“There are many ways of being smart”

By Atans1

If any principal or teacher dares tell their pupils, “There are many ways of being smart”, then I’m confident of Singapore’s future, even if the PAP maintains its hegemony.

A letter sent to pupils at a Lancashire primary school along with their key stage two test results has gone viral on social media sites.

The letter to pupils at Barrowford Primary School in Nelson told them the tests do not always assess what makes them “special and unique”.

The letter reads:

"Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.

However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you… the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.

They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture.

They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school.

They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.

They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.

So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember."


Somehow I doubt if any principal would send this letter, or any teacher even think about thinking about “there are many ways of being smart”, even though the education minister talks the talk of holistic education. The principals and teachers would fear being sacked or “marked”.

Easier for pigs to fly or Maruah and other middle class kay pohs to call for the release of Dan Tan from detention without trial.

Even in the UK, the principal had to deny that the letter was telling pupils that test scores did not matter.

“We never give pupils the message that academic attainment isn’t important – what we do is celebrate that we send really independent, confident, articulate learners on to the next stage of their school career.”

BTW, the school is a good school. The exam results of its pupils are good.

This post was first published over at the Thoughts of a Cynical Investor blog on 23 July 2014. It is reproduced with permission.


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