Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Letter of the Day | Now that GSAT is over, what next?

Published:Friday | April 14, 2017 | 4:12 AM

The pressure that was placed on grade six students over the past few months was phenomenal. The stress was daunting and one wonders how many will walk away unscathed.

We pushed 10- to 12-year-olds unrelentingly both during the week and on weekends. We demanded that they commit to memory copious amounts of information which had no relevance in their current situations other than to achieve a coveted spot in their school of choice.

At the end of the exercise, the race would be won by those who had better swotting abilities and had access to the information required to ace the examination.

So, after GSAT, what next? We give their brain cells breathing space and inadvertently teach them that swotting is a necessary evil and the information accumulated can be forgotten, as it only served one purpose. We leave our children in the arms of technology and mindless television until demands are placed on them during high school to perform yet again.

However, I am using this medium to challenge our parents and guardians to go beyond creating mindless robots.

Don't stress them but during this down time; continue to motivate and stimulate their brain cells and physical bodies. Form a reading club and let them be analytical and discuss what they read. Use what they learned in communication task to write a book report.

Teach them how to research a topic and make a presentation on what they have learned. For example, using the information from social studies, discover possible places in Jamaica that the family could visit on a weekend trip. Do they know how to budget for this road trip? Let them determine what expenses may arise and the costs to cover these expenses.

Get them out of the house and involved in physical activities like track and field, football, swimming, basketball or cricket.

We pushed our children academically for GSAT, now teach them to be responsible young adults in the home and their community, where possible. Take out that list of chores and identify their areas of responsibility. As a member of a household, they need to know the value of selfless contribution. To those parents who can say, we already do that, kudos to you. Let them volunteer at school, church or in a safe community activity. Let let these weeks and months pass them by without a goal being accomplished.

S. THOMPSON

Kingston 6