All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl
Does good education mean a huge number of prescribed books? Does it mean long hours at school? Does it mean home-work and projects more aimed at the parents rather than the child? Does it also mean students carrying heavy loads on their backs as if to say that learning is directly proportional to bag weight? Heavier the bag, greater the learning!!
This is the current scenario in most schools in our country. Children are so heavily burdened with the syllabus and requirements from the school that it has sucked the joy out of learning. And to add to it –parental expectations and pressure. Parents who are educated can support the child to some extent, but what should parents who aren’t well-equipped do?Here enters the leech of the education systemtuition. Concepts are taught for short-term memory. It simply vapourises from the minds of the students. All subjects are dumped onto the child. Children are not able to grapple with the immense load of the syllabus. A child has been reduced to a machine where in teachers feed to the greatest possible limit and expect and excellent outcomes. Who is responsible for the rotting away of this system? We can’t blame the teachers. They are expected to complete the syllabus and also fulfill all their duties alloted by the school.Many teachers have to work under immense stress conditions. Is it the School Leader who should be held responsible for making lives of students miserable or is it the respective School Boards? I think it is the combination of both. Most schools are robbing children of their childhood,leaving them almost no time to play.There is over-emphasis on theoretical and academic studies in schools. Society too is indifferent to the importance of play in a child’s life.
We are raising adults who are likely to be unhealthy both physically, mentally and socially and ones with limited problem solving skills. To raise independent creative thinkers educators need to change their approach to the teaching-learning process.It is time to concentrate on the learning objectives rather than the number of chapters completed,on knowledge construction rather than information,from teaching to facilitating.As Margaret Mead has rightly said “Children must be taught how to think,not what to think.” In my opinion,if educators understand what are the learning objectives at every age level,am sure they will be able to make a difference in the lives of their students.It is not the completion of the entire text book of every subject but the acquisition of life skills that is going to take our children a long way. I quote Ravindranath Tagore “The highest education is that which does not give us merely information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” School leaders need to play a vital role in this understanding.They also need to give freedom to teachers to concentrate on a small syllabus so that the teachers can do justice to what a child should achieve at each class.Various School Boards urgently need to re-wire. And we as parents need to make a conscious effort to create time for our children to play and just be themselves. For children play is serious business and lot of life learning comes through play! Einstein was way ahead of his time when he said “ Play is the highest form of research.” We can only hope that better sense prevails within the governing bodies and authorities and on our part we can contribute our bit as educators and parents to help improve the learning process of our children.
Ms.Mrunal Raiborde Headmistress Vanita Vishram Primary School Mumbai 12th April 2019.