October 03, 2017
"I pay them through my nose."
"I send my kids to this school so that they make my kid learn faster and better!"
"Why hasn't my child learnt to write alphabets or numerals yet?"
"Schools are responsible for my child's education!"
Parents (and all those who hang around parents with kids) have heard these statements quite often. The expectations of parents with schools is ever rising and they believe that the schools are responsible for every learning outcome of their children. After-all, that is why we have been sending kids to the school. If, magically, someone else was responsible, we would have enrolled our kids there (for e.g. Engineering entrance examination gurus/coachings etc.)
But isn't the question a bit unfair on the schools? Forget the blame-game, is it right for the parents to leave biggest investment of their lives to a third-party institution?
Let us peel-the-onion a bit!
Question: Where does a child spend most of his / her time?
Answer: 6-7 hours in school and remaining 17-18 hours at home. So approximately 3/4 of the time at home.
Dear parent - remember the argument you gave to your boss yesterday. Oh! I spent only a few hours on this report, so the output is quite limited"
Well, shouldn't the same reasoning apply to a child's learning. Home and its environment is a major contributing factor towards learning. Our children talk, laugh, cry, throw tantrums (and sleep, phew) at home a lot and each of these moments are true learning moments. It is these moments of interaction with us and our family members that shape the character of a child.
Let us peel-the-onion once again.
Question: How much interaction does a child have with a teacher?
Answer: 30 - 60 mins depending on the duration the class. So a particular teacher (unless repeating classes) spends only limited time with our kids. Remaining time is spent with parents, family and other kids who are friends (or not friends - i.e. the bullies on the cricket ground). All these social interactions with other people (apart from the teacher) shapes the learning of our children. Some example for our consideration:
Team building skills - on the cricket ground
Emotional resilience - when the child loses the match even after hard work
Negotiation skills - when the captain thinks I should bowl, but I think someone else should.
Critical Thinking - remember the chess game!
Entreprenuership Skills - well, as a team we don't have enough pocket money to buy a new basket ball, so lets figure out a way to raise money so that we can continue our game.
So whats the point? Should we not hold schools responsible?
Hell, no! We should hold the schools responsible for sure! After all they are the professionals who are helping in the cause of education for kids.
But we as parents need to do more!
First, we need to take back the charge for learning of our children (rather than outsource it to schools). Remember it is our kids learning - so we are responsible.
Second, we need to understand the difference between what is taught in schools (primarily academic subjects) and what is actually required for overall development of our children (which is skills like problem solving, creativity, leadership etc.)
Third, we need a plan! We need to bridge the gap between what the schools are able to cover and what we need our children to learn. We need to find and search activities for our children to get them involved in something apart from academic studies. We need to encourage them to do something different. We need to ask them do find their passion (Dear parent, let us be honest ! - Physics wasn't your passion exactly).
Fourth, we need to let them enjoy their childhood. Let them be #happyclappingkids.