Nearly 80 years ago, Ho Seng Ong, educationist and one-time Methodist Education Secretary, had some pertinent things to say about the aims of education. He made these points, still relevant today, as Schools Editor of the Malaysia Message.
‘…TO MY fellow teachers, I wish to address myself next. Our task is a noble one, although fraught with great consequences. True, it has been said that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” but today a teacher is in loco parentis, for the child is under his care and instruction for quite a time.
I think we can achieve very little in our work unless we know why we are teaching them. That is, we must know what the general purpose in education is. I cannot do better than quote the words of Mr George Sampson who wrote in John O’London’s Weekly:
“That purpose is precisely, general culture. We should aim at producing articulate, intelligible human beings, able to inherit the past, to possess the present, and confront the future, capable, if they choose, of living a liberal life in any calling or in any circumstances. There is no kind of antagonism between manual labour and a liberal life, or between a scanty purpose and a full mind. Education must teach us the only communism possible in this world, a communism in things spiritual and intellectual.”
And the writer continues to tell us what we must try to do: “If by the time they are fourteen we have given our children the beginnings of command over their own language, if we have taught them how they can learn and go on learning what specially interests them, if we have taught them how much loveliness there is for them to enjoy, if we have taught them to be grateful and comely in person and behaviour, if we have taught them to hate laziness and dirt and cruelty, if we have taught them a sense of personal and corporate responsibility, we have taught them the
elements of the greatest of all vocations, the vocation of being members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors
of the kingdom of heaven.”
For my part I am going to read these lines over and over again this year, so that I may not fail in my “high calling” but may know why I go to school 200 days of the year to face a crowd of young minds. I will not forget to teach them Geography and Grammar and Geometry, and yet, I will take as much interest in those things that really
matter so that when they leave school they may feel with [R. L.] Stevenson that “the world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings”.
To complete the circle of my readers, I must write something for the students of our schools. I hope that a large measure of success and happiness will be yours this year. You will want to grow “in wisdom and stature”. You will therefore be keen and anxious to participate in all the activities of your school, for that is the only way to
build up your character.
Do not shirk any responsibility, but be glad that you are given an occasion when you can develop initiative and leadership. Take seriously any job your friends or teachers give you, whether that be the Captaincy of the Football XI, or Presidency of the Debating Society, or the leadership of a patrol of Scouts. Count it an honour and see to it that you put your heart and soul into these offices. Being 100% “true hearted and wholehearted” will spell success, not only in your work in school, but also in your future calling.
To conclude, how about this for a motto:
“Play the game; Win if you can, Lose if you must, But be a man!” — MM, February 1926, p.9.
Earnest Lau, the Associate Editor of Methodist Message, is also the Archivist of The Methodist Church in Singapore.
Pentecost MC gives dental chair
PENTECOST Methodist Church has donated a dental chair for the COSI Children’s Village, 30 km outside Phnom Penh.
It was purchased by church members and friends through the initiative of the church’s Missions Committee, headed by Dr Andrew Wong, who is also the Methodist Missions Society’s Medical Missions Coordinator.
A member of the church’s cell group provided free of charge the container and shipping costs for the dental chair, and the church’s Youth Team donated equipment.