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Reimagining Children's Education: Short-term exposure to long-term changes

“Principals have Principles,” said Yashaswini, a parent and content writer, as we discussed the unwillingness, and the inability of schools to inculcate more experiential, and practical learning into the curriculum. After all, with the teacher’s hurry to finish the “Syllabus” and get the children ready for exams, where is the time for making the learning relevant and fun to children at such mass numbers? The teachers aren’t to blame here, neither is the whole setup a complete failure. But little tweaks here and there might make the system more effective, that’s what one of the teams in our conclave concluded. And what are those little tweaks?

Here are some of our participant’s top suggestions:

1.     Exposing children to nature walks and observations

2.     Conducting a balanced combination of outdoor and indoor sessions. (Outdoor sessions expose children to much more than a lesson within the four walls.)

3.     Understanding that sports goes beyond just physical activity and “fun” and aids the socio-emotional development of the child.

The team consisted of one parent and one researcher, and they both stressed the need for practical and skill-based classes to regular part of the curriculum so that children are able to connect the dots on what they are learning and why and how is it important. They suggested, if not feasible to be inculcated into the entire week’s schedule, at least one or two-hour sessions per week of varied exposure would aid their understanding during regular classes. These changes should be gradually inculcated so it doesn’t strain the existing system.

Yashaswini states that this lack of exposure from the school’s side leads to a double burden of parents having to tutor their children back home on the syllabus, as well as making the syllabus relevant to them. Sure, she can show them chemical reactions while cooking, and how trees function when she takes her children to her parent’s home, but there’s only so much a parent can do.

While this discussion was going on seriously, another team consisting of two parents and an educator discussed having skilled teachers and faculty who are approachable and friendly and who are compensated well for their services. Teachers should have an understanding of management and a good work environment.

One parent pointed out the tendency of the current education system to go “global” in their approach and forget the basic methods leading to a lack of common sense in the present-day children. Might be to one extreme stream of thoughts, but “A civilization dies when its key institutions of excellence (academia, science, medicine, business, law) are no longer pursued…..” says Dr. Saad in this article.

This team also wanted schools to have discussion sessions with the parents and a well-functioning feedback system so that communication with parents is open and clear. After all, given the commercialisation of the education sector, wouldn’t it be right for the schools to take feedback from their customers for their services? Commercialisation of education is one whole other topic we’ll not be getting into, but you can go on and read Rohit Gajbhiye 's article here.

In his article, Gajbhiye discusses how commercialisation of education leads to a lack of social and moral values in children, and this goes in line with our team’s suggestion that schools should focus on building a good culture within the system.

When it comes to Thicket Tales, we want to be that ‘two-three hours per week’ that enables the child to enjoy the rest of their classes and school life. We conduct those sessions that connect the dots and engage them in conversations not just as students but to go beyond and be conscious, aware citizens of society. We want to build a culture of learning, that is rooted in nature but is not restricted to just that. We want to build a society of thinkers. 


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