How can we offer Quality Education to our kids?

By Ananya Majumdar (L&T MHPS)

In the month of June, Enlightenment published an article on “India’s failing education System” by Rijul Nadkarni. This article made me feel inspired to write on how we could possibly provide education in a more meaningful way to the future generations. This article is from my experience of learning in a B-School and how learning is made fun there.

A quality education is one that focuses on the whole child—the social, emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive development of each student regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. It prepares the child for life, not just for testing. – Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Quality education involves providing education for all at an early age. The environment needs to be safe, positive and respectable to human rights. The education should be aimed to bring about a better future for the kids. To achieve this, the teachers need to be well trained and motivated enough to work towards this goal. Finally, scholarships should be made available to all without any kind of discrimination.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number 4 of providing quality education is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Taking inspiration from the teaching and learning pedagogy followed in SPJIMR, I can say that learning can be made effective and fun by adopting such measures as mentioned below:

Pre-reads

The traditional homework to be done after class can be replaced with pre readings where a child should be made aware of what the lessons for the next class would be and read the relevant topics from home. This would allow for a more healthy discussion session in class where the children would not be subjected to monologue lectures. It would be a session where every student participates in asking questions as well as answering them.

Audio-Visual aids

Videos are always considered as an effective way to communicate since they also break the boredom of listening to long lectures. Traditional chalk and blackboard methods can be clubbed with power point presentations which contain audio-video content to make learning interesting.

Simulations

Simulations are an effective way of applying theoretical concepts learned. It gives a sense of how to apply theory in real life. This can also help children remember concepts better than simple rote learning.

Role plays

Children are creative. Enacting out events can definitely help them remember things better. This can be applied to history or literature. It also gives a way of understanding how children perceive the stories laid out in the textbooks. In addition, the visual impact created by seeing the role-play can definitely enhance retention skills of the children.

Games

Games can be designed to learn concepts better. Example – The game of Monopoly played in SPJIMR helped us understand transactions, profit, loss, debit, credit, etc. in an unusual manner. The concept of a balance sheet was clear through a single session of a fun game. Similarly, games can be designed to encourage learning through fun. For example – Snakes and Ladders can be redesigned on the map of India to help understand Geography better.

Collaboration

Group work helps children develop soft skills and leadership at an early age. It boosts confidence of the children. Further, the result of a group activity is definitely greater than the sum of individual efforts. Each member of the team has a different input/direction to render to the assignment. This helps them learn better.

Field trips

Some things can be best learnt through experience. Visit to a place always helps increase the scope of thinking. It helps in the holistic learning process.

Communication

Teachers need to effectively communicate the purpose of each activity that a child engages in to help him learn better. Every child must be made aware of the future impact of his present decision. He can thus open his mind to new ideas and increase employability for him. Traditional methods of encouraging children to be only doctors and engineers need to stop. Every child is special and his ability to make something innovative needs to be appreciated.

 Critical thinking & Creativity

Creativity should be promoted through participation in extra-curricular activities. This will help increase the interest of a child in the school.

Training of teachers

Teachers need to well trained – not only academically but also with these innovative methods of learning. It is their task to make learning fun for the children. But it is equally important for the teachers to feel motivated enough. This will come through passion for the subject and love for the students – most importantly through appropriate remuneration.

All these ideas come at a cost and it is not known if government is willing to spend enough on such methods to impart quality education. For a start, It would be good if the government improved infrastructure and mid-day meals at schools   , thus being more sought after by students. As the question of lifelong learning and employability of kids in future goes, we still depend on the private schools. These schools already charge a lot for the traditional learning methods. Would they be able to innovatively teach kids at the same cost is the question that demands answers!

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Manish Tiwari

Well written, being a father you have written this very beautiful

Nijeesh Padmanabhan

Very well written. Keep writing.

Ambalika Biswas

Living in a country where education is not guaranteed to every child, the ways that you have mentioned can never be adopted universally. As you have written few private schools aim to provide “quality education” but again fees are high. Teachers aren’t motivated because their month end cheques are not justified. Hence can we come out with some useful steps that parents can take to prepare their kids for life? I should warn here that not all parents would go for this because they want their rat to be the first in the race.

Pritha

Useful tips for every parents today.. Good work Ananya