An assessment is an evaluation of a person’s efforts. Assessments are necessary for progression in all aspects of a person’s development.
Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) is just one of many assessments our children will have to endure in their journey through life. Assessments allow us to determine if we are progressing well or if we need to do better. To be good at anything requires training. For those who like sports…to be the best athlete you can be, you must train your bodies hard.
Intellectually, to be the smartest you can be, you must train your brain hard. Any form of training is going to bring with it a certain level of stress and stress needs to be managed.
How do our SEA children de-stress physically, mentally and emotionally during examination preparations? Watching TV, playing games on a computer tablet, texting on the smart phone, won’t really relieve stress…those are simply distractions. Children need to physically de-stress by actively engaging in sport or any form of physical activity.
Children need to mentally de-stress by actively engaging in activities that challenge the mind’s creativity such as art and music. Let us not forget that our children preparing to write SEA are also starting adolescence.
Their hormonal levels are changing. Emotionally they need to be reassured that everything will be okay. They need to be reminded every now and then that they are amazing and can do whatever they set their minds to. Note that encouragement is not equivalent to being told to be bright like your older brother, sister, cousin or friend. It does not mean that they must pass for their first choice. We must encourage them to put their best foot forward always.
As a nation we need to both individually and collectively support our children. Our future leaders need us to urge them on to be the best they can be. They also need us to allow them to de-stress. But how many of us actually do this?
How many of us feel that we can better support them by sending them to the best lessons teacher, by removing them from extra-curricular activities so that they can focus on their studies?
Our SEA children need much more than this. There must be balance in their lives. They must be reminded that while SEA is important, it is just another assessment. So, instead of rushing to abolish SEA, let us look and see how we can better support our children.
They are their own persons and they need us—their teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians, neighbours, friends and siblings to believe in them.
Dr Anna-Maria Khan