On Taking Exams

Friday 26 April 2013

I have a young colleague. I value his insight. As people go, he's fairly phlegmatic. But not the other day. The other day he seemed unsettled by something. So, I 'enquired' about what it was that was bothering him. What was bothering him was one of his classes. The kids in this particular class are all about 13-years-old. The problem started, he told me, when he began to probe them on 'happiness'. 'What kinds of things', he asked the class, 'make you happy'? The thing that out-trumped everything else on their happiness barometer was passing exams. And you guess right that doing badly on exams made this particular group of youngsters unhappy. Mortality, my colleague tells me, was never mentioned.

Many of our students will be preparing for exams whilst I write. The very first Language and Literature exams are imminent, and our students will, no doubt, be doing some worrying over this (with some justification, I dare say). At the same time, I worry about creeping instrumentalism, and I worry when exams provoke so much anxiety amongst the youngest in our communities.

Here, is a rather interesting and creative video clip. You may like to provoke some discussion in your class.


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