Classroom Expectations: Positive management for the productive growth of students

I got a questionnaire from edinbox.com to respond to. Though the brief is to write answers in a couple of sentences for each issue/question raised, I feel unless we do not understand the very evolution of a human being, cognitively and behaviorally, we cannot find solutions to any of the issues raised here. Hence, I am giving the context before I address each of the concerns raised in the questionnaire. My answers for each of these questions could be dramatically in variance with the conventional wisdom that is prevalent around most adults. Whatever I am sharing here is an outcome of over two-decades of hands-on experience of being with children and young-adults, setting up schools, creating learning environments there in; and also seeing over a couple lakh students excel in career and life. Quite a few of those grown up adults bring their children to us, to seek help now!

Phases of learning in the evolution of a human being.

Phases of learning in the evolution of a human being.

Fig 1. Evolution of the human being, cognitively speaking.

 

The above conceptual framework is self-explanatory. Various empirical studies observed that the rate of cognitive evolution is exponential in the first eight years of life, reaching almost to 90% of that of an adult; about 80% by the age of three. We have been using the above nomenclature – Ananda, Jigyasa and Sadhana – in our language for almost two decades now. They evolved over a few years of observing and introspecting as the children evolved.

 

  1. A child in the initial phase of one’s early childhood evolution, Ananda, involves all senses in absorbing one’s context. The slate in the early phase is clean. It is all about joy of discovering the contextual existence. The child is like a sponge, soaking everything that exists in the immediate environment. It is incumbent upon the adult around her – a parent, grand-parent, family or a teacher, the school – how rich we can make the immediate contextual environment forthe child to thrive. Learning happens at a pace unimaginable, all without any agenda. (The Howard Gardner’s Multiple intelligences is in full bloom – kindly google to understand this concept of Multiple Intelligences)

 

  1. The primary and middle school years – age 8-14 – Jigyasa phase, is all about observation, introspection, analysis, synthesis to consolidate thus far imbibed experiences, into a solid knowledge through active questioning and embarking on finding answers to those questions through further experimentation and exploration. Greater the exposure, the higher is the learning. So as an adult in the environment, a parent can help the child experience a variety of spaces and activities in the arenas of all intelligences. During this period, a lot of likes, affinities, interests develop in every child that may start shaping the thought process that eventually may play an important role in choice-making and decision-making, about what one wants to pursue in career and life.

 

  1. If the adults at home and school have been taking note of the likes and affinities that are evolving in the Jigyasa phase, one can proactively facilitate the child to make well informed choices by exposing the child to a variety of literatures, activities, events, people of eminence etc. so that the child will listen, engage, interact and evolve. As the child moves to higher classes the family and school can facilitate the access to all the avenues that can shape a child’s chosen area of interest, probably positively impacting the career too.

Now I would like to answer the following questions with the above frame work as a reference. I also need to add here that I have clubbed questions together, where I have found them to be closely related, and I shall addressthem in a logical way.

What should be an expectation level of a teacher or a parent from the student?

  • One of the secrets to bring about the expected outcomes from a child is to be EMPATHETIC first. Talk to a child the way you would talk to an adult, in calm, eager and understanding way. As I said, the cognitive evolution of a child is almost that of an adult beyond age three. So, keep your emotions at bay.
  • The first requirement of an institution – family or school – is to take responsibility upon oneself to create age appropriate learning environment and experiences even before they have expectations from the child.
  • So, my expectation is directed more towards the adults in the child’s context, asking, what exciting environment have you created for the child to explore, experiment and learn.
    • Can I be with the child, whenever I feel the child is struggling? Can I walk with the child and not just talk?What inspires the child is your walk, and not the talk!!
    • Everything boils down to a good, open communication with the child. Only when the child feels that you are understanding, will the child be open to hear and see your perspective.

Does over expectation from a bright child deteriorate his performance and self-esteem?How behaviour of a student can be modified with simple learning and how can we help him in developing his self-esteem?What are the methods to develop behaviour modification among students?How to motivate a child to perform better in the class?

    • The secret, as I shared, is open communication and facilitation. Understanding the child, in the given context, is paramount. Help the child gain confidence to be open with you, to share her fears and needs.
    • An adult should not talk from 6ft. Get down to the child’s level. That means, your eyes and that of the child must be at the same level! Make the child feel that you are her friend and facilitator.
    • Every child is unique and let us not compare one with the other. Acknowledging the child’s interests, way of thinking, strengths, weaknesses and evencurrent  prioritiesis very important. Being open is the key. That is the only way to stoke self-esteem. Every positive thing we say or do, adds to her self-esteem.
    • First,believe and help yourself to help the child understand that he or she is good enough; and it is just a question of getting more comfortable in the subject or topic or issue that we are concerned about, and give a message that by understanding the concepts and practicing more she would be good. And that you are with her in the process. Walk, walk, walk with the child, do not talk.
    • I have seen the transformation in many a child, including my daughters. Building trust and stoking the self-belief is the key.

Is there a model or a technique to deal with discipline referrals?

  • Most of the root causes of the discipline issues emerge from the child’s immediate environment. The behavior of the child has its origin in the way an adult or two is behaving in the child’s environment – How is the adult dealing with the child. The adult’s ‘walk’ may be inducing the behavior.
  • For instance, if the child is very energetic and active in the school, then you may soon realize that his energy does not find any vent at home. His home environment could be highly restrained and over disciplined. And that pent-up energy finds a volcanic outlet in the school. Similarly, a child shouted at or abused at home, may vent his frustration at his fellow learners in school.
  • My questions for institutions, are, “How open are we to integrating homes with school? How much do we know about the child’s home environment? How much of interaction between the school and home have we institutionalized beyond the formality of PTM (parents teacher meeting which most of the times is unwelcoming for the schools. It is just an item in the check-list)
  • When the home and institution will be seamless, most of the behavioral deviancies will be easily taken care of. In the technology-enabled world of today, institutions can really create that seamless communication channels to bridge to two.
  • Even after having amazingly cordial and proactive engagement with home, if we find the child’s behavior still beyond our capability, then we need to seek the help of a psychologist/specialists in diagnosing any other eventuality, like ADHD etc.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) affects the child’s ability to focus and control his behaviour. What steps to be taken to address the children suffering from ADD?

    • ADHD is the term that we usually use for affected children and adolescents, while ADD is used for adults. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children, more prevalent in boys than in girls; diagnosed based on the child’s symptoms and behavior.
    • Inattentiveness, impulsiveness or hyperactivity are the symptoms of a child with ADHD. It is a genetic-disorder and child has no role to play in acquiring it; one of the parents has contributed to the cause. Brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, don’t work the same in children with ADHD; Certain areas in the brain may be smaller or even less active in children with ADHD than those without the disorder. Most of the times, a parent feels guilty of even acknowledging the presence of ADHD, especially do to the social stigma it may carry. Hence, we as adults, both teachers and parents need to be proactive, yet very patient in dealing with the child.
    • Timely diagnosis is very important. If not treated in time, ADHD continues into adulthood. However, by understanding the child, working on and channelizing his strengths, facilitating a conducive environment, and using medication timely, a childwith ADHD can grow into a responsible and productive adult who is socially invaluable.

 

How show we improve the school environment so that it helps students to perform better?What are the key points to be kept in mind which helps in developing a cordial environment for students and teachers?How can a teacher build an environment that can help students struggling with serious academic deficiencies, lack of support, language barrier, or any other challenges?

 

    • Most of the times I see the really issue lies with institutions – School and Homes – and adults within. I measure the adults by exploring their attitude towards these three questions –
      • Do your really love children?
      • Do you love learning?
      • Are you excited about creating rich, stimulating learning environments and experiences?
    • We need to understand that the institution exists for the child and need to bring about changes in our environment and the way we conduct ourselves and our learning processes
    • As Charles Darwin says, the human being as an organism is programmed to thrive – survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, we adults control the environment, at home or school, in such a way that the brilliant mind, amazing body and soul is not excited to flourish. We shackle the being.
    • It is very important that the learning environment, pedagogy and engagement be conducive with the evolutionary phases of a human being that is illustrated in Fig. 1 above. The coordination of the school and home, along with the curriculum engagement need to be rich and stimulating. Homes need to help the child experience the real world beyond the classrooms and curriculum. Parents must be thinkers and doers. Expose the child to experiences in every dimension of intelligences that Howard Gardner talks about.
    • Does the outside world come into your classrooms? Do your classrooms go to the outside world? If the answers these questions isin affirmative, soon we would have found solutions to all challenges.
Evolving child being facilitate by family, school and the experiences in the world

Evolving child being facilitate by family, school and the experiences in the world

Hope, I have been able to address all the issues raised in the questionnaire. I apologize for writing a lengthy article to address your questions. I strongly believe, there is no short-cut to facilitate a parent, teacher or institutions toenable every child that is playing in our aangans, corridors or classrooms.

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H H Dalai Lama – ‘Love and Compassion make all the difference’

It has always been a pleasure contributing to the spaces where children observe, introspect, participate, engage, discuss, debate and learn. One such movement that I have been part of as a volunteer, contributor and advisor has been ITIHAAS, an endeavor by a team of strong-willed and highly capable youth lead by Smita Vats and Shivani, has been doing a yeoman service for over 15 years now, in the space of Heritage Education for children. The movement now addresses children and institutions in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while children from across the country travel to these states to soak in and also learn the heritage of our rich, composite nation.

dalai_lama_25

There are many initiatives by ITIHAAS, year around, that engage the children, schools and the entire education community not only through their walks but also through facilitation of research in literature, music, traditions, livelihoods that are integral to Heritage.

As part of the latest initiative, first in the series of Changemakers talk, His Holiness Dalai Lama delivered the ITIHAAS ANNUAL ADDRESS to the school fraternity… What an interaction, it was !!  Always a pleasure listening to His Holiness. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with him too. Just observing him silently is good enough to absorb so much about purposefulness towards humanity…

As he was addressing the children, teachers and education community, laced with his inimitable humour, I made it point to tweet whatever I could gather. Here I collate my tweets and share for posterity. Each of the points that he shares are invaluable –

  • Every #child receiving #love, affection, hugs of #parents in #childhood, will grow to be a confident and compassionate adult
  • we, generation of 20th century created a lot of problems, your gen of 21st century, has to solve. Solve Disagreement by talking
  • Young generation, #brothers and #sisters, think how to build a happy and compassionate world, through education and learning
  • Through warm heartedness you will be able to resolve every issue in the world; love, forgiveness will help you to bring peace
  • Anger brings violence; conflicts need to be solved through dialogue; love others and respect them to facilitate. Create peace
  • Non violence, peaceful dialogue by you will create a peaceful and happy family, society and world228
  • #Secular #education needs to include moral #values, ethics; value of warm heartedness makes the difference to humanity
  • fear is part of human being; I train my mind through analytical #meditation; analyse the source of anger; you will solve
  • Positivity begets positivity, creates peace; work towards eliminating negativity; Ahimsa and Karuna can solve all problems
  • without inner #peace we cannot develop world peace? #Trust & #affection will beget happiness & peace at home and society
  • As an youngster, I can contribute to solving every problem with my small actions with awareness; environmental issues, example
  • People’s movement – I must think, I must talk, I must work – our vision, on sharing, can gather mass to bring change
  • All religions, all traditions talk of love, harmony. #India needs to take lead in promoting tolerance, forgiveness and peace
  • Different #religions may have different approaches for different people, but the final purpose is #oneness and #love
  • Be a kind-hearted and #compassionate person. #Education needs to just contribute for this one purpose. That is the basic value
  • I never saw my mother angry. Not just me, she cared for every child ….First teacher of love and compassion is my mother
  • Every teacher has responsibility towards every child.Yr love helps every child understand whatever U impart. Infuses Happiness
  • Secret of my youth. 9 hrs of sleep and rest of 15 hours with peaceful thoughts. Have healthy mind. Smile adds to handsomeness

He also interacted with students by taking their questions and responding. I shall get the complete video across soon…

I have not done justice to this event if I do not speak about the Live painting by Artist Vilas Nayak that mesmerized His Holiness The Dalai Lama Dalai Lama. I consciously did not do, as I felt I need to write a separate story on it. I shall.

 

Parenting – Ancient wisdom for modern parents : Thirukkural

Tirukkural  by Tiruvalluvar ( a Tamil  poet/writer) was written more than 5000 yrs ago. It’s one of the ancient science on Human behaviour, which has not changed inspite of modern education  & technology !

Evolving child being facilitate by family, school and the experiences in the world

Evolving child being facilitated by family, school and the experiences in the world

SOME GOLDEN THOUGHTS OF THIRUKKURAL

  1. If your child lies to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.
  2. If your child does not explore new ideas, it is because you have never encouraged her making mistakes
  3. If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advice them more than you encourage them.
  4. If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public.
  5. If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them chose what they want.
  6. If your child is cowardly, it is because you help them too quickly.
  7. If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order and command them.
  8. If your child is too quick to anger, it is because you give too much attention to misbehaviour and you give little attention to good behaviour.
  9. If your child is excessively jealous, it is because you only congratulate them when they successfully complete something and not when they improve at something even if they don’t successfully complete it.
  10. If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.
  11. If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through.
  12. If your child is secretive, it is because they don’t trust that you won’t blow things out of proportion.
  13. If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others and think its normal behaviour.
  14. If your child doesn’t listen to you but listens to others, it is because you are too quick to jump to conclusions
  15. If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right

Please share this article to more parents, in the hope that we will have more responsible citizens!

Mama, Papa…. there is nothing in my bag today!

This rabbit does not eat carrot! …. how come?

Today I did my math and science,

I toasted bread,

I halved and quartered,

I counted, measured, used my eyes,

and ears and head.

I added and subtracted on the way,

I used a magnet, blocks and memory tray,

I learnt about a rainbow and how to weigh.

So please. don’t say, anything in your bag today?

How to paint my fence!

You see I am sharing as I play,

I learned to listen and speak clearly when I talk,

to wait my turn, and when inside, to walk.

To put my thoughts into a phrase,

to guide a crayon through a maze,

To find my name and write it down,

to do it with a smile and not a frown.

To put my painting brush away,

so please don’t say, what, nothing in your bag today?

What fun building my own home!

I have learnt about a snail and a worm,

remembering how to take my turn,

Helped a friend when he was stuck,

learnt that water runs off a duck,

I looked at words from left to right,

agreed to differ, not to fight.

So please don’t say, did you only play today?

 – Anonymous

‘Take this Rs 2,000/- and be quiet; thank god your girl is alive’

What excuse shall we give for a 5-year-old being raped? Was she dented and painted! Was she not wearing the right clothes? Was she roaming with the wrong guys at the wrong hour? Was she giving the wrong signals to the guy?

Not a single day passes without a rape or two in the news, and I am sure thousands go unreported! There are prying eyes every where! Half of humanity is always under constant fear?! What a loss of potential! What a loss!

All Eyes are on me! what do I do to save myself?

An infiltrator violating the borders of Mother India is shot at and incapacitated. We take great pride in doing so and the nation unites eulogizing the spirit of defending our Mother Nation. But we see every mother, sister and daughter being violated around us and are hardly bothered. Our police will find ways to intimidate the family. Our societal elders will banish them out of the community or even from this world. There are enough lawyers to prove the culprit to be juvenile. And our acclaimed lawyers and judges find ways and means to delay the hearings. It will be a decade or two, by which time the victim would have been through a million deaths all the while the culprit gets patronage under one influential group or the other!

What have we become? When did we stop being humans? Where does this stop?
Is this the India which we want to live in? Is this the India we want to leave for our children and grand children? Does mere amending the laws going to find solutions?

Where does it start?

At every home, for sure. We do not want to have a girl child. Even before the young one comes into this world, the mother is subjected to all sorts. There is a great disparity in the way a girl child is treated compared to a boy child – Food to amenities to school to opportunities, she is always against the wall and he is the lord. What sort of messages do we pass on to the boys and the girls as they grow? What attitudes do these boys carry of the fellow girl children as they grow?

The boys end up being drivers and cleaners, policemen and lawyers, doctors and engineers ….while most girls find their progression curtailed by their family; and if not, the boys around, feel their progression has to be curtailed! What a sad state of affairs that we sow and nurture…

We need to start at home. Respect and celebrate every girl child and woman at home… Unless every home does it, we will have perpetrators at every nook and corner. The road is pretty long…

While it will take a few generations for the change to happen, bottom up, we need to do a lot in every space. The common theme though will be of infusing sense of responsibility and belonging.

The indifferent one! If only they can be saviours, our plight will be very different!

First and foremost has to be political and electoral reforms. The election commission should make sure that criminalization of politics is eliminated at any cost. The constitution provides all authority for the election commission to do so.

Every political party should realize that their future lies in decriminalization. They would be better off selecting responsible candidates and also not interfere in any administration appointments and implementation once the directional decisions are taken.

The Administrative reforms are the next most important facet. There have been a few administrative officers in small pockets of the country who have changed the face of these places. We need every officer to make impact.

That cannot happen unless the government is as efficient. So political parties forming the government has to set their houses right. Each one of us as a citizen has the responsibility to cast the vote and select the right person.

The police has to be more conscious of its social responsibilities. Hence their training and orientation will have to change. They need to be deployed more for aam admi’s cause than that of the VIP duties!

We need to come out of “Chalta hai”, “Aisa hi hoga”, “Mera kya jara hai” attitude. Only then the aforesaid shifts can be implemented in right spirit. Each one of us has to be vigilant and feel responsible for everything happening around. Youth needs to play a pivotal role in making this happen. Unless we leave our personal, self-centric approach, we will not be able to bring the change. We need to evolve ourselves beyond the mundane.

It is a tough ask. Let us make it happen.

Love.

Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I ……?

This is a very interesting mail I received from a dear friend Rakesh Dasmana. I just thought of sharing with all those who have kids around them…
—————————————————————
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh! (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”

SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.
DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling.
SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”

SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.

“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

Hold me, Cuddle me

Hold me, Cuddle me

It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love? If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family

Indus Learning Series – Discovering and Nurturing Potential

WEBINAR : OCTOBER 17, 2012; 9pm – Register by pasting the link
http://bit.ly/WfYLMF on the browser.

Indus World School is a learning space, as much for teachers and parents as is for children. While Children blossom through the academic curriculum with sports and arts integral to their learning environment, the mentors learn by creating lesson plans, applying, observing, introspecting, practicing and enhancing their thought processes every day at school. Then, how and what do parents learn at this school?

Enriched families contribute to enlightened children. We endeavor to facilitate parents and families through our INDUS LEARNING SERIES.

Vast amount of research has been done worldwide in areas of child psychology and effective parenting, and only a speck of it gets translated into practice. Parenting is a sensitive and complicated issue, and many parents of today’s times realize this very well. Furthermore, they are also mindful about being supportive and caring to their children, and wanting to learn more about conscious parenting. I am sure you are one too.

Indus World School wishes to be a facilitator in this learning goal of parents, and in turn facilitate in bringing up emotionally, socially, intellectually, physically, spiritually healthy children of this country.

On a regular basis, as part of INDUS LEARNING SERIES, 120-minute parent-workshops are integral to the journey at Indus World School. These workshops are on a wide range of topics of general interest and relevance to parents of children from all age groups, and sometimes specifically for a particular age group.

Here, we offer the next workshop in the series with an introduction to multiple-intelligence, that would help you discover and nurture the potentials of your child.

Find the winner in your child, Indore coverageEvery child is uniqueFind the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionFind the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionFind the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionIndus World School, INDIA
Indus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIWS schools MACDS mentors annual conferenceIWS schools MACDS mentors annual conferenceIWSER - School Leadership Roundtable
IWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminar
IWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminar

WEBINAR : OCTOBER 17, 2012; 9pm – Register by pasting the link
http://bit.ly/WfYLMF on the browser.

Workshop : Find a winner in your child

“The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience”
~ Unknown

Workshop Goals

•Understanding the concept of Multiple Intelligence
•Finding out the different kinds of potentials your child has
•Knowing how to further nurture your child’s potentials

Workshop Outline

For ages, ‘intelligence’ of a child has been measured by the grades, ranks and marks scored in school exams. Many parents reprimand or give up on their children who do not stand up to this yardstick. Hence, these children may remain denied of opportunities and encouragement by their adults. Such children usually may find it difficult to build confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.

The reality is that there are multiple intelligences and infinite potential that each person possesses. Thus, every child is ‘intelligent’ in his/her own way.

You, as parents, would be doing a lot of good to your children by being aware of what potentials your child has, and how to nurture them in those areas so that they could make use of the right opportunities in their lives. Yes, it is important for you to know your child’s potentials, to be able to contribute positively to their rounded development. Help your child be a winner. Come, together we will make it happen.

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