Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rise and Shine Child,Rise Rise and only Rise!

We have interesting conversations in our coffee meets and at the end of it, I always bring back happy feelings and of course thoughts to ponder.

Why do we send our children to school? I know for sure and you know as well. Being highly educated and a Harvard drop out(Sigh! - long story), I do believe I go into school for knowledge, social interaction, and some fun time in learning. Yes, learning has to be fun.

To make it clear, I am talking about pre-primary, primary, middle and high school. Going to school has always been about studies, more studies and more studies and more competition and more competition. Well, thats how I spent my childhood days. But what did I learn at the end of school. All I rememered was I did memorize and mugged (studying without passion). That's my childhood, but of course as I grew up, studying things further of not my interest, I did do well etc.

But ask me about history, about my physics, about my chemistry, about my math. I would blink. Huh, i dont know,all I know is I remember studying that. Ya, ya, over time, doing a masters, dropping out of it, working, all fell in place, because I made a secondary effort to relearn many things with conceptualization. I was mature. But learning could have been fun! I realized this when I went to Harvard.

Now I feel, after pondering again, on school systems I am more mature, to understand, to give enough time to my child, to teach 1 or 2 or many more than what he does in school. I am not afraid to let my child go against, I am not afraid to teach my child something which is different. 1+2 = 3 always, but there is more that in life. Correct, I think you get my point, addition always gives you more.

Again, there is another phase which gets always passed on to me, too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. Well, I think it at the end of your life, it gives you immense fulfillment to know you experiment, innovative and learn.

Back to bras-trax. Does dictation tests tell you how bright you are. Yes of course, it tell you the knowledge you have. (what rubbish!!!) Child you HAVE to show the knowledge you have. If you know it, answer it. Day 1: 10/10, DAy2: 10/10, Day 3: 8/10, Day 4: 7/10, Day 5: 10/10, Day6: 10/10. Child, you knew the answer " WHY DID YPU NOT WRITE IT" THAT'S NOT DONE". (what rubbish).

You see patterns in scoring change. Let me tell you an analysis. My son is probably crazy about numbers and he loves reading, can read huge words with much ease. But really, that is his skill, he learned the "techniques" from school and home. Fantastic. But he scores 10/10 some days, he scores 7/10 some days, he scores, 9/10 some days and even 6/10 some days. But he knows his stuff? Yes he does, read further.

So those marks really matter to knowledge? Marks matter yes as you grow, helps you analyse yourself and focus on weaker and get to admission and fame and name. All that is fine, but he is a day dreamer. When asked, how come you forgot and missed a word. He tells me " Mummy, i was thinking". By the way, I believe he started to day dream on the depth of the word. The word was "come", which he missed, but he said, he was trying to make sentences on that word and was telling me all those little details of his little dream. So much fun, right?

Now hold on, he was thinking something, he was dreaming of making sentences. Such a beautiful phenomenon, isn't it. I am convinced children are the innovators or tomorrow!

Now, he is a child and all children are, really :). They dream, they think, they conquer their own minds. I stopped then, to not say further. Sid, you shine!. You knew the word, but was dreaming about it :). And we laughed. But I guess he knew about the 7/10. I did not tell him 10/10 is the best. Why? Because he was fine, happy and he was dreaming and conquered something more. I call this giving my children incentive to grow on their own. I was also happy to hear one of the teachers telling a parent, we are not worried about the marks the children get, as long as they are learning.

Yes I do see some change in the Indian education system, but the system has to grow more, parents, teachers, children all have to work together to enhance and nurture the child to innovate, think, motivate themselves, not forced motivation (Which means more stress on all and more on the child, which reduced the absorption capacity). I hope as my children grow older, and get more time I can be one among many to bring positive changes to the education and knowledge base.


Lori said...

You are very wise, Archana. I don't know how I'll react when Ananya starts getting grades. I have also been raised to value grades as the ultimate measure of studies. It's hard to see beyond that.

Alka said...

I can write pages on this
As you might be knowing we just shifted to a Developed City from a DEVELOPING town and though my kid secured highest marks for 3 consecutive years ,awarded best student of the year in his previous school, he is finding it hard to cope up in his new school as the change of BOARD(from ssc to ICSE) means a huge change in curriculum and way of teaching.The methods used here are way too different form his previous school,and this is driving him insane.Just other day he cried buckets, just because he got 2 stars in his maths test while some kids scored 4,and he was furious at himself for not doing well.Though from our point of view he is learning much more and in much better way and coping wonderfully,but the grades and remarks(good/vgood,instead of excellent) depresses him...and all this when he is just 7 years old..phew..i spoke to him for almost 2 hours, making him understand that his parents never scored that much when they were kids and we are still doing fine in our lives and about how the grades doesn't matter much...but poor boy is so depressed ,he asked me to hide all his games and toys, so that he could concentrate on his studies and i was shocked to hear that.I don't know how such things comes in kid's mind though we never judge knowledge with grades or marks.Hope things will be fine soon.Just couldn't stop myself to pour my heart out here...feeling good reading all this and sharing my woes with you.
Keep this stuff coming, i thoroughly enjoy such reads :-)

Archana Doshi said...

Lori - You consider me wise, thank you.

Alka I completely understand your thoughts here. Now, I dont want to mention that good grades are not good. They are important to show where we stand. Now your child wants to work hard - very nice, he cries to show he is not happy- very nice. All good emotions towards positive development. He want to prove himself - that's fantastic. Alka, if you think the other way, you probably want your kids to grow better than you, and also achieve more than you or atleast that's what we are working to achieve, for our children to be better than us, etc etc. You direct then and encourage them, with positive reinforcements, that yes he can cope better in his ICSE and it does require hard work and of course willing to support him. Moving from State to ICSE is not easy. So I would think you play a pivotal role in helping him attain his goal. He has his goals right, don't stop him! But low grades does not mean that he has less knowledge, it does not mean anything at all. Grades just show you the path you are strong in, show you there are better paths other than traditional paths which you can capitalize on. Thanks for writing in Alka, we together have opened our minds and feel positive energies flowing in.

Unknown said...

Very well written Archana. I too think kids should not be under pressure to perform well all the time. They are just kids as you said. I find traditional education system quite outdated in today's age and time. They should be encourged to out of box thinking and not just cram up everything.I don't say grades are not important at all but grades are not the only thing we should worry about. Both me and Rahul would love to see our kids opt for some other profession apart from regular stuff. But then again, I want them to do what they want and not what we want.For me the most important thing is they should be happy in life and not stressed out.

Jandy said...

great to hear parents nowadays (atleast the 3-4 writing here) so open about learning.
i'm not hung up on the grading system either. but it's the only system our kids have in this country, i guess. and they need to work WITHIN this system, the traditional grading system, to get to go anywhere and make anything of their lives. it's harsh, but true.
i would love to see my son go on to become a rock star, or a photographer, but 1 in a million make it, and he has only his grades, his learning to fall back on to make his living, right? so i look on his education as a safety net.. keep it with you, and go ahead, kid, and do whatever ELSE you want to after that.

Archana Doshi said...

Grades are important. There are two facets to a grade and a child1. One the child is unable to cope and needs help and due to which he gets low grades. Now child1 needs help, positive encouragement to learn and do better and make learning fun. Another, you know a child2 is bright, knows his stuff, does his work and does all the right things and the grades are average. Now pushing this child2 more and more so he gets better grades, because grades is "be all and end all". Yes encourage to get better, but being fanatical about just that is probably not the right thing.

single40grey said...

hi archana!
ure topic is dear to my heart as well as my head!
but its a deep deep deep mind set that needs to change first...and the sad thing is that although its changing ( as you can see from the people who comment on your post), for many others its still at a supeficial level- grades and marks still do matter. who cares if the concept is a blur!! the 'dont undertsand it, mug it' mentalitiy is still very much there. ask me. my kids just finished his first term exams and the mums brigade has been at it...:). sometimes, we are the ones to blame.