Ramadan Reflection Day 26: Will This Be On The Test?

Photo by Universiteitskrant Univers

Bismillah.

I am grateful to be studying something that I am passionate about. I realized that there are people out there who can’t enjoy what I enjoy, for whatever reason. When you learn about something you’re passionate about, you show that you care. You show that you are not studying it for the sake of grades. The questions that you ask your teachers are questions based on curiosity in the subject matter and not, “Will this be on the test?”

That question is probably the most popular question in my university. Before this, I didn’t care for it. But now, I get irritated when I hear it. The worst part is that those students who ask other questions, sometimes questions that are not relevant to the test, but they’re good questions, are being shunt. They are known as the “the annoying student who always asks questions.” I want to give an award to such a student. I think we should all be like that; thinking outside of the box and questioning the teachers.

If the students only care about the test, then consequently it is very likely that the teachers are only going to be concerned about the test too. They are only going to focus on what’s going to be on the test. How many times have you heard a teacher said, “This will not be on the test, so you don’t have to worry about it.” What do you mean I don’t have to worry about it? Is it not valuable knowledge?

It sends a very clear and misleading message: your self-worth revolves around the test scores, regardless of whether you understand what you learn or not.

But I get it. I am not immune to it. I feel the pressure too. Everyone wants us to get good grades; parents, teachers, friends, employees, etc. They want to see the results and they couldn’t care less about how much effort, love, and care we put into it. If it’s not an A, then we’re not trying hard enough – that’s not necessarily true. I’ve met non-A students who are very intelligent and they understand deeply what they learned in class. A test score doesn’t necessarily capture understanding. It’s unfortunate since we invest a lot of time and energy into it.

This is the reality that I witness almost everyday, and I believe that countless of students like me can testify to it.

I feel that the only path to a good education is through passion. If we don’t care, then it’s very likely that we’re not going to use what we learn in our daily lives. When that happens, I question the point of us going to class everyday.

Students are having amnesia nowadays; taking everything in, vomit it out on a piece of paper, and forget everything afterwards.

If what we’re learning doesn’t add value and meaning to our lives, then are we really learning?

2 thoughts on “Ramadan Reflection Day 26: Will This Be On The Test?”

  1. This post gave me mixed feelings. I totally agree with what you're saying about being passionate about your subject and wanting to learn for the sake of knowledge, not just grades.

    However, as a teacher unfortunately I have to say that it is all about grades. It's the grades that are going to affect your life in practical terms. And giving students extra knowledge that won't be on the test does unfortunately mean that they will end up getting lower grades, which means less students will take your subject, which could lead to it being cancelled altogether. It's not a good thing but it is all about grades.

    I try to give my students extra information wherever I can, but I also have to teach to the test, and most of my students can barely cope with the amount of information they *have* to learn let alone anything extra.

    You said that 'its very likely that we're not going to use what we learn in our daily lives' – well most people don't do they? I can't remember the last time I carried about a lab experiment or analysed a satellite photo. At least y job is somewhat related to my degree though.

    Despite this however I will always try to get my students interested in the subject for itself as, when a student does truly feel interested in a subject and it comes from themselves, not the teacher forcing it on them, it should lead to their best chance of getting good grades, not just now but later on too when they will still remember what they learnt.

    It's really nice to see a student who is truly passionate about what they are learning, I hope I get to teach more people like you!

  2. you're right! i hate it when teachers and my classmate speak about exams all the time. i will face a big test this year but my teacher didn't teach us well and what she always said is:you have to memorize this and that. she didn't care much if we really understand what she kept telling us to memorize.

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