyway. I am glad to admit I am talking in spirals, because that’s who I am in any case.