Green Blazer, Blue Blazer..

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.

Television-is it so harmful to children…

As it is made out to be??

I don’t think so. I know there will be many of you who think otherwise. Many of you may be from the school of thought that believes television stunts a child’s imagination. But I believe excessive viewing of television is what hampers a child’s functioning.

If a child spends most of his time in front of the TV then it is definitely going to harm him/her. If a child is told to watch TV because his/her parents don’t want to be disturbed while they chat with their friends on phone, or they want to go out somewhere, or they are simply too busy to attend to their little one, then yes, the child is being given a message that watching TV is the only worthwhile thing to do.

And this approach is adopted by not just the parents,mind you. I’ve seen care-givers like grand-parents, nannies/baby-sitters too, relying heavily on the tube when faced with the challenge of pacifying a wailing child or feeding a fussy-eater. TV is even what many turn to, to make children sit through while they go about doing their chores.

What I’m trying to say is we, adults, are the ones who drive our children to the point of addiction for television. If we know how to make use of TV in a constructive way, our children have much to learn from this medium.

I can cite my daughter as an example. She is a huge fan of Barney & Dora. The reason R & I acknowledge her watching the series is because Namnam gets to learn a lot from it. These shows are interactive that teach kids about alphabets, numbers, nursery rhymes with great deal of fun thrown in. They impart strong positive messages about values, good manners, optimistic attitudes by way of songs, skits & dance routines.

And another character she eagerly looks forward to watching everyday is Mister Maker. He is the one who helps her with her penchant for craft and painting. The amazing part is he always advises to make use of things that are available at home. He stresses a lot on recycling and re-using which I believe is a very valuable lesson that Namnam can imbibe.

So these are the shows that Namnam ardently watches. That’s not to say that she is glued to them through the day. She gets to watch TV for about an hour and half every day. That’s a condition R & I have laid down for her & ourself so that she gets a chance to indulge in other things too with as much fun.

This way she is able to grasp important lessons from the TV shows and put them to use in her life just like she gains more and more knowledge and gets to widen her imagination when R & I read books to her or when she plays with her blocks or creates shapes with clays.

I’m not saying this is the right approach to handle children. I’m no authority on that. But it has worked well for my child.

So long as we, as parents know how to keep the TV sets from ruling us and our children, then I feel there’s no harm in having them in our lives.