My Child Does Not Study Anymore, She Learns
|   Jan 15, 2015
My Child Does Not Study Anymore, She Learns

A constant battle with my daughter is on shutting off her laptop and hitting the books. And her reply is often, “But ma, I am studying.”  Yeah right. The other day, I knew she was watching some video on her laptop when she was supposed to be studying her science. And when I blew my head off, she showed me the video she was watching. DIGESTIVE SYSTEM – And how it works. The whole thing was being explained with diagrams, animated sequences and music!!!

I wish I had learnt like that. I might have then been a little better acquainted with the digestive system. For those of us who studied in the 80s and 90s, studies and lessons are still in the books. Thankfully,schools are now encouraging otherwise.

Schooling systems are increasingly not just about what they need to learn, but how they learn it.

The teachers take the children through the lesson in class. The sessions, unlike in our times, are extremely interactive, often with analogies to explain a point, videos, charts, outdoor sessions and experiential learning. And the kids are encouraged to question, argue and bring in their own point of view. I would have been too scared to question a teacher in my time.

And that is just one part of it. The child is then encouraged to understand the subject/topic further on her/his own through additional reading and research. Like the biology video. So the subject matter is no longer relegated to a few lines or paragraphs in the book. It’s a whole new world that opens up.

Four years ago, when I moved to NCR, I was thrilled to find that a lot of schools here that didn’t follow traditional teaching systems.

Like the Genesis Global School in Noida, which inculcates a learning system that encourages innovation, creativity, and independent thinking in children. Earlier education system was based on the 3 Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Today it is about research and understanding, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills. Makes sense!As adults, in our daily lives, these are what get us through, be it at work or home.

At the school interview we were told that ‘a child who can understand and learn on his/her own learns best.’ My first thought was, why are we sending the child to school then?

It’s because the learning system at schools is something like this now.

Knowledge is not something that is just passed on from the teacher but something that the students get through their own curiosity and exploration. Books, school, teachers, parents are all mere facilitators. And once the mind is no longer confined to a limited learning area, it’s amazing how much they learn.

The other day, my phone stopped working because some water spilt on it. My kid told me to put the phone into the raw rice jar and leave it there for a while. Voila! By the evening, my phone was working again. The rice had absorbed the water. And guess where she learnt it. From a detective serial on TV!!And the principle behind it is physics!

Learning is done through play too. In fact in schools like Genesis,this starts right from the time a child starts school.  Their Primary Years Programme (PYP) is mostly through enquiry-based methods and play. I was reading a research article that said play encourages the development of imagination, develops motor skills and concentration and teaches self-expression.It also allows children to relax and develop social skills.

As a parent, what delights me most about the new teaching methodologies is that the kids face no pressure while learning. So the parents are relaxed too. No regular exams except after class 7 or 8. Evaluations are only worksheet based or through projects and essays.  Learning by rote is almost discouraged.

However, when I read about the insane cut-off marks for college entrances, I am concerned. Unless the system extends all the way through, the children might end up in a quandary in higher classes. Hopefully that will change too, soon.

Drama, music, sports (even games like fencing), week-long camps – it’s incredible how much the schools now fit into a child’s life. And at the end of it, it’s not about a report card anymore – my kid is a smart and knowledgeable child with varied interests and a great personality. What more could I want.

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