My girl has 5 reference books (Tatabahasa, Pemahaman, Text Book, Activity Book, Workbook) and 5 exercise books (Ejaan, Tulisan, Latihan 1, Latihan 2, Bina Ayat) for her Malay lesson. This is just an example. It is similar for other subjects.
Fortunately, her Malay teacher has informed her which reference book and which exercise book to bring for each day of the week. She writes this down and each time she packs her school bag she has to refer to it in order to remember which books to bring.
Yesterday, she brought the Tuesday books as usual. However, the teacher asked them to use an exercise book not designated for Tuesday because tests are near. So the poor girl copied everything on a piece of paper. It was 1 1/2 pages altogether. 1 1/2 pages may sound little but I realise that for a child that is quite a lot. Especially since, she also has 3 pages of Maths, another 1 page of BM plus the need to study for Spelling, Dictation and Ting Seah for today. Forget about revising for tests next week. There is no time left.
I wanted to paste her work on the correct exercise book for her but she was too frightened so she copied the whole 1 1/2 pages of work onto the correct exercise book again.
Eventually, I had to resort to packing her school bags for her just to make sure she has enough time for rest and sleep. I hate doing that because I do not want to teach her the wrong things but I have no choice. Sleep is very important for her.
It is crazy that the kids have up to 10 books for just one subject. However, I do know that the teachers are trying their best. They each have their own method. The BM teacher, as I mentioned, asks them to bring different books on different days. The English teacher requests that they leave their books in their drawers when tests are near so that they do not have to bring them to and fro. The Chinese teacher who is also their class teacher and teaches them other subjects often manages it by keeping most workbooks in school returning it to them only as and when required.
Even though the teachers do try their best, quite often the kids do get confused by either forgetting to bring their books or bringing unnecessary books because they are afraid. I question the need for so many workbooks. Why can’t they keep it simple?
More about school work in the next post.