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14 September 2017

Education as a Process of Building Thinking Methods


 My son who just entered class 1 high school complained about the lessons and teachers at his school. "Teacher did not explain, just told us to learn by ourselves, then he gave us questions to solve," he complained. What happened to school?

I don't know whether this is true or not. I am not doing a systematic study of the curriculum. But as I accompanied my children to study, I noticed that there were some problems with their textbooks. The problem is, there is often a jump in the subject matter.

The principle of learning is gradual. After understanding something, students are taken to the next stage. Without understanding something that is preliminary, it is difficult to understand matter at a later stage. To understand multiplication, for example, the learner must first understand the sum. Without that understanding, it is impossible to understand the multiplication.

My son's complaint, he learned about vector in physics lessons. But the teacher did not give an explanation of the definition of sine and cosine used to describe the vector. The teacher said, that's the material that must be obtained in math lessons. While math lessons have not reached the material.

As a result the children are confused. Not just my children. His friends are all confused. I explain the material to my child. Then his friends are interested to come learn to me.

Complaints like this are not new. I have experienced similar problems, ie do not understand the subject matter because the teacher's explanation is not adequate. Is this a curriculum issue? Not always. Not even at all.

Teacher is king in his class. He is not a servant of the curriculum. So he should not fail to explain just because it is limited by the curriculum. The curriculum is not a scripture to be followed by word for word. He is just a great guide. Teachers can get out of it, to build understanding for their students.

The problem is, many teachers do not understand. Many do not understand the material they have to teach. Or, do not understand how to explain it. There are many teachers who for many years have persisted in incomprehension. He did not try to build an understanding for himself. That's one of the reasons why our education fails.

Education is basically not just about teaching knowledge. In the case of physics, for example, it is not a matter of how the learner understands the laws of physics. Educators often fail to understand that. Their focus on the subject matter. How to deliver the subject matter. How to make children able to complete the test questions.

So, if you do not understand, memorize it. Including just memorize how to solve the problem. If soalnya, how to solve this. Replace this formula with this number, then this result.

The situation is far from the purpose of education. We do not teach our children about physics in the hope that they all become physicists. Similarly with mathematics, and other lessons. The most important part of all the lessons is to build the method of thinking, by going through the process.

In every lesson of natural science actually introduced the topic of the scientific method. About how the knowledge of something is obtained, how something is investigated and then concluded. Unfortunately, this section is often just a part of rote in the lesson. It is not the foundation of the next learning process.

Stages in the subject matter are basically structured to construct thinking methods. Throughout the learning period the learners are trained to go through the thinking process, trained to think, develop thinking methods. Therefore the subject matter is not just about the content of the theory, but also discusses how the theory was built. In atomic theory, for example, does not jump directly to the content of his theory, but also discusses how the history of the theory formulation.

Most of our children will not work by atomic theory or Newton's Law. If the subject matter becomes a priority, be assured that it will be in vain, because it will ultimately not be used in life. But if the thought processes are trained, then the process will be a pattern that is attached to at any time. It will be useful on many occasions throughout life.

Parents and teachers should always refresh their awareness of this. So that they do not drown in error, pursue the target material, forget to build the process of thinking. When it comes to explaining something that its introduction has not been understood by children, it is imperative for teachers to develop an understanding of the introduction. Otherwise, he is not building a method of thinking.

Writer: Hasanuddin Abdurakhman
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