Monday, September 24, 2018

PSLE reflection

Reflecting on PSLE, as a parent.

So, PSLE is happening this week. Together with two other mothers, I was interviewed on the topic of PSLE. My takeaway from that session, and from listening to the children in their interview segment, is this.

The PSLE is an important examination, however, how much importance or stress is associated with it varies widely. The mothers and the children were asked rather similar questions. How do you feel about the PSLE? If you could remove the PSLE or not take the PSLE, would you? Are grades important? Who would be more disappointed if you do not meet the goal you set? And of course the answers were varied.

My personal take, our roles as parents is not to remove the stress nor to add unnecessary pressure to the children. Our role is to support our child through the process. If PSLE, or any examination is inevitable, as is many challenges in life, we need to teach our children how to navigate through them. We need to understand our children, their academic capacity, resilience, character and work with them to help them build capacity in a meaningful and helpful manner. What does that mean?

As a mum, I need to know the realistic amount of revision my child can reasonably complete without impeding on her sleep and recreation time. And yes, sleep and recreation is still important during exams. Every person, child or adult needs adequate sleep and down time. A twelve-year-old child should have TEN hours of sleep for the brains to rest, aid concentration and knowledge acquisition. Recreation or down time is essential to a child’s mental and emotional well-being. Taking all that into consideration, I plan with my child a reasonable amount of time for studying. We spend time talking, and I explain why it is important to be putting in all these efforts for an examination.

For our family, the value of hard work, doing your best and integrity to self are important. I work with my child on a reasonable amount of time to study and determine a reasonable attainable score and she sets her goal. And I moderate her expectations or mine and we manage it from there. Now, what if the child does not achieve what he or she had set forth. Well, there may be disappointment, and it is normal! Disappointment and sadness are okay. And they should be acknowledged but, it is not the definitive moment.

My daughter’s goals are way higher than mine. But, even if her score falls below my “expectation”, she knows that if I am disappointed, it is with the result, and not with her. That is because I know how much work went into preparing for the exams and what her capabilities are. BUT many things could happen during the exams. And in her own words, if that happens, she will be sad for a few days and then get over it. And that is part of growing up, learning to deal with disappointment, but never giving up.