The missing roll number
There is a need to re-look at the education system that has become boring
Photo: S. Subramanium
Teaching it right Developing children’s intellectual abilities
How important is the home factor and parental attitude in their young lives? Do they fail because teachers fail to understand the meaning of child’s answers and see it merely as right or wrong?
Are these children aware that the school measures only a part of their intelligence? What happens to their self-esteem?
Children fail because they are afraid, bored and confused. They are afraid of failing, disappointing the anxious parents, whose limitless expectations hang over their heads like dark ominous clouds ready to burst with a thunder clap.
They are bored because most often, the school asks them to do trivial, dull and stereotyped things, that instead of making any demands on their mental faculties, limits and inhibits their creativity. They are confused because often they do not relate to what is being taught in school. Teachers do not understand the meaning of a student’s answers and they merely see it as right or wrong.
Discipline, hard work, determination, perseverance, focus, motivation – these words have become synonymous with school education in our present system. Parents have always been concerned with the education of their child but in today’s world of competition, shallow relationships, narrow view-points and small families, their natural concern reaches high level of anxiety if the child does not perform to their expectation. And this anxiety becomes more pronounced if they have a special–need child. The question teachers and parents should ask themselves is why does a child remain an under-achiever academically?
The answer is simple. The skills and attitudes that form the very foundation on which IQ is constructed are never taught in schools. What is taught in the confines of the class-room is not relevant to the outside world.
Their cognitive deficits are not identified. The tools of learning and thinking which are pre-requisite for successful functioning in the academic curriculum are not provided.
The teacher does not act as an instructor or a mediator but resorts to teaching as informing. He teaches the child what to learn but not how to learn. We abuse children with labels: slow learners, backward, mentally challenged, learning disabled, hyper-active, emotionally disturbed and so on.
On one hand, parents are relieved that the problem is diagnosed, but on the other hand, it restricts their growth. Diagnosis is like a barbed-wire fence where children with labels get stuck. Many educators believe such children be assigned un-demanding tasks. But has anyone thought what would happen if they are challenged with complex intellectual problems? The learning–teaching performance needs to be organised so that the child develops higher order thinking skills, behaviour management and adjustment.
Aim of education
The aim of education should be to develop children’s intellectual abilities to improve their thinking, problem solving and verbal skills and to help them to learn — how to learn. This aim becomes all the more important since academic failure itself can have a liming effect on mental growth. True, education is teaching them abstraction, curiosity and appreciation. The subject matter of course is merely a vehicle for achieving these educational goals but the irony is that all too often, the subject matter becomes an end in itself.
Send this article to Friends by