What makes the beginning of every new academic year so exciting for children? The novelty of making new friends, having a new class teacher , new bag , new water bottle , new tiffin boxes and new uniform. Is it not ? They look forward to the newness that they will experience. These are all external add -on incentives .
How do we sustain that joy, wonder and curiosity in learning too? While children are all born intelligent , the extent to which a child maximises his /her potential given similar environment and opportunities decides their performance.Children swing back and forth from complacency to diligence and dedication to study We account these phases to moods.If it were so , can we devise ways to sustain the interest and commitment to continuous learning and up-gradation of knowledge.?
We did some research in school on the relationship between processes and learning outcomes . Children learn better with a wide range of learning strategies, simply because it arouses curiosity and wonder. If it interests them , they say “Real Fun” , otherwise it was “simply boring”.Monotony kills enthusiasm to learn and makes the exercise “boring”.The situation is worse if they have to repeat the exercise of “studying” under the watchful eyes of an expert once again after school hours.It is proven that That explains why the consistency in learning and performance is not maintained.some subjects are preferred over others.
Last year, we did not send the books home nor did we announce the dates of appraisals for Grades I to IV. The children were encouraged to become active learners. their questions helped us to redesign and reshape our curriculum. The outcomes were real – increase in participation in classroom discussions, moving from a more passive role to an active one,shaped the capacity for thinking critically , honing and honoring them, positive outcomes in team projects and improvement in class averages.These may not be very visible immediately but one can say with conviction that the results will be remarkable and gratifying.Facts and skills were important but they were only a means and not the the end.
This academic year will greet children from KG to V differently They will be guided to their seats in the classrooms by their own bags . The bags is customised in the House colours with the name of the child on each bag . We all love the game of Treasure Hunt. This treasure hunt will be with a difference .. They will try to spot their bags that is strapped to the bag of the chair. The bags have pockets for books, geometry boxes , pencils , crayons ,color pencils etc Children will no longer carry bags with books to school . They will only need their tiffin boxes , water bottle and the school diary.They carry the bags to the next class as well Made sturdy and slides neatly into the back of the chair . It can be strapped as well What more- It has a cushioned head rest. The children were invited to give suggestions after they” experienced it.” They stumped me with their suggestion”Why not have a complete cushioned back. That would be more comfortable.” I smiled not wanting to make it too comfortable .
How will it benefit children ? The onus of learning will be on the children . They will concentrate better in class When they go home , they will assignments like reading , research , discussions with parents ,/grand parents ,reflective writing t do All of this will reinforce and aid learning and thinking skills. At the end of the unit , they will have a worksheet for recapitulation of the conceptual understanding.. At the end of the whole chapter , children will do a mind map guided by the teacher initially and independently over a period of time .The design of the mind map may not be identical for all children No one mind map is better than the other . One cannot make comparisons because no two children are alike in their thinking but they will know what they must.The perforated mind -map sheets will be sent home after every chapter .
With this intiative , we wish to encourage children to think creatively and learn independently . They will experience the joy , remain curious to know more and express effectively because they will be endowed with the subtle intellect to delve , reflect and contemplate on their learning without have to do rote-learning or repetitive work monotonously(tuitions). The spirit of inquiry or dogmas or notes.and self learning will develop in them logic and reason which are not driven by monotonous study. We hope no incentives or reprimands would ever need to be offered for learning.
I am sure that when school reopens I will see sparkling eyes, good cheer and warm smiles with this new initiative of the school .After all , this innovation is “by a Sulonian , for a Sulonian and by a Sulonian”.
Until then , enjoy your vacation.