I have often wondered what is that holds back our education system ? Why our children are low on creativity & innovation? Research has recently proven that learning Sanskrit language enhances the grey cells in the brain & promotes better retention of facts & figures. If this be the truth why after years of our ancestors learning Sanskrit we are still unable to develop cutting edge technology?
The answers are a bit complex & will require detailed explanation. The problem lies at two points, the house hold of the learner & the School where this purpoted learning is being imparted.
Average House holds have the following general atmospherics :-
- The father is literate / semi – literate/ illiterate, earning for a living.
- The Mother is literate/semi- literate / illiterate working or handling house hold chores.
- The enrolment itself starts on a wrong note with the age of the ward being falsified to cater for unforeseen circumstances ( failures in class)
- The conversation in the house is to pass exams & get a job ( A Govt job is manna from heaven)
- Parents take pride in putting a child on display for guests visiting the house to show how smart the child is in rote learning/cramming by reciting poems etc from school curriculum.
- Tuitions are now a must as the school has abandoned responsibility of education.
- Majority of the households give a spin to the concept of Reservation & create negativity that unless the child is a topper there would be no jobs.
- Among students where Reservation is available as a guarantee , there is a crisis of confidence to excel & beat colleagues by securing better grades in academic pursuit, as the be all & end all of all aspiration is to get a job by means fair or foul.
The School has generally the following Eco-system:-
- Government aided schools are in a mess ,as the Infrastructure is archaic.
- Even the poorest of Parent desires to put his children in a private run English Medium school ( reality could be otherwise)
- Private schools made on subsidized Govt land have become mini empires with their own rites,rituals, process of enrollment , fee structure.
- Getting one’s ward into a decent school is a Herculean task & is energy sapping.
- Once the ward is enrolled in school , Parents themselves become achievers.
- Some schools are like cults, bowing ,scraping, subservience can lead to rewards like monitor badges, school appointments.
- Teaching ,Learning ,Innovating, Research & Development, Modification of Curriculum, Brainstorming,Out of the box thinking & Laughter are all casualties as teachers have to complete the syllabus with little scope of deviation from dictating notes & at times lack of imagination.
- Teaching is not among the highly paid jobs in the country.
- Most teachers are misfits as the process of hiring teachers lacks detailed scrutiny & rigour of selection.
To understand & learn a topic quickly these six questions may come in handy (Journalists often use these to narrate their story coherently) :-
Who are the Characters involved ( names,groups,party’s etc) ?
Where are the events unfolding ( location,places,geographical area) ?
What is happening ( event ,action,work)?
When is it occuring ( time frame ,dates,year ) ?
Why is it happening ( background information, reasons,causes) ?
How is it impacting ( importance, people,relevance,context) ?
It is a known fact that peer learning is the most effective way of teaching or learning, provided the peer who is imparting education or learning has a grip on the subject. For this a teacher pre-designates a topic or lesson to be prepared by the whole class. There is a law of normal distribution which manifests in more ways than one. In a class of say 50 students there will always be 07 or 08 who are brilliant ,sharp,quick on the uptake, who can comprehend & assimilate the topic given . The normal bell curve explaining this phenomenon looks like this :-
|——– 16%———–|———————– 68%————————|————–16%———|
( laggards/tail enders) ( mediocres / average students) ( toppers/ brilliant)
there would be 34 -35 students who are average students ,who may not be able to grasp the topic in its entirety but feign in the class that they have understood every aspect related to the topic. The tail enders , laggards comprise of 07 or 08 students who despite trying their best are struggling to cope with the topic, trying to understand its nuances.
The Teacher being a facilitator can organize the class in a syndicate or group set up with one brilliant student, five average students & one or two laggards. Thus creating seven to eight syndicates wherein the toppers are the communicators who discuss & explain the concept to everyone in their syndicate or group. The teacher goes around monitoring , observing each group from close quarters & as a sample, checks with the weakest student whether the concept has been undertood or otherwise. Notes for the topic are kept as pre- arranged photocopies,tagged books,CD,Pen drive for the class to carry after the lesson is over. To begin with this can commence in class rooms once a week & then the frequency can be increased. This would be effective from Class 8 onwards, depending on degree of difficulty of the topic / lesson.
This method will have some immediate spin offs:-
- Learning would be faster & better.
- Learning will become fun and a game ( because in some other subject, some one else will become the leader of the syndicate)
- The shy studious type, intelligent but reticent will open up & speak, as he/she will have to explain the topic to his/her peers /colleagues.
- Students will come better prepared as they may not want to be found wanting in front of their colleagues.
- The average students & tail enders will learn to catch up.
- Teacher will become a facilitator taking the students on a journey of self discovery.
More on how Creativity & Innovation can be initiated in students in my next blog