Friday, May 26, 2006

Every student has a gift

Lately, I heard about a former student of mine getting high honours for her achievements in drama. I remember looking at a colleague who, like me, had taught her Maths, and saying: "she was a scatter brain in Maths!" Of course, I meant it in a nice way. We had both spoken about that student and thought that she was very intelligent but lacked motivation to do well in Mathematics.

Earlier in the week, our college held its annual festival of creative arts. The talent on show was amazing. Over 400 students (out of ~ 1150) took part. Many students who have difficulties in academic subjects displayed great ability in music, drama or dance. Of course, there were also the all-rounders who excelled at everything.

As I sat and listened to the awesome orchestra playing Holst's Jupiter, I remembered my schooling years. I also attended a single sex Catholic school, though in my case it was a boys' school. Music and, to a large extent, sport were seen as extra-curricular. There is no way known that we would have put on such festivals that interrupted our "learning". Ironically, I remember being asked to write an essay in my year 10 (seconde) French class based on a citation which read something like: "an education system where a child has no time to learn the piano or classical Greek is a dead system."

To be fair, my schooling took place during the time of a civil war. It was a miracle that we got taught enough Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Arabic, French and English to pursue our choice of courses at university. In my case, I was able to emigrate to Australia and study Maths and Computer Science without taking time out to learn the language. For this, I am eternally grateful.