We are concerned about our children. It’s possible that some of our children are not doing well in studies. Some of them are doing well, but we don’t know what to do with their careers. Maybe we have businesses, but we are not confident they’ll be able to take care of it. Lakh ke bara hazaar? They might take what we or our father built and ruin it completely. But what will we do? They are the ones we have to hand over our earnings. Our heritage. We want a solution. What could it be?
What are we teaching them?
Let’s start from school. They say a chain is as strong as it’s weakest link. Similarly, schools are as strong as their teachers. Even the best teachers are struggling to finish their syllabus.
It’s only recently that schools started increasing sports activities and physical activities and there is a continuous teacher improvement programme. Schools, if you’ve noticed have taken over a project based curriculum. That’s because there is a demand for experiential learning. Unfortunately, in the name of experiential learning we have projects and videos. Both are good, but is video good for concept understanding. And everyone knows who is doing those projects. Parents usually complete project assignment for their children because they don’t want to lose marks.
Is it possible for us as parents to forget marks and let the children learn on their own? Let them finish the projects, give them time to learn on their own?
Each child has his own learning technique. There are some experts in the market who will tell you that some children are visual, some are auditory and some are kinaesthetic i.e. experience based. But seriously do visual children never learn through experience? There is a way to learn everything. If I am teaching history then audio visual story telling will definitely be helpful. But if I have to make something like a drawing or do something physical like assemble a puzzle then it has to be taught kinaesthetically. Here teachers have to play the most important role. And that role is teaching the child to be self sufficient.
Fall in Line! May the Best Student Learn
Schools are however, teaching students obedience, discipline, and to do what they’ve been asked to do. These qualities are useful also. Patience is a virtue and students are learning that by sitting in uninteresting classrooms waiting for the bell to ring. The teachers are giving away information on the board every day in which they have become masters. Behind them are 3 students who are paying attention while the rest of the class is busy in various activities including finding out who can make the best paper rockets, a chalk throwing match, passing chits to people in the furthest corners of the class etc. Fortunately, if the teacher doesn’t find out about the commotion behind her back then she will give a brief explanation and homework. Unfortunately, if she finds out and it makes her angry then the students will have to learn the lesson themselves and do the homework. Either ways there is no time to make sure all in the class have understood what was being taught.
So there are students who have mastered the art of learning from the board and acing tests. These are the students who stand first in class and these students are the favorites of the teachers. The other students succeed in various degrees. Most of them will never talk to teachers throughout their school life. They will believe they are mediocre. Their belief will become stronger because sometimes teachers will make them the subject of their jokes.
Teachers are awarding marks and prizes to children acing assessments.
The assessments don’t allow you to be different. Although many schools claim to be focusing on understanding, students are still complaining that marks are cut when answers are not given according to a preset format. And I am talking about answers that are correct. What about questions that are open ended and can be different with different students. You know what? Nobody is asking them!
However, let me remind here that all is not gloomy for the students we call back benchers. Some of them will become powerful entrepreneurs.
Is it Possible for Weak Students to Excel in Life?
Well! The answer is not so simple, but to put it in layman’s language – these guys have been put down by everyone so many times that they’ve learnt to ignore the ‘you can’t do it’ crowd. They will become famous entrepreneurs and successful people. But these are exceptions to the rule. Most will become salaried employees who will always believe they are inadequate and not capable of great things.
This is one more way the system doesn’t allow you to grow. Why is that most success stories you hear are of people who either did not get education or dropped out? That is because those stories are fascinating. Nobody wants to know about stories where the protagonist studied a lot for good grades and carved out success for himself. These guys are all around you.
Ground Rules – Being Physically Fit
Even today when it comes to studies parents will ground students by stopping games. Physical and virtual.
Physical activity is as important as brain activity. There is enough evidence floating around the education research circles which show that a physically and mentally active child will perform better in life. According to study physical activities including games and sports help in absorbing nutrients and helps to improve cardiovascular health and build muscle strength.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services points out that regular physical activity for youth aged between 6 & 17 leads to healthy bones, Improves strength and endurance, Reduces stress and anxiety, Helps control weight/reduces the risk of obesity, Improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, Reduces feelings of depression, Boosts self-esteem and Promotes psychological well-being. All of these result in better concentration and attentiveness in class leading to better grades and positive attitude.
Are Video Games Bad?
Children who play video games also have shown exceptional brain activity. So keeping in mind the bad effects of gaming like exposure to violence and some times even sex. There are advantages to video games. The most obvious is exposure to technology. According to some experts playing video games enhances coordination, improves problem solving skills, enhances memory, improves thinking speed, enhances multi-tasking skills and in some cases helps improve social skills. Complex manual procedures like surgery, flying an aircraft or using heavy machinery comes easy to people who have played video games.
Today’s school curriculum has added physical activities and project based learning but schools are implementing them only to fulfill obligations not because they believe it’s true.
So what do we learn from this? Conclusion
There are some life skills that are needed to bring out the uniqueness of your child. Our children are not made of one single characteristic. So we should not be telling them to fit in. Look at that son of Sara aunty he is so good at studies or play etc. We should encourage them in the right direction. Let’s find out the most important life skills they need to be successful in life.