Should students be given more freedom to choose their own courses and/or teachers?

This question is adapted from one suggested by Joyce, Amy, Garfield and Jenus (2E). In our secondary school, the courses for junior form students are fixed, though in Form 3, they can choose to take design and technology (D & T) or home economics (HE). In Form 4 (Grade 1o), students enter one of four streams. If they perform well in Form 3, they can get their first choice of stream, but do not have freedom to choose courses within the stream. Should students be allowed more freedom in choosing their own courses? If so, how much freedom should they be given? What courses should be mandatory (i.e., every students must take the course)? How will students know which courses to choose?

 Also, I find that junior form students here study a LOT of subjects (15 to 17 subjects). Looking back at my education in Canada, I can’t remember ever studying more than nine subjects at one time. Is it really necessary to study so many subjects at once? Are there any subjects that can be combined (e.g., Chinese and Putonghua), alternated (e.g., geography in Form 1, history in Form 2) or offered as electives (e.g., choose Art or D & T)?

A related question from the same  group (I think) is: Should students have more freedom to choose their teachers? What are your views?

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12 thoughts on “Should students be given more freedom to choose their own courses and/or teachers?

  1. I think students should not be given freedom to choose their own teachers, because all students do not want their teachers are harsh. If all students have freedom to choose teachers, then all the teachers they choose are kind, nice and gentle. I am not saying that these gentle teachers are not good but if all teachers are gentle people, it in not good for students.There must have some teachers be the harsh teacher to push students to learn more.
    On the other hand, I think students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses. But I think all students must take the main subjects such as Chinese, English and Maths, then choose 3 subjects such as Int.Science, History, Liberal Studies… and choose 2 more subjects which students are interested in such as Music, Art… I think this can let students be more interested in studies different subjects.
    At last, I think in form 1 students still learn Putonghua and Chinese. But then in form 2 and after all, combined Chinese and Putonghua into one subjects. That means that use Putonghua to teach Chinese. In form 1, let them know more about Putonghua and then in form 2 use Putonghua teach Chinese. It can still learn Putonghua during teaching Chinese.

    • @Amy,

      I agree with most of your points. My children have been learning Chinese using Putonghua since Primary 1 and it seems to help them learn both Chinese and Putonghua effectively (though if you did that at Lam Woo, you would have to make sure that all the Chinese teachers are also good at Putonghua.

      I think integrated science, however, should be a core subject like Chinese, English and Maths. A lot of university programmes (e.g., medicine, biology, engineering, etc.) require students to have studied science. When you are in Form 1 or 2, you may not know what you like and/or are good at. If you don’t take science then, you would be eliminating a lot of university programmes and possible career choices.

      Personally I find the problem with having harsh and lenient teachers around is that is that some students have gotten so accustomed to the harsh style that they won’t worry about anything I say unless I turn red and scream at them.

  2. I think students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses because the students can be more active in the lessons and interested in studying different subjects.They love the couses which they choose,so that they will work harder and be more concentrate.
    Besides,I think students should not be given freedom to choose their own teachers
    because they may choose the teachers who are nice and kind,just like the kindergartners.They don’t give you any homework or classwork.
    You can do everything you want in the lesson and they don’t condemn you.
    This is meaningless.We go to school is for studying not playing.
    But I think the teachers cannot be so rude and severe.
    If not , they will afraid of them and have a great pressure.
    It will make the students have a unhappy schoollife.

  3. I think,we should be given more freedom to choose our own subjects and teachers.
    Firstly,we should be given more freedom to choose our own subjects because I think that,if we can choose the own subjects we like to study,we can put in ourselves more in studying and get a better result.
    And why I think we should be choosing our teachers because we would put more effort in studying if the teachers that we like teach us,and we would be even better in studying.

  4. I think the students should be given more freedom to choose their courses but not teachers.This is because if the students choose their subjects they like, they will be interested in that subject and may get a better result. However,I think the students should NOT be given more freedom to choose teachers because the students may just choose the teacher they like.This is not good for the students.

  5. I think students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses because students know what they are good at, so that they can pay more attention to the subjects they are interested. It is good for their future. However, I think students in junior forms should not have the freedom to choose their subject teachers. It is because the students in junior forms should be taken care by some teachers who are a bit striaght because they are not mature. Therefore, if the students can choose their own teachers, they will choose the teachers that are nice and friendly so the order in class may be bad.

  6. As I am a secondary student, I sometimes hate going to school and doing the homework. It is because these things make me feel tired. Since there are so many subjects, I feel pressured. However, I think that students cannot be all-rounded if they can choose their own courses and teachers.
    Firstly, the students may choose teachers who are kind instead of the harsh one. They want to study comfortably. However, it is not good for the students. The teachers who are kind will not punish them or just let them be naughty etc.
    Secondly, I think the aim of why the school forces the students to study all subjects in junior form is that junior form students need all-round development. They can discover their interests through different subjects. They can also find out that they perform very well in some subjects which they haven’t thought about. On the other hand, if they cannot receive information of all subjects, they will miss some basic knowledge of other subjects which out of their choices.
    In conclusion, I don’t think that the students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses and teachers.

  7. I think students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses. As in Lamwoo, students may not choose the subjects they want to study even they are in senior form. For example, if I want to study Chemistry, I must also study Biology and Physics but not he other subjects. I think if they have the choice to choose their own subjects, they may study happier.
    However, I don’t think students have the freedom to choose their teachers. It is because most of the students would choose some gentel and kind teachers. These teachers may not control the discipline and finally the class may become a mess.

  8. I think that students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses. As a student, the main purpose for going to school is to study. Students can decide to take the subjects that they are interested to and drop the subjects they have no interested at all. If they are not given the freedom to choose their own courses, they will have to study the other subjects as well, which will make them less concentrated on the subject that they have the most interest in and the best result.
    However, I don’ think that students should be given more freedom to choose their teachers. If students can choose to be taught by whom, most likely they will choose to be taught by some kind teachers that will not scold at them. This will lead to two main problems. Firstly, there must be some harsh teachers in school as well as kind teachers. Kind teachers will be very busy since they have to teach many classes, while the harsh teachers will by very bored. Secondly, there must be some good points as well as some bad points about a person. There is no point to choose the “best” teacher since they all have some advantages and disadvantages to the students.

  9. I think that students should be given more freedom to choose their own courses because if they choose the courses they like, they will be more study hard and they will pay attention during the lessons.Also, they will have the most interest in those subjects.Furthermore, they will set a goal to themselves to get a better result in the exam.
    However, i don’t think students should be given more freedom to choose their teachers.It is beacuse students will mostly choose the teachers that are gently and kind. Therefore,those teachers would be very busy because they have to teach a lot of classes.

  10. In the recent days, students have been choosing their subjects whether they should attend in particular subjects or not. They have been choosing their subjects based on their interests.
    Students shouldn’t be given more freedom to choose their own courses for the development of students’ abilities to enhance equally. Students will get to concentrate and participate on the subjects that they are only interested in. It causes students to perform an advanced result. As a result, students will get to be an expert on the subjects that they have chosen because they have chosen their subjects based on their interests. However, students won’t be able to develop in various aspects and expand their span of knowledge because of focusing on only the subjects that they are interested in. Students should learn the subjects that they are less interested in as well for the development of themselves to pursue their goals and to grow as a desirable social person.

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