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Are We Teaching the “Whole Child?”

      Great thinkers have associated happiness with such qualities as a rich intellectual life, rewarding human relationships, love of home and place, sound character, good parenting, spirituality, and a job that one loves. We incorporate this aim into education not only by helping our students understand the components of happiness but also by making classrooms genuinely happy places (Noddings, 2003). This is one of my personal philosophies of teaching and advice to my colleagues.
     Educators should always be aware that the “whole Child” is coming to our classroom. We must be ready to accept and meet their needs. Even when educators recognize that students are whole persons, the temptation arises to describe the whole in terms of collective parts and to make sure that every aspect, part, or attribute is somehow “covered” in the curriculum. Children are moral beings; therefore, we must provide character education programs. Children are artistically inclined; therefore, we must provide art classes. Children’s physical fitness is declining; therefore, we must provide physical education and nutrition classes. And then we complain that the curriculum is overloaded!

     The Trends In International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in Interational Reading Literacy Study (PIRUS) are two International Assessments that measure intelligence in Science, Math, and Reading Literacy. The National Center of of Education Statistics uses the assessment to measure and rank countries with the most intelligent children. Singapore ranked number one in testing for Science (583) Math (606) and Reading (567).  The United States ranked number six. Science (544) Math (541), and Reading Literacy (556).

     The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a national examination in Singapore which a pupil sits at the end of primary education to assess pupils’ suitability for secondary education and also to place them in appropriate secondary school courses, which match their learning pace, ability and inclination. Based on their results, candidates are streamed into three different courses: Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical).

References

Noddings, N. (2003). Happiness and education. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept05/vol63/num01/What-Does-It-Mean-to-Educate-the-Whole-Child%C2%A2.aspx