This is going to be a somewhat unhappy post, but it’s reality and it happens with a large number of students. If you’re a teacher, I beg you to read on, if you’re a student, you will relate on some level.
So I’ve been in this for almost 2 weeks now. It’s a dreadful cycle that drains me out of everything that I love or enjoy doing. It’s inevitable and it’s recurring, painful and challenging. Yes, I speak of exams. My almost 2 weeks of sitting through one midterm after the other had made me feel basically like a lifeless corpse. My desk is a pile of notes and check-lists and assignments that are deferred because I’m studying and just everything is here and there.
I’m not going to talk about that, however, or my lack of sleep, or my depressed state because I believe it happens and that no one can lead a perfect life all the time.
I speak of assessment methods, and rewards/punishments. Because, I have to admit, I learn quite a lot during the time of exams. About myself, about the type of mistakes that I normally and abnormally fall into and so on. This is great, but when my future is at stake, I’m a bit worried that my learning experience has its drawbacks. When I almost fail an exam, okay yes, I’ve learned not to do the mistakes, but I’ve also lost almost 10% of my grade.
Why aren’t there learning techniques that are more rewarding? Why are assessment methods so risky and put students on edge? Why do I, and a lot of students, study hard and exert so much effort only to find that the exams are on a different level or that we need to score a high grade to ensure not failing? Why do I have to go through the midterms week stressed, depressed, sleepless and worst of all demotivated and frustrated, that despite my efforts the expected results aren’t coming? Why?
I must also admit that the culture puts a lot of stress on “grades” and “scores” and this is why the student population does not enjoy learning. Because all they’re focused on, is how to get As. I know people who finish courses they know nothing about. Literally. What is the point behind anything inside the scope of academics if it’s not to help the student learn without all this pressure? Aren’t there more interesting ways to teach students time management, and stress-handling? If universities and schools keep threatening to tease the students’ scores in such a manner, given the importance of grades in the environment we live in, then no learning will ever happen.
I’m immensely disappointed that education has reached this far. And I mean education in Egypt, because that’s what I’ve actually seen.
When public universities have an extremely high threshold of grades for entering, without having any other criteria but high school scores what does this show? What if they asked students to do certain hours of community service, or presenting a handmade project or a new idea or anything in life, apart from academics, wouldn’t there be actual change in attitudes? (Provided that there’s no corruption and students actually do the community work)
I just hope that I live to do something about this, because if it continues, we’re going to be having seriously materialistic generations who are selfish and indifferent towards learning.