I decided to type this post because I’ve been thinking about this topic more frequently lately.
This year, i have had the chance to participate as a facilitator in an event organized by Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (SCGS) called Open Little Eyes (OLE). I participated in this event together with a few friends from my school. Through the event, i have made several new friends, who are either the same age as me (Sec 2) or one year younger than me (Sec 1). I have been talking to them quite a bit even though the event has long ended. When we talk, we usually talk about school and other stuff. However, whenever i bring up the topic about physics or science in general, they would all start freaking out. They have told me multiple times that they do not like science (or physics to me more specific). That made me think more why didn’t so many people like physics or science? Its not just my OLE friends, its practically everyone who I’ve met (excluding some people).
Let’s begin from the start. When Singapore was a very young nation, the government decided to implement mathematics and science into the education system so as to increase the rate of growth of our nation by rapid industrialization which required skills such as proficiency in mathematics and a basic knowledge of scientific concepts. This has to this date remained an integral part of our education system, training critical thinking and the ability of students to solve problems. However, this has caused some students to start feeling doubtful of the subject, some of them even strongly dislike these subjects. I myself have questioned the reason for us to study math and even engaged in a debate with my dad, finally conceding to the fact that mathematics is useful to me.
For a start, lets talk about mathematics. Math used to my second most hated subject in the 4 core subjects (Math, Mother tongue, English and Science). The reason for this hatred? The very nature of mathematics. Math is very repetitive in nature and requires a lot of practice. Without sufficient practice, one may find the subject extremely difficult. In fact, practice is the only way one can master mathematics. Sometimes math may seem useless. Algebra for instance seemed useless to me at the start of last year. I always wondered “Why would i ever need to factorize anything in real life?”. Over time i realized that math was actually very important in real life. Physics requires the use of a lot of math. I also found the fun in math. However it still ranks third in my 4 core subjects. (I still love my English and of course my science).
Now on to the core of this post, why do people dislike science? I found out that the reason lies in others’ perception of the subject. People perceive science as an extremely difficult subject and they stay away from it. In some cases, this fear of the difficulty of science causes their standard of the subject to drop. They get intimidated and they stop trying. I have to admit, i was daunted by secondary school mathematics at first. However after analyzing the subject at a deeper level, i see its beauty and its importance. This then motivated me to try to understand the key concepts rather than just learning how to do the questions. This is also another problem: the fact that students learn only what is required and not trying to progress further. Science is a very broad subject and there are may areas in which people might be interested in. I actually do not like parts of physics. Although its my favorite subject, i still hate certain topics (especially optics). If you stop at what is required of you, you might just miss the interesting parts. The only other reason why people might not like the subject is because of the way that it is being taught. As for this, you might want to consider approaching your friends or your teacher to further inquire. I used to ask many questions and that is what caused me to like science so much. To this day, i’m still asking plenty of questions and it certainly helps in my learning process.
To end off, I wish you all the best in your journey of scientific inquiry and i hope that you have an awesome times studying science. Whatever you do, don’t give up on science and it won’t give up on you.
Clyde Lhui 🙂