Oh no, this is not some tongue-twister game that I’m starting with you! You can breath easy!
This, in fact, is the base of a flow of thoughts that was set in motion after a discussion with a friend whose children studied in one of the schools here.
The exam season is going on in most of the schools here, or at least the Indian schools here and most of the children, I know have their noses buried deep in their course books. And parents, or at least some of them, have their eyes, noses, heads, expectations firmly fixed on their kids to ensure that they prepare their subjects well enough to score
high passing marks.
Now there are plenty of parents I come across here who go through their own hyper-ventilating sessions every time the examination-fever is in the air. They bring about all kinds of embargo into their lives. ‘No watching television’. ‘No socializing’. ‘No phone calls’. ‘No internet’. ‘No Facebook’ ‘No playing, dancing, singing, nothing!’ Only stress and mounting pressure to perform.
And the embargo is not just restricted to the kids but the parents too, mind you!
Anyway this post is not about those parents and their parenting styles. They are a fodder for another day another post.
This post is rather aimed at this particular approach that one of the schools here has adopted, apparently, to encourage the students to perform better.
I learnt from a friend recently that the students of the school, who otherwise have green blazers as their uniform, are rewarded blue blazers if they manage to score top grades for three consecutive years. Furthermore they get to wear a blue-tie as well if the top grades are scored for the fourth straight time.
And this friend of mine was distressing about how her daughter was so worried about scoring the top grades this time around for that would entail her the blue blazer!
Ok Now I am happy to see her so driven and studying hard to get the required marks( and the blazer) because I know she is a very bright girl who is confident that she is capable of score high marks.
This incentive may be helpful for those smart promising students who have their confidence and morale intact and for whom this may be motivating enough to work harder and be one of the chosen ones to own the blue blazer.
But what about those weaker students who need that extra push and attention to score passing marks or those average ones who may not be scoring as many marks as their top ranking class-mates and who may just have to make do with the ‘ordinary’ green blazers? Does it mean that they are not good enough? Just because they dont have enough numbers on their mark sheets, does it mean that they are not smart enough?
Every child is different and smart in his/her own way. And every child needs encouragement and motivation just as much as any other, if not more.
Which is why I am not sure how motivating such techniques that schools have in place are. Such segregation based on grades and intellect can demoralize a less scoring child, in my opinion. Imagine a group of students wearing green blazers entering a classroom where there are some students in blue blazers. How likely is for the green blazer wearing students to be ignored or looked down upon by their mates in blue blazers or how likely is for the blue blazer wearing students to be grudged of their status by their mates in green blazers?
I have seen and heard of instances where teachers have favoured the high scoring students by investing time and energy on them, over the weaker students.
Why, its approaches like this that make those overbearing parents sit on their children’s head like a hawk and push them to perform beyond their capacity.
I find such methods so utterly discriminating and unfair. And I have my doubts how encouraging and helpful these are for our children. Hope I am wrong.