Acharya Devo Bhava

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(Teacher is God: Indian philosophy)

The other day, I was talking to class 5 students about their aim in life. “Is there anybody who wants to be a teacher?” Nobody raised hand except one girl. “Why?” I asked, “Why nobody wants to be a teacher?” and the reply was “Ma’am when students don’t perform well, parents blame the teachers.” I was astonished. I heard other teachers and some people saying this type of things, but never expected this from young students of class 5.

“Does it mean that no one should become a teacher?”. “No !” they answered. “How the children will study if this happens?”. I said, “If most of the children think in this way,I’m sure it is going to happen some day.”

There was a complete silence in the classroom. Some of them started looking at each other. Others sat quietly, looking confused. I asked them to think about it later and tell their views later. No wonder, my question still remains unanswered.

Why is this blame game going on? If a teacher has to do her duty honestly with 100% dedication, she has to do her homework before entering the class and after coming out of the class as well. This cannot happen if the whole society doesn’t cooperate with teachers. Is our society provide her proper atmosphere where she can work to build the future of ‘present society’?

Very few people have a little idea about the stress being faced by teachers every moment. When a student perform well, everyone says “Oh! wonderful child, how hard s/he has worked!” but if things go the other way round they’ll say “Nowadays, we don’t have good teachers. Students can’t be so bad after all!” Does it mean that soon good teachers are going to be extinct ?

Feciliate, Motivate, Nurture

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Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of genius of each”         – Plato

Read these words carefully and think. Are we doing justice to our children ? Are we handling them with care? Answer these questions honestly if you are a parent, teacher or anybody who deals with children.

Can we force a plant to grow? We can only provide the basic requirements and wait patiently. Why can’t we behave with children in the same way? Being a teacher, I meet parents at regular intervals. Many of them are not at all satisfied with their children’s performance. Very often I hear this type of statements, “Everybody in our family is well educated. What’s wrong with my child?” or “I teach her maths for 2 hours daily, still she is not performing well.”

After an experience of so many years in this field, I can firmly say that making the child sit for long hours doing the same subject doesn’t help at all. It creates boredom and the child starts hating that subject. Instead of forcing the child, create a learning atmosphere. Reading bedtime stories to them every day when they are very young, will encourage them to read.

Set your own example by following a proper routine. Fix “study time” for yourself and follow it strictly. You may read newspapers, magazines or books in your study time. See that study area is free from distraction causing elements like TV, phone etc. In this way, when your child will start going to school, she/he will not face much problem when asked to follow the same routine.

Whenever you make a purchase for daily needs, ask the child to calculate the expenses (according to his level). This will help him in mathematics. Parents with more than one child should not think that same teaching method with work for all of them. If the elder one can study comfortably in afternoon hours, the younger one may do the same in the evening hours. Let them have this choice and help them to learn in their own way. It’s a slow and continuous process. Don’t expect immediate results

Make your children sensitive not touchey

A sensitive person thinks deeply about himself as well as others. Such a person always feels empathy for others and is always ready to help those who are in need. But if you are a touchy person, you are oversensitive. Touchy people are not emotionally strong. What about our children? Are we making them emotionally strong or touchy? If we try to fulfil all their demands without making them understand that nobody gets everything in life; how will they face challenges of life.

Most of the parents don’t know the difference between sensitive and touchy, If your child is never happy with anything, throws tantrums to seek attention and always blames others for her/his problems, you need to be extra careful. But this doesn’t mean that all the time you need to scold them. This can worsen the situation. Follow the example a doctor who is a well-wisher of his patient. The doctors have to be sensitive as well as firm otherwise, they perform the surgery if required?

Parents and teachers need to converse with the children time to time regarding life skills so that they become so strong emotionally to accept their mistakes without feeling, bad and also they don’t get easily hurt by criticism. Here, acceptance doesn’t mean that our emotions should be suppressed. Suppressed emotions are dangerous. They need to be tackled in a proper way, by being aware of them. Feelings and views need to be shared with family members, friends and people who are very close. Listen to your children, converse with them but be firm while taking decisions. Tell them the reason why is it necessary to do so.

I’m sure by following these simple tips we’ll help our children to learn to be sensitive about others but firm about themselves.

How to enhance positive thinking among children?

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The first step to work towards this target,”Enhancing positive thinking among children” is that we, the grown-ups have to introspect ourselves. As I shared my views regarding this topic in my previous blog, we cannot motivate or encourage the children unless we feel so. Next thing is to take care of physical needs of our children. A child who eats well at a proper time; sleeps well and exercise regularly will definitely feel happy most of the time. If proper routine of eating and sleeping is followed in early years, it becomes a habit plays an important role in making them think positively.

A child who eats well at a proper time; sleeps well and exercise regularly will definitely feel happy most of the time. If proper routine of eating and sleeping is followed in early years, it becomes a habit which plays an important role in making them think positively.

All parents should make it a daily ritual to be thankful for everything before going to bed. Even if some bad things happened, be thankful for them as they’ll make you stronger. Let there be at least half an hour as “silence time” for the whole family. This practice will lead to meditation after some time and everybody who meditates regularly feels peaceful and calm most of the time.

Be careful about the types of books you are reading, the TV channels you are watching when your children are with you. Watch information programs and visit museums, historic places whenever possible.

When the children are very young(3-5 yrs), they can be involved in “house play” or other games which can help them understand their responsibility towards housekeeping. Praise them for their small achievements. Don’t hesitate to hug them often even if you feel that they have now grown up.Listen to them patiently when they share their experience with you. Praise them when they admit their mistakes.

Whenever they feel their performance not up to the mark in studies or sports, ask them to compete with themselves instead of competing with others. See that there should be no negative self-talk at all. Instead of saying “I’ll not be able to improve in studies”, it’s better to say, “This time I’ll plan my work in better way to improve” or “I tried, but I’ll try harder now”. Ask the child what type of help he/she needs from you instead of getting angry.

By following these tips, each one of us can make our children good human beings and better citizens in future.

 

Help your children think positively

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All the parents and teachers are trying their best to inculcate positive thinking among children. They talk to them about it, they ask them to read good books and give them the examples from the lives of great personalities who struggled and achieved success. Well, I think that before we do all these things, let’s have a look at our own personalities and the way we are living. Are we positive thinkers? How do we react when we return home after spending the whole day which was full of troubles and problems? Do we talk about only the bad things that happened or only those things which made us happy?

If we answer these questions honestly, we’ll come to know whether we are positive thinkers or negative? If we the grown-ups, parents or teachers don’t think positively, how can we encourage our children to think positively? I’m not saying that we should not share our problems at all. We can talk about them as if they are opportunities to get success.

If some extra work is assigned to you at a workplace, take it as a challenge. Share it with your family members in such a way as if you are getting a promotion! Tell everybody that you are getting a chance to prove that you can handle much more work than that which you were doing previously. Believe me, this type of conversation will leave a great impact on your children.

Sometimes you have to work with such people who are short-tempered or egoist. You can’t avoid them. Don’t criticise them at home. Talk about them as if you feel sympathy for them. Such people are really unfortunate because we don’t know the circumstances they have faced in their lives and that’s why their behaviour is not appropriate.

A child spends more than 70% of his time at home. If we create positive atmosphere at home by bringing small and continuous changes in our own behaviour and thought process, I’m sure our children will face their problems in better ways instead of feeling depressed.

Stress Management in classroom

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There is no one in this world whose life is stress-free. But people who take the stress as a challenge, remain happy even when the circumstances are not favourable. Can we make our teaching learning process such that our students learn to face the challenges without getting stressed? We, the teachers can play a very important role in making the classroom stress free or at least, reduce it to some extent.

Teachers and students can have fun in the classrooms. Usually, it happens that in a class, before a teacher enters, students talk, smile and laugh. But as soon as the teacher enters, most of them look tense and their face expression changes. Can learning take place if they feel burdened and unhappy most of the time? If we have a little humour in our classrooms, definitely it will stimulate learning.

We can start it by laughing at ourselves. In this way, students will be able to experience fun without hurting others’ emotions. In recent times, teachers are attending so many training programmes and seminars to update themselves and to apply new methods of teaching so that holistic development of each child takes place. But very few people talk about how humour can be included during the lessons. If a teacher starts the lesson with a good joke every day, the student will wait for such teacher with a great enthusiasm.

Some physical activity can also be done for a few minutes so that they come out of their chairs and get rid of boredom. Some children are introvert and hesitate to come up with their problems. If they are allowed to sit in groups and discuss the problems with each other, it will be a great help for them.

No one can avoid stress. It will be there throughout life. But by changing the atmosphere of the classroom whenever possible, we can help our children to learn how to manage it.

Why do children hate mathematics ?

Not only children but many grown ups around you will tell about the nightmares they had before mathematics exam in school days. How they wished, they had a choice to study some other subject in place of maths. The question arises, why so many people hated mathematics at primary and middle class levels?

Now-a-days, there is a great emphasis on relating the study on relating the study of different subjects with day to day life. But as far as maths is concerned, first thing that comes to our mind is numbers and basic operations. Shapes, measurement, time and other topics are given a very little importance. Well, let’s have a look the way numbers are introduced to a child who has just entered the school. To make child familiar with number “one” by telling “This is one pencil” or “This is one bird” etc. The child know objects well but what about the number “one” ? Moreover, the overenthusiastic parents make them cram the counting from one to ten. Does it looks like that the child will take any interest in numbers? The very beginning of the learning is wrong. Wouldn’t it be better idea if along with “one” , “many” is also introduced by showing concrete objects to the child?

Remember how much you loved stories when you were in class 1 or 2? Children love to study English, Hindi and even social science because they find stories in these subjects. Even in science, they find interesting activities. But mathematics, no fun at all! Each child learns in a different way, but all of them are taught using same methods. In my opinion, teachers need to identify the skills to be developed in the students and plan their lessons accordingly. The content has to be according to the age group also. So called “good publishers” add so much unnecessary content in their books that makes children lose interest in the subject.

Too much of drilling also doesn’t help. Including some challenging tasks and activities in the lesson plans will definitely build the interest. At pre-primary and primary level, the basic concepts should be introduced through stories, poems and hands on experience. Once in a while, let them sit in groups and guide them to help each other and learn from each other. I’m sure that these efforts will make the child feel comfortable while s/he studies maths and will be no more afraid of it.

Is change required in our education system?

Before independence, education system in India had a purpose to impart little knowledge to the young generation so that they are able to work as clerks, attendants etc. British rulers didn’t want their skills to develop otherwise they wouldn’t be able to rule over them.

It’s a pity that in spite of so many efforts to bring the changes, we are still following the same system where the students are memorizing the facts, writing in the exams and completing their “education”. Very little stress is laid on habit formation, developing the skills, inculcating values and many other things which help an individual to lead a meaningful life.

Why ??? If you talk to the teacher’s, they’ll tell you so many reasons like, “Our examination system is based on this type of system only”,”If we don’t don’t teach like this, how will a student be able to write the answers while writing their exams?”,      “Infrastructure of our school is inadequate”,”Teacher student ratio is inappropriate”, etc. etc. Very true !! Most of the government schools as well as private schools are facing these problems. But the main reason behind this “cramming based” system is that the teachers themselves have received this type of education only. Even the teacher training programs (B.Ed, M.Ed, NTT etc) are also imparting bookish knowledge only. Ask any teacher about how their B.Ed or other degrees helped them in their work, they’ll tell you that the actual learning took place when they started working. Not only in the profession of teaching, this is true in almost all the fields.

If a child enjoys art, music or sports and is passionate about it, his/her elders discourage them by saying “Why are you wasting your time in these things? you should study maths, science and other subjects which will help you to pass the exams and earn money in future”. Students are forced to do all those things which they don’t like and enjoy. After all this, we blame them for not performing their duties properly.

Dear youngsters, don’t wait for the change to happen, make it happen. Come forward and become a part of this revolution which is the need of the hour

Where is the bookish knowledge leading us to?

Have a look at our education system. So much content is there for reading, writing and learning. What about hands on experience?

A student of class 2 knows how many centimetres are there in a metre, how many metres are there in a kilometre etc. etc. ……… But if you ask, “What is the length of your shoe lace?” or “What is the length of your mother’s dupatta?”, most of the children wouldn’t be able to answer.

Reason? The child has never used a ruler or a measuring tape to measure anything. For teaching them addition, subtraction and other operations also, lot of written work is done but nobody gives them concrete things such as pebbles, twings to experience learning by doing. In other subjects also too much stress is laid on cramming rather than activities which involve observation, discussion, exploring the things in their surroundings.

No wonder, in higher classes also many students are not able to understand the concepts which they learned in lower classes. As a result the child starts losing interest.

When these things are discussed with teachers and parents, most of them agree that we need to change the system. But who is going to make this change? What stops us from bringing the changes? Why do we resist the change? Are we scared? Do we think that there will be some negative effect on children? But how well come to know unless we try?

If some teachers and schools come up with a different system, some of the other members of society don’t like it because they think that the children will lag behind in this world of cut throat competitions. But the fact is that this is not true.

Teachers and parents together have to step forward to bring this change and then only our children will become good citizens of society.

Indian Education System

Why do we need to be educated ???

To draw out best from our natural abilities, to develop our skills, to become a better person etc,etc ……

Now have a look at any 3 years old child who has just started going to school. She carries a bag with notebooks, books and other things. Look at her tender fingers. Can she eat her food on her own? In most cases, NO.

Can she dress up herself? Well, anyone can answer this question. If she’s not able to perform these tasks on her own, are we doing justice with her by making her write in the notebooks? The fingers that cannot break a piece of “chapati”, are forced to hold a pencil and WRITE.

what skill is being developed? When she is not able to write, her parents scolds her. She starts focusing on her inability rather than abilities. Do you think she’s going to become a responsible citizen when she grows up ? Is the purpose of education being fulfilled?

To be continued……