A PERSPEVCTIVE TOWARDS INSPIRING CHILDREN
There is always a constant talk around what is ailing our education system.
Let us hold our thoughts there and focus on a parallel line of thought – what can make our education system stronger and sticky?
There is a reason why I use the word sticky. The digital world that we live in today is overflowing with information. There is excess of information everywhere. If education meant information, then Google would win hands down. But the true purpose of education is not gathering of information. It is to have the ability to sift this information, take what is relatable, contextual and usable. That is what we could refer to as ‘knowledge’. That is why I use the term sticky. Knowledge sticks around for long, information withers away.
Now if we focus on the classrooms, teachers and the taught, it very evident that our teachers today are willy nilly led by Board diktats, curriculum and school mandates along with Management & parent expectations, running against deadlines, documentation of copious records, after school engagements and extra curricular activities. Enough to turn the day into a robotic affair. Where is the time for them to turn classroom teaching into a passionate affair. Yet in this very lack lies the magic. Instilling passion and inspiration into classrooms, subjects and curriculums – is the key to cultivating a learners mindset.
Before teaching a chapter, a lesson, or a piece of curriculum, we must attempt to inspire the child. Why must they learn language ? Why must they learn numbers and maths? Why must they study science and geography?
While there is already a good amount of focus on subject expertise (and rightfully so) we need to focus more on Inspirational expertise as well. We rarely make the inspirational capacity building a vital part of all Teacher trainings. As the age old saying goes – we follow the rules in letter but what about the spirit? We attempt to teach curriculum but what about the soul of the curriculum? Are we getting that across to the children?
Food for Thought:
Inspiration begins right at the kindergarten level. Never underestimate a 3 or 4 year old’s capacity to get curious and inspired. In fact there is enough Research to suggest that upto 7 years of age the neurons connect most rapidly, thereby translating that this is the time to build synapses that get attuned to excitement, thrill and passion for learning.
Early childhood educators must not introduce alphabetic and numeric literacy without building in the purpose.
Alphabets are our friends, look at what they give us? They give us the gift to communicate, speak, read and write.
Numbers are our friends. They help us measure the things and world around us
Why must we read books? Why must we look after our books?
If we spend a few minutes daily on the ‘why’ , then the ‘how’ becomes easier and relatable.
Primary Years are presumed as the years when the child’s formal schooling starts getting serious! There is so much pressure on writing, rote learning, completing syllabus, learning new subjects – that the teacher just loses track of the ‘why’. The rhymes, songs, dance, movement, and free play is thrown out of the window and a sombre learning journey begins. Not because the teacher plans it intentionally but because there is ‘so much to do. Where is the time for such activities’. Nobody really guides her on the point that Inspiration comes before perspiration. And inspiration is a smart cookie, you can dovetail inspiration in the heart of every Lesson with just a sentence or two, a minute or two.
Why must we study algebra and why must we learn to write essays?
Why do we have subjects for study and subject periods as such?
What is the purpose of studying EVS? Why and how are EVS and Social Studies related to each other?
Agreed that Learning styles, innate abilities and interest guide the learner’s journey, but it is a fact that all learning styles, abilities, and interests respond very well to inspirational quotient.
We talk about IQ and EQ, why not the INQ (Inspirational Quotient)
By Middle school the formal schooling aspect gets even more serious! Subjects involve deeper study, subject teachers are boxed in and student abilities and interests also begin to get stereotyped. Added to it, Pre teens and teens see a hormone volcano erupting every now and then. This age group is a total digital geek by now and have all information at the click of a mouse. So why should they attend classes? What is wrong with bunking classes? Why are grades important? Why should they study chemistry when their interest lies in languages?
Herein too, the role of the teacher expands to near Herculean size. I mean the expectations rise but is the teacher able to deliver? Has she built in the inspirational capacity? Because such queries cannot be dealt with a straight jacket approach. The teacher needs to mould herself/ himself into an influencer at this stage!
I leave my thoughts about the INQ for senior secondary students for a later discussion.
But its time that we plough in Amazon stature energy towards inspiring our teachers to be the inspirer.
It’s a huge and daunting task that requires constant fuelling and re fuelling.
We need to keep our teachers inspired, so that they in turn can inspire our children.