Thursday, December 24, 2009

That's the spirit!

Just had to write about this. Children in a small village had to travel a distance of 13 Kms. to reach school. Their parents had engaged an auto but when the auto driver passed away the parents felt that the children had to discontinue their studies. But the children were adamant that they would go to school no matter what.

Seeing their steely resolve the parents of one of the child gave them a horse cart and now they go to school on a horse cart all of the 13 kms, along with ten other children. Imagine the age group of these children is five to ten years and it is the ten year old who handles the cart. Though it is fraught with danger the children do not mind as they would all like to go to school and study.

I must salute these little children as well as their parents who have stood by their children's decision.

Another picture also comes to my mind where we in the urban areas we send our children to school by school bus, private vans, autos, and only if it is close by we let them walk. With all these facilities I don't know whether we are building that inner resolve in our children towards self motivation or are they taking it for granted? This would be an eyeopener for all of us I guess.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three and already worrying??

My eyes just popped out - tiny tots as old as three worrying about their appearance and weight?This was the article that I read in the newspaper the other day under the headline 'Tiny tots worry about weighty matters'. It said that a study conducted by the University of Central Florida found many three to six year old girls worrying about their appearance and weight. Phew!

I remember during our times we never gave a thought about our looks or appearance (as long as we wore neat and clean clothes and kept hygiene in mind) specially not at three!! We would wear what was bought by our parents and basically enjoyed playing, studying, going out and so on.....

Now when I read this article I pondered as to who or what is responsible for this big burden that such small children carry. Is it the stereotypes that the society in general is creating what with size zero, beauty pageants, television shows, specially the reality show involving children?Overnight these innocent children are transformed into miniature adults with lots of makeup and hairdo. Their mannerisms and talk also no longer reflect their age. As it is in the current scenario children are growing up faster than they need to.

The movies also I think play a very prominent role in the life of our children. Our society also abets this. Hence our children no longer are the sweet, innocent, carefree beings but already burdened with being too hooked onto appearances. High time we parents inculcate self esteem in our children where emphasis should be on basic hygiene and healthy eating habits which when followed puts everything in place. Let children be what they should be i.e., free spirited.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Teaching through video games

Last morning my son gleefully held up the newspaper and triumphantly waved it to my face and told me to read the article where the caption was "A video game a day, makes the child smarter all the way". As all parents are aware this is one of the issues among many that we parents have.

I was quite interested and went through and found that according to a new 'Kids and Gaming 2009' report from the NPD Group, among all children in the U.S aged 2-17, 82% or 55.7 million are aged 2-5, representing the smallest segment, while 12.4 million are aged 9-11, making up the largest segment. (Phew!! isn't that quite a huge number and I wonder about the 12-17 age group). The crux was that as children these days are hooked to playing long hours of video games, teachers are now trying to get students interested in molecular biology or space exploration, world culture and other topics through developing interesting video games. This they think serves dual purpose: that of children playing their games and at the same time learning these subjects too. Talk about having their cake and eating it too!

Atleast I wish that children might benefit by using these educational videos than playing the mindless games of counter strikes and whatnots.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bridging the education gap

The other day my children were talking to their friends from their previous school. They told me that the school where they were studying earlier would now have children from lower economic strata studying alongside with the other children.

I was then discussing this aspect with my husband. We were wondering how this would work out. On the positive side, the under-privileged children would get access to all the facilities hitherto which they could only dream of. Secondly, the standard of teaching would be very different from what they were used to. Better teachers and better teaching methods. The children from affluent background can interact with these children and in the process get to understand their lifestyle and their problems and aspirations better.

But on the other hand there would be problems too. Integration would require these children as well as the regular school children to make a lot more adjustments as the environment that each one comes from will be totally different. It can easily lead to two opposite groups where one feels superior and the other inferior. Teachers also need to understand and relate to these students at an emotional level. Imagine the immense pressure the children would face when they interact with the affluent children, be it with their dress, or something as small as pencil box, shoe and various other things which would trigger a lot emotional upheaval in these little minds. Wouldn't it be a traumatic experience for children coming from a lower economic strata?

In this context, I feel instead of uprooting students and putting them into alien environment all private schools should adopt government schools in their vicinity and this should be made mandatory. Teachers then from private schools should go in batches and teach in these government school on a continual basis. This would not only enhance the quality of education for the children but will also give the teachers an entirely new perspective which they in turn can use in their teaching. Further, teachers of government schools (who I hear are completely deprived of new training methods) can also be given training by the private schools so that over a period of time the government schools can bridge the existing gap.

The government schools also suffer from lack of infrastructure be it in library, sports or in the laboratory. For extra curricular, activities these children can be taken to the private schools where they can use the facilities there once or twice a week. Same way library can be built in the government schools by involving children of private schools to donate books. These children can also be taken to interact with the other children which in the long run will break the chasm.

Hopefully this would then lead to better integration than displacing children from their natural surroundings. Making the existing schools stronger should be the aim of the Education Ministry. Are you listening, Ministers of Education?