Monday, April 9, 2012

Session break:Necessity or luxury

Most of the schools have commenced with the new session and the children and the teaching staff must have set some new goals for themselves.  The children got some time to relax and refresh in between the final examination and the new session. We tried to find from the students and some teachers about the excitement and the enthusiasm for the next class and the session. The response was mixed. But the majority of the students and the teachers felt that the gap between the two sessions should be more than what it is presently. Some state boards conduct the final examination in the most of April or May and then the schools are closed and the new session starts in the month of July every year. The teachers are able to complete their evaluation work properly and then the schools declare the result. Many children want this system to be adopted by all boards. The reason mentioned for this is that they get enough time to relax and get ready for the next class. They feel that the children who join the next class after a gap of one or one and a half months enjoy the next class more than the ones joining the new class at the shorter duration of interval. At the same time, the other group of the children feel that it is good to start with the new class before the long break so that they could remain touch with the studies they have done and will continue with after the break. The other group argues that as per the saying, “well begun is half done”, the beginning of the session should be in a delightful and jubilant mood and not as you have to carry out the work for another year. The students should have the curiosity and the desire to learn more things. If they get a little more break after working really hard for a year then they will be better prepared to learn more in the following year. Also, they will get some time to pursue the activities and tasks of their interest which may be different than what they do during the year. The children who argue for the long break before the new session also feel that if they do not have the set of the books for the next session and no home work in the name of projects etc is given by the schools then they will be able to relax better and also visit their relatives in different cities without bothering about the assignment given by the teachers to be completed. I tend to agree with them because the bonding between members of the family who may not be staying in the same city will strengthen when the children and the elders visit each other quite often. It is heartening to read in the newspapers that the cities which had become the centre of nuclear families are seeing the reverse trend. The days which the children spend together without any formal education and the restrictions are really the most important in their life. I can remember well when we used to be together during the months of May and June. The number of the children of the same group and the others also would enjoy the afternoon and evenings playing and enjoying together. Those days when TV was not available for twenty four hours and also other electronic gadgets were used to a minimum, there certainly was a better understanding and sharing, even between cousins. The fight to procure the best first and then forgetting everything was an excellent opportunity to learn the lesson of the life which are equally important. We used to share the things with each other and at times tease each other for having got more or less than the others. We used to share the experience of the previous year`s achievement in and outside the class. If we look at the schedule of the children of the day, then it is usually found that they are more concerned about the level of achievement and the desire to achieve more. In the process they are likely to miss on one of the very important aspects and that is learning, but without stress. If we can make a child learn without letting him/her feel that he/she is being taught or forced to learn then this will really be great in the life of the child. Some might think, what is the relation between the short break and the long break as far as two sessions are concerned. This I took up because until I feel a desire to eat I do not relish the food. The same is the case with doing something new or not necessarily new. If the children do not have the desire of and motivation to come to the school they would not be able to learn the things the way this is supposed to be learnt rather they will take it as the burden put on them by the teachers and the parents. Not many people will be able to perform well if they do not feel doing the same from within. I also tend to agree with the people having the views that this long break between the two sessions gives much needed push and impetuous to the children and the teachers specially  the ones who might not have been able to do very well in the previous class. This break gives them time to overcome the negative feelings and they will start the new session with positive attitude. Some teachers also agreed to this and they did talk about themselves as they also need some time to prepare themselves for the new class and new group of the children. As on today what happens that the final examination is over by the third week of March and the new session begins from first April. In between the teachers will have to evaluate the answer books and prepare the result and meet the parent at the time of giving the results. Though the teachers and parents might suggest certain things which would benefit the child but they get very little to think and reflect upon that. The teachers rarely get time to prepare themselves for the next session which is not good. The teachers should have enough time to prepare themselves for the next class. They should know well in advance about the classes and the children to be taught in the next session. If it is so then they would be able to interact (informally with their new students). If they would know about the students well in advance they will be better prepared to help all children as per the individual`s requirement and also will come back totally rejuvenated,fresh and better prepared for the new session.
Let us debate on this and try to understand which is better for the children and the teachers. In any situation the interest of the children is most important and that should not be compromised for any reason. I would be grateful to all those who will be kind enough to share their views with me so that the same could be discussed with the students and the teachers for better action in future.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Developing multiple intelligences

Man from time immemorial has been looking for more success for self and the society. Though success can be defined in different ways and it has different meaning for different people but, one simple way of understanding success is to look at what one wanted to achieve and how much part of the same has been achieved. This target can be set for an individual by the individual and also by the group of the people or an organization for the growth of the entire group of the people or the organization. Success is a relative aspect and it is difficult to see it in absolute terms. Till a few decades back we had an impression that to be successful in life it is very important to be intelligent. What I mean is that earlier IQ was considered to be the basic criteria for a person to be successful. The next factor considered was the experience of the person. But it was observed that though some people were equipped with high IQ and had enough experience working in an organization yet other people who were apparently with less IQ level and experience were more successful than them. Then the idea of emotional intelligence was tossed up. Though people have known about EQ for quite long now but it has not been given the importance that it deserved. Mr. Coleman and other people have done extensive work on this subject and we can have many books in the market available based on the research done many people. I came across one such book recently written by Travis Bradeberry and Jean Greaves. This book talks about the emotional intelligence in a very simple manner and I am sure everyone can understand and comprehend the same easily. It has been rightly said by psychologists and the researches that emotional intelligence has not found its due importance in education system also. We have been emphasizing more on cognitive part and the emotional part found a back seat in the process. But we all must understand that the emotional part is very important for the person to be successful in life. In the last few years, our government and also the central board of secondary education has taken some important and revolutionary steps to include emotional part also. Though, the present scenario may be giving a feeling that the concept of EQ is limited to the evaluation part only. CCE is a process which evaluates all facets of the personality of an individual child. In this case, we do not talk about success or failure but developing the skills of the children to be successful and as mentioned above emotional intelligence is an extremely important aspect and a tool for success. It has also been found that EQ can be improved and the same has been done in different ways. The researchers have found different ways of measuring EQ and developing it further. Bradberry and Greaves write that there are important aspects which make a person what he/she is. These are IQ, EQ and the personality. These three factors combine to make a person more or less successful. The question which was raised by the people how to measure EQ has also been answered now.  If a person has to be successful then he should understand two aspects. One is personal competence and the other is social competence and both help the person to be successful. The personal competence can be divided further into self awareness and social awareness. The social competence can be accordingly divided as social awareness and relationship management. If an individual wants to improve his/her EQ