Give leeway to teen errors


  • Letters
  • Saturday, 11 Nov 2017

I READ with interest the repartee “Mistakes can be made but be accountable too”. This is a peculiar assessment of my letter. I called for accountability in my letter – I suggested three points deduction as a weightage for fairness and as a method to balance human nature and the human future.

And, what I called for in the letter was about reflecting the context, intention, future and emotion with the errors made by our 17-year-olds in the SPM 2017 English. I called for fairness and justness in deciding a 17-year-old’s future.

Additionally, mistakes do take place every single day despite our insistence for accountability. Doctors unintentionally kill patients every day due to their errors, drivers ram their vehicles onto others also due to their errors and our 17-year-olds might have made errors by not perusing the phrase “another part of Malaysia” while completing their recent SPM 2017 English paper.

What differentiates these errors and our demand for accountability are the subjectivity of the intention. If doctors are accountable for errors they make every day – there will be no doctors left in our hospitals and clinics. We also learn to differentiate the severity of errors and in some cases the outcomes of the errors. We, as a society, don’t arrest doctors for failing to inform the side effects of medicine that might or might not lead to death.

Adults like “a concerned parent” called upon students to own up to their mistakes because life demands accountability. He ignores the fact that life too offers leeway. It is because of these leeways that many adults today including our English teachers are in their current positions despite the errors they have made in life.

Telling 17-year-olds to own up to their errors is not about teaching them about life – it is about ignoring the leeways that were provided for today’s adults.

In reading, multiple errors could take place due to nurture and nature – these include semantic errors and skipped words error.

You can choose to own up like you suggested or you can recognise errors happen. What I called for was about recognising human nature and the human future. That might escape some wise adults who have enjoyed the many leeways provided to them for their errors.

A WORRIED MALAYSIAN

Penang

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