Learning style: The Transition From Asian To Logic.

It’s odd how Malaysians rejoice in agreement whenever someone mentions they haven’t learnt anything after studying for an exam.

“Do you still remember about photosynthesis?”

“Wey! What’s that wey?!

Then they would laugh.

When a Malaysian spends his or her precious time and effort to ace an exam, they study A LOT. This may sound like pleasure to our parents’/teachers’ ears but it is the contrary in reality. Zoom out for a moment and think about the way we study. Read, copy notes and memorise long and dry sentences which don’t even makes sense to us but we still take the effort to memorise it. Copy from book, paste on exam sheet and delete from brain forever.

Delete from brain forever.

It seems like our past years in any academic institution was nothing but was meaningless rubbish. It isn’t odd to come across somebody in Malaysia that has said that he or she hasn’t learned a thing in school, be it primary, secondary or college. In fact, it is normal. How unfortunate. We make ourselves sound like total idiots whenever we nod excitedly at each other while saying that. With our own lips. Controlled by our own brain.

Surely, the brain can do more than that. The problem is in most schools we are taught by (sometimes) robotic teachers. Surly and incompetent as ever with a bamboo cane in their hands just waiting for the moment you utter something that isn’t the ‘answer’. Back then (and most likely still now), the answer was whatever that was written in the exercise book. You know that page! At the back where the words are smaller but still sparkle like diamonds in any student’s uninterested eyes.

That page has the answers. It is the answer to whole education pathway for some. Neither learning nor understanding anything being taught in shabby, hot and humid classrooms but thinking that if you have the answers to questions being spoonfed to you, you will score an A in any exam.

That was how it was like for me in primary school.

There was no such thing as being creative or having your own ideas, saying it your own way or coming up with different answers. Back then if your answers didn’t match the answers at the back, you’re wrong although you might be slightly correct in another way.

I’m writing this because I am in utter shock after today’s introductory lecture to university skills. Shocked because I have never done anything like this before such as using Google Scholar or criticising the work of experts. Criticise? If we did in Malaysia, we would probably get slapped with ‘Don’t disrespect the elderly’. I’m disappointed too because creating your own ideas and formulating your own essay with your own ideas without copying large texts and pasting them into your Word document from Wikipedia is so foreign to me.

We are not supposed to be taught this way. The Asian way where you just conform to teachers and memorise because it is the safest way. No, it is the most idiotic way. Just because we can’t understand and absorb information immediately, doesn’t mean we can’t or will never learn. You don’t learn by memorising long and dry sentences which you don’t know its meanings. You don’t ‘study’ by reading every book in the world without understanding it.

There are so many ways to learn, to study. To ‘study’. It’s stupid that most schools are teaching the current generation now with such a method. Just read and memorise? Hell no. 

I quote my flatmate whose name is Ryan Gibson, ‘Balls to that’.


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