How can we improve classroom education and encourage learning in kids?
Children love to play, but I have rarely met kids who say that they love studying. Even the small number who enjoy it, do not like it more than some other hobby. What are the basic differences between the premises of playing, watching television, drawing or even reading story books and studying? What makes everything else so interesting over studying?
One, any other activity does not come with the excess baggage of parental expectations. You do not expect your child to be the fastest story book reader or the finest artist the world has ever produced. But you do want her grades to be higher than that of everyone in the classroom, especially more than your colleague's children. Is it not so?
Two, the manner and environment in which children are forced to acquire knowledge in a classroom is another reason that causes kids to loathe studying. Imagine sitting in the same location throughout the day, for many months together, and having to listen to other people talk about a variety of things. Would you like to do so? I guess not. Then why should your kids?
I believe (and you may agree or disagree) it is unjust to place the burden of fulfilling your shortcomings or ambitions on your kids. If you were not successful in doing something, it is yours to bear. Your child is not a machine to satisfy your ego. In fact I don’t understand why is it so hard for us to just let our kids be the way they are. I remember not scoring a 90-something for most of my education life, but this was never something that concerned my parents as they believed I was scoring according to my potential. I think it is high time that you let your kids pursue their interests and wishes. After all, you as a parent, always intend to do things for your children’s happiness. Why not do so where it matters most? If they are interested in becoming a doctor, they will become one. If they are not, they might do more harm to society than good.
The topic of classroom education has disturbed me since I was a student myself. I never enjoyed classroom education or the flow of information from one person in a monotonous way. A classroom can definitely be made more interesting. I have always believed that every classroom should behave like a small organisation, with the teacher as the Chief Executive and students playing important and useful roles. It should be left to the creativity of the teacher and the students as to how they wish the classroom structure to be. Learning should also happen in a fairly comfortable and relaxed environment. A student scoring lower marks should never be compared to one scoring more. There should not be a culture of punishments, but that of rewards. Teachers should not focus on punishing weaker students or those who do not follow instructions but rather reward those who do as asked and perform well in class. There should be an effort to make lessons interesting as well as letting students take up the role of a teacher on a regular basis. It drives their interest towards learning and creates a positive environment – both much needed for real education to take place.
I think we can do a lot to make learning and studying more interesting and the onus is on today’s parents and educators. Countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia and others have a demographic dividend that they is extremely proud of and hope to encash in the future, but will it really happen at the level of thinking that we have today as parents and as educators?