5 years later, what has become of MOE’s character and citizenship education?

Back in 2014, our schools implemented what is called “character and citizenship education” (CCE). It was implemented in 2014. Education Minister Ong said that “the aim is for children to develop a sense of identity and values from the time they are young so that these guide their relationships with their families, peers and community.”

Under the present syllabus, it is understood that primary school pupils get one to 1.5 hours of CCE lessons a week. During these sessions, they discuss values and good habits and how these could be applied to their lives. They have activities like role playing, group work, storytelling, or a time of reflection or journal writing.

Now, let’s get this off our chest: no one here should have any illusions that one or two hours a week of CCE is going to build resilience in our child to meet the adversity and emotional turmoil they will face in the world out there. But it is nevertheless a step in the right direction.

Judith Rodin, author of “The resilience dividend” defines it as “the capacity of any entity – an individual, a community, an organization, or a natural system – to prepare for disruptions, to recover from shocks and stresses, and to adapt and grow from a disruptive experience.”

This is a flowingly eloquent definition, but in a nation where the overwhelmingly 70% fears failure (to the extent that it paralyses them due to excessive competitions and comparisons), how do you build within them (or even us as parents) resilience that is able to fail gracefully?

Undeniably, our kids take failing seriously, too seriously. The last thing they want others (or their peers and parents) to know is how weak they are, how vulnerable they can be, and how they face such struggles that they often cry for help in silent tears.

Honestly, I don’t exactly know how our kids have come to this point, but in a society that is based on merit, competition and inequality, you can rest assured that our child is always rushing to catch up with the child in front of him, and the child in front is himself rushing to catch up with the one in front, and so on.

There is often no or little time to reflect about life, talk about how they really feel, and admit to others that they are just not fast enough, smart enough and good enough. They dare not open to their vulnerabilities because to show weakness is the first sign of failure, where people will look down on them.

Joanna Koh-Hoe, a psychology graduate and social science practitioner, wrote, “We live in a nation with a strong emphasis on academic and intellectual achievements. What about instilling emotional competency in students to cope with the stresses of such an environment?”

Joanna also reminded us that “parents must be the first line of defence against youth suicide”. She said that we parents play a vital role in strengthening our child’s mental and emotional resilience, even from birth.

How true.

One rabbi said: “Parents are powerful. The worst mistake they can make is to underestimate their influence.”

And as a parent, I feel strongly that reaffirming the message that one failure does not their worth make is the all-important key towards building their confidence, character and capacity to not just be robust, but enduringly resilient. What is robust like the pyramid can be destroyed in one earthquake, but what is resilient like the Japanese people of Fukushima can be beaten down after a tsunami strike, but they stand up even wiser and stronger thereafter, and with time.

Let me end with what a long-time teacher Jonathon Shea said about overcoming failure, taken from the book “The Gift of Failure” by Jessica Lahey: “Students recover. People do it all the time. And failure helps them learn about themselves. First, they learn that people want them to be okay. Second, they learn that they can overcome a problem, but that work and attention are more important than genius or perfection. Students need to fail, but this is when they learn to succeed.”

That is the only way our children (and us) can fail gracefully.

 

Michael Han

 

 

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11 Responses to “5 years later, what has become of MOE’s character and citizenship education?”

  • TruBlu:

    Yes,CHARACTER?
    Mostly IMMORAL FROM TOP TO ORDINARY TEACHERS!

    HOW TO TEACH LESS N LEARN MORE?

    BY MAKING POOR SGS PAY FOR EXPENSIVE TUITIONS SINCE TEACHERS JUST NEED TO TEACH NOTHING IN SCHOOLS N MOONLIGHT AS TUITION TEACHER$$$$$$??????

    In my days,we have DEVOTED TEACHERS WHO GAVE EXTRA REMEDIAL LESSONS REGULARLY FOR FREE!
    And,their PAY WAS TRULY PEANUTS!

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  • Failure of Educated Fachidiots:

    Got wit, got grit, good for nothing but themselves

    https://youtu.be/IfzrN2yMBaQ

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Children by NATURE whatever the NURTURING is vulnerable to peer and family PRESSURE…add the Govt’s policies and suicide and ANTI-social creeps in…

    let the children grow up free from all these NUMBER ONE shit let them play/study at their own pace with a Good Teaching and education policies…

    and who KNOWS??? a Nobel Prize winner is in the making instead of parrots and sheep

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  • Harder Truths:

    $G schooling is not relevant as all leeders are rich scholars and any really educated people will be imported to help them rule the $G locals.

    No need to spend money on non-essential services like schools and teachers. As long as $G people know basic skills to serve the leeders then that is more than sufficient.

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  • as bad as lky lies:

    pap ong yee kung, the Aljunied reject, has yet to make a statement about the S$156 school fees for PSLE results slip saga.

    this is despite many questions from citizens, with even an e-mail sent by Mr Gilbert to him.

    how come so quiet?

    because kenna caught. pants on fire. that is why.

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  • Many well-Educated Fools:

    State media keeps boasting and praising SG education institutions.

    PISA ranking and other rankings.

    But what is the Reality?

    Let’s take Medicine or medical science .

    Which SG born medical researcher has ever invented any best drugs in the world?
    I never heard of any.
    If any, it’s more likely from a new citizen or a foreigner invited to sg to do R&D. If you hear some news about tech from a, LEARN TO QUESTION, is the talent a SG born citizen , new citizen or foreigner.

    So, I THOUGHT SG EDUCATION SYSTEM VERY BOMBASTIC ??? THEN WHERE IS THE TALENT TO DEBUNK ME?

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  • I am Undebunked:

    So far no Singaporean can debunk me for the following :

    1. GDP is not independently audited thus it’s a Claim but economists cite GDP as if it’s the truth.

    2. If Election Process us untamperable, why are election agents and volunteers needed? What is tamperable may not have ever been tampered yet. We have say this because SG is super litigious.

    3. No sg born top exam scorer has ever created any top world class product as great as Google, FaceBook, Alibaba, Recent etc. The education system notwithstanding.

    I hope to be debunked. But not one SG talent can do it. Are what I say The Truth then?

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  • Useless bunch:

    as bad as lky lies:
    pap ong yee kung, the Aljunied reject, has yet to make a statement about the S$156 school fees for PSLE results slip saga.

    this is despite many questions from citizens, with even an e-mail sent by Mr Gilbert to him.

    how come so quiet?

    because kenna caught. pants on fire. that is why.

    Small wonder there’s a strong perception that these 4Gs idiots are half baked and incompetent.

    Stroke heng couldn’t even answered properly after being challenged by oppos.

    Kee chiu keeps on making incoherent uninspiring speeches nobody bother to listen or understand what he is saying.

    DisGraceFool like Aljunied reject Ong yee koon quickly disappears out of sight after messing up with the idea to catch the national song.

    Sg has no hope or future with them taking over.

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  • Stroke man must up lorry:

    Useless bunch: Small wonder there’s a strong perception that these 4Gs idiots are half baked and incompetent.

    Stroke heng couldn’t even…..
    Kee chiu keeps on making incoherent uninspiring speeches nobody bother to listen or understand what he is saying.
    DisGraceFool like Aljunied reject Ong yee koon quickly disappears out of sight after messing up with the idea to catch the national …

    The problem with democracy and majority rules is that it’s flawed. If majority are goons and zombies and Brain washed, the 30% lives get dragged thru shit.

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  • Facing diabolical facts:

    Nineteen boys aged 10 to 19 committed suicide in 2018 in Singapore, the highest since suicide figures began being recorded in 1991. In 2017, there were seven suicides by teenage boys. The total number of suicides also rose last year, with 397 reported – up from 361 in 2017, but still fewer than the 429 in 2016.

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  • Self Righteous Bastards:

    What would you say of people who teach children how to harass people?

    Some people can tell lies and withhold information and then brazen it out that they are right.

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