Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Biology No More?

A fleeting thought crossed my mind. Should I, or should I not drop Biology when I reach university? I can't avoid it; all 3 universities that I want to apply to require Biology in the first year...

I think I understand why I'm getting kind of sick and tired of Biology. It is because of the following:

1. Physiology
Physiology simply bores me. There's absolutely nothing worse than memorizing structure and function of body parts and plant parts. Given a choice, I'd rather be solving genetics or DNA problems, not labeling body and plant parts. I particularly love those questions that require me to decipher "what's going wrong", and that's particularly important in physiology. So I believe it's a love-hate relationship.

Still, I find that physiology is reserved for those who want to become doctors or researchers in human kinetics and health and disease. None of them interest me. I want to work with proteins (proteonomics), genes (genetics), and cells (cell biology).

2. Teaching methods and my grades
For two years in JC, I've always barely passed Biology. That's way much in contrast to my Biology grades in Sec 3 and 4, where I usually would be near the top of my class. And that was when my Biology teacher was something like the toughest one available. Here, in JC, I suddenly find that I'm unable to absorb the large amount of information that they give us... and as a result, I'm usually unable to answer the test questions adequately.

Large quantities of information that has to be memorized bores me out. Especially if it's about physiology, of which nearly half of our syllabus is about. Gee... I just hope university-level Biology is less about memorization than it is about understanding... Case-in-point: Bio essays, which are essentially regurgitations of our lecture notes. Gosh, might as well print Bio essays for us, rather than our lecture notes...

3. My teacher
And then there's my teachers. They're pretty much dogmatic about their content (except for those really good few like Ms. Ong and Ms. Wang, who try to instil some appreciation of thought processes that help link ideas). My own Biology tutor, Ms. Yang... well, I wouldn't say she's bad, because she's really nice to print out notes and study guides to help us, but then I would say that I can't follow the way she teaches very well. She's one of the dogmatic teachers around, almost like Mrs. Foo. Hmmm... then again, on second thought, perhaps it's the nature of the content that makes the Biology course in Hwa Chong so dogmatic. So is it my teachers or is it the A level syllabus? Sigh. I wish I knew better.


Frankly speaking, I'd rather be working in the lab, learning the content that I need as I go along. It's just like what Mr. Steven Su, my Sec 3 Physics teacher, told us: What I teach you, it'll always be JIT -- Just In Time. I think when things are "Just In Time", it'll enter your brain better. I swear, when I teach my students something in future, it'll always be JIT.

Experiential learning. That fits me better. I'll probably not be able to succeed now... but mark my words, I swear that once I reach university, I'll pawn everybody else around. I'll succeed, someday, no matter what I get for my A levels.

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