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“Many youths are rebellious ….”, “Many children became delinquent when they enter secondary school …”
Have you heard of these kind of comments before, or spoke of such statements too, or you are the “rebellious child” that others were referring to?
Children ranging from 13 to 18 years old, in their secondary school years, are in the stage of exploring themselves and the outside world. Although, they have their own thinking, but still not completely mature and independent, they are curious of the world, like to go out and explore. This is the moment, that the parents think that their children become “disobedient” or “delinquent and rebellious”.
【When A Child Grew Up】
Ipoh Elim Gospel Hall 7979 Holistic Care Station has been running primary school children Companionship Class for nine years, they had accompanied many under privilege children completed their primary school education. The teachers worked hard not only in teaching but also in preparing good foundation for character building. After they graduated from primary schools, they have less contact with each other. In order to prevent this precious relationship from fading away, the teachers will gather these children to meet once a month to catch-up with each other. Then, the teachers discovered that most of them do not have proper learning environment at home, there were too many temptations that distract them from focusing in their studies. In year 2021, Elim Companionship Class decided to open a secondary school Companionship Class, give them a proper learning space to do their homework and revision.
“Whenever the children graduated from primary school, we always felt what a pity it is that we can’t accompany them in their secondary school years, we were worried that they will go astray and led into wrong path …” Teacher Qian Wen of Elim Companionship Class shared. Other than to provide a proper learning space, more importantly, they started this Companionship Class in hoping that the children in their process of exploring themselves and the world, the teachers can accompany and guide them so that they will be a better person.
Accompany According to the Needs of Their Age
“Secondary school students are different from primary school students, they have developed their own thinking and mind set.” Elim Gospel Hall’s Volunteer Manager Jie Zhi shared that secondary school children are in an awkward stage of their lives, where they are no more a child, yet they are also not a complete adult too. Although they perceived themselves as an adult, but they are yet to be fully mature. Thus, children at this stage, their relationship with family’s members are usually strain. But when they come to Companionship Class, they’ll pour out their heart to the teachers as these teachers had been accompanying them since young, a deep and trusting relationship had already developed. They can talk about anything from their studies to family and even love relationship. The teachers do not only teach them homework, but also guide them to think and lead them to correct values. Thankfully the children are willing to share their hearts with these teachers, hence the teachers are able to correct any mistakes in time.
“We only hope that they will have good characters, cultivate them to be responsible, as long as they are hardworking, honest, responsible in future they will not become a parasite in our society.” The last sentence spoken by Teacher Jie Zhi had been ringing in my ears.
【Let the Children Learn to Face Their Future】
In our younger days, all of us must have written essay entitled “My Ambition”, irrespective of the occupation, be it “teacher”, “doctor”, “scientist”, “astronauts” etc., these are all direction for our growing years, it points us to the goal that we should work hard on. No matter, later did we achieve our goal, we still had a beautiful dream.
Looking at present days, many children’ dreams are “snatch” by technology. Advance technologies and over flowing of information become hindrance for children to think about their future, instead they become indulge in entertainment. Besides this, they are usually being pressurised by their studies and grades, study for the sake of pursuing excellent result. The children gradually losing their curiosity in learning, “sense of direction” and “sense of urgency”.
In 2021, Malaysia Education Ministry announced the abolishment of Std. Six Student Verification Examination (UPSR), in order to let children to learn and develop in a more diversify and balance manner, not emphasising on grades alone. In the long run, the abolishment of UPSR brings more benefits than harms. However, it is not fair for those students that are facing examination. An assistant principal who has been in education field for 18 years shared with us: “When UPSR was abolished, the school has to assess the student based on their daily learning performance, but these two years of frequent online classes had made the assessment became a tough challenge.”
What About Our Future
Apart from this, assistant principal also mentioned, that the school will conduct a counselling survey for the student before they move to secondary school to understand their emotional status. “Children nowadays are too ‘happy go lucky’, they are unable to handle challenges they encounter and lack of sense of urgency. They never think and don’t know what they want to be in the future. For these children who do not have any direction in life, teachers can guide them and prevent them from mixing with bad companies.
At the same time, Teacher C shared openly, that she worries that children will choose to quit secondary school because of unfamiliar language environment. “Many teachers’ feedback, they are worry that many secondary students from Chinese primary school will quit school due to they are unable to grasp BM language or bad character due to poor learning”. Under privilege children are more likely to be so, the resources and information that they received are already lacking, if they engage with bad companies then they can easily stray into the wrong path.
Youth’s perception of black and white boundaries is still not very clear, in their journey of exploring this world, they need someone to guide them. Elim Secondary School Companionship Class’s student Wei Choong (pseudonym) did shared with Companionship Class’s teachers, that during their online class, only a few students attended classes, and he is the only one hand in homework. “Wei Choong attends Companionship Class since young, he has built up a good character, he is aware of his responsibility as a student to attend classes and complete his homework, even when others did not do their homework, he finished his homework whole heartedly.” Teacher Jie Zhi shared, hopefully their character can be shaped during secondary school years and guide them when they are lost. Grades are not the priority, but good character determines their future.
【Are they considered as good students, when they fail to catch-up in their studies?】
If you do not study hard in Standard 6, how would you go through secondary school?”, or “Until now, you still cannot memorise the multiplication table, what can you do in the future?” Companionship Class Teacher Lim advises Xiao Kang (pseudonym) unremittingly.
Xiao Kang stood and listened quietly over there while shedding his tears. From that moment on, Xiao Kang’s attitude started to change.
Xiao Kang started to study hard, he used one week to memorised multiplication table, he watched intensely and put in effort to learn those videos that send to him by Teacher Lim, his BM spelling had also improved tremendously from 0 points to 60 -70 points.
Xiao Kang’s improvement gained teacher’s praise, and without his notice his hunger for knowledge has increased gradually.
This year Xiao Kang enter secondary school, although he failed in his BM subject so has to attend remove (transition) class, yet he no longer run away from learning, instead he takes initiative in asking questions and seeking assistance, these really comforted Companionship Class teachers.
Xiao Kang is Gereja Ern Tian Batu Pahat’s Agape Companionship Class’s student, this year he has just entered secondary school. He joined Companionship Class when he was in his standard 4, after graduated from primary school, the Companionship Class teachers still care for him. During the school holidays before he entered secondary school, he joined homework guidance classes organised by Companionship Class, the teachers also helped him with his secondary school applications. Teacher Hannah of Agape Companionship Class shared frankly, that she herself was a remove (transition) class’s student as well, thus she naturally inclined to help them. She expressed that secondary school’s teachers always send messages in BM, she finds it not easy to understand those messages, it is definitely more difficult for Xiao Kang who just entered secondary school.
Struggle in between Two Polar of Surviving and Learning
Compare with others, journey of pursuing education for children of under privilege families is always full of obstacles. Students who are poorer in studies cannot catch-up with their studies due to factors such as no proper learning environment and parents’ negligent. Collided with pandemic, the whole nation entered into an era of “Online Lesson” mode, they ended up caught in between two polar. “We don’t even have enough money for food, how can we spend extra for online lesson facilities!” Parent of one of the Companionship Class student told the teacher, when the issue of surviving appears before learning, they can only choose the option to survive.
Actually all the children wish to study well, but due to lacking of proper learning environment, they failed to catch-up with other students. Elim Gospel Hall’s Teacher Jie Zhi shared that the children of secondary school Companionship Class returned and joined Companionship Class on their own initiatives, because at home alone, they can’t find the motivation to study. Children usually have the desire to learn, but if they can’t find a proper environment to learn, it does not only affect their learning progress, it can also cause them to forgo their education. Secondary school Companionship Class can provide them with a learning environment, where a class of students gather together to complete their homework and do their revision, this is much better than studying hard alone.
同一时间，另一位C老师也向我们坦言，担心孩子因为语言环境而排斥不去学校。“中学老师常反馈说，华小的学生上了中学无法掌握国语。我担心他们会因此辍学，或因学习不好而品行学坏。”弱势贫穷家庭的孩子更是如此，他们获得的资源与资讯本就不多，若遇上 “坏朋友” 将很容易误入歧途。