Friday, September 1, 2006
The Social Sciences All Mixed Up Together
School has been lots of fun, even though right now I'm still stuck at a 400-word short essay trying to argue why 'the English Language Syllabus serves no useful purpose for the English teacher.' Hmm... maybe I should be arguing for the opposite... Besides dealing with languages, I'm also doing this thing called Social Studies. Now, in my experience, this was one subject that few kids were interested in (at least in my time during primary school). I was told before my job interview that it would be one of my teaching subjects if I got hired. For someone like me who regularly thinks in ironic terms, the idea that I was asked to teach this was quite funny. Now a lot of folks see this subject as Pr*po**n*a, and rightly so. During the interview (paneled by obviously wise and experienced ex-principals), one question was: 'Now, how do you feel about teaching Social Studies?" And I said, "Well, many people think that Social Studies is Pr*pog*a**a/National Education. [laughs] While that is somewhat true, I think it's much, much more that. It's history, geography, political science, citizenship studies... blah blah blah... very interesting... blah blah blah... I love it...blah blah... more people should be studying this! blah blah blah..." And the interviewers were smiling because I think they knew where I was going with this: the interesting question of balancing the positive/useful P with the very important introduction to the various social sciences (essentially, the study of the world around us). Naturally, one worry I had was whether teachers have any room in the classroom for critical thinking and the 'look-the-emperor-has-no-clothes!' sort of questioning. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be the case so far. The two tutors (one local and the other American prof) that we have seem to understand this tension, and it's discussed very openly in class, which was, like, so refreshing to see. Asking questions and having a constant sense of inquiry seem to be a main purpose of the subject. Of course, the reality in a real classroom might be totally different. Nonetheless, it's good to see intelligent folks in class, both tutors and students. The honeymoon is going great so far... Anyway, happy Teachers' Day to all the real teachers: heros working hard on the front lines! Update(!): Archaeologist Xenoboy engages in some excavation.