Thoughts for My People

Correcting the-one-and-only-correct-answer mentality

When you are/were in school, are/were you taught there is only one correct answer?


If yes, who decides what is the one correct answer to each question you were asked?

And if no, are/were you taught to look for any one of the answers accepted as being correct, any one of the paths to any one of the answers accepted as being correct, or any answer(s) that you accept as being correct, provided that you show the path in your reasoning?


Maybe your answer to my question depends on the subject that comes to your mind – maybe it would not be the same for, say, philosophy as opposed to physics.

Maybe it depends on the teacher and/or whoever evaluates your answers – maybe it would vary with the degree to which they value the process in comparison to the final product.

Maybe it depends on the schooling period – maybe it would change from preschool and primary years when you are taught basic and general ideas broadly, to secondary years and beyond when you are taught more complex and specific ideas in detail.


Or maybe it even depends on your family and/or cultural background – maybe it would be different for those who come from a patriarchal family or a homogeneous culture and those who come from a family of autonomous individuals or a mosaic or melting-pot culture.


These are just a few “maybe’s” I came up with when I tried to answer my own question (I am sure there are many more)… and realized that, at least for me, there is no one correct answer for it! And I seem to have a strong preference for exploring as many acceptable answers and the paths to them before I conclude the search for my answer.


Maybe I have come to think in this way because I was given additional points for finding as many paths to as many acceptable answers as I could when I was in school – maybe I would be thinking in a very different way if I were deducted points for not reproducing the same one answer that everybody else says is correct.


The OECD released today the results of their latest global education survey (Programme for International Student Assessment; PISA). I have not read through it thoroughly yet, but my homeland continues to perform well on science and mathematics but struggle to improve on reading.


I do not necessarily believe that such global rankings should define the way we reform our education system – just as with individual traits, I think there are certain national characteristics which allow stronger performance in certain areas than others, and there are no one correct answer that can be deduced.


In fact, I think there are at least two acceptable paths we can choose to take – to further better what we are good at, or to seek to raise the level of what we are not good at. And I am sure we can find many acceptable answers down each of these paths. I hope that our education system will be able to give additional learning experience to our students by finding as many possibilities for them as we could, and not deduct their future options by assuming that simply reproducing the same results that the top rankers of this survey have produced will do.




This piece of tatting, made in two rounds, can be done in one pass using the split-chain technique to climb out from one round to the next, or cut and tie at the end of each round if you choose not to use this technique or wish to change colours… maybe the existence of many acceptable answers in tatting makes me have strong preference for it!


One thought on “Correcting the-one-and-only-correct-answer mentality

  1. Pattern: “Sixth Day of December” by L.B.
    Thread: Daruma lace thread by Yokota (cotton lace thread, size #80, colour #8 – dark turquoise)
    Size: about 5 centimetres or slightly less than 2 inches


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