A very interesting, interactive and extremely engaging session that I had with the Dean of the Primary Year Programme at Namnam’s school. I came out of the hall quite enlightened after hearing all that she had to say about the programme that the school curriculum had in place for its children. And reassured too. I sincerely hope that the programme does achieve the goal that it’s set out to. And that is to help all its children become internationally minded people.
So far I have been happy with how Namnam has been progressing ever since she joined this school. But, like any parent, I would like her to aim for a better reach. She has still a long way to go, but I’m convinced that she is being guided through the right path here. And I’m hopeful that if the school goes about implementing the methods and ideas that the Dean so articulately shared, then she can truly benefit and evolve as a person.
Let me just jot down some of the things that I, as a parent, took away from the meeting today:
Let go of how I learned back in school and embrace the method that my child is being taught in. I’m perfectly ok with it as long as the method is progressive. Having said that I must say that the school doesn’t mind an open-learning policy either. So if I believe that my method of teaching a concept to my child is simpler than how it is taught in school, then the school is encouraging enough to let her learn it my way as long as she has grasped the said concept well.
Encourage my child to ask questions. Oh yes I completely endorse that. I have time and again tried to drill into Namnam that she needs to speak her mind, not suppress her queries, instead express them openly. I particularly loved it when the Dean said that in this programme of learning
there is no such thing as a dumb question.
Oh how I wanted to hug her for saying that! So many a time, we hold ourselves back from speaking our mind thinking that we might sound dumb, don’t we? So here’s a school of thought that urges any hesitant mind to let go and open up.
Education has evolved, technology has evolved, allow my child to evolve too. I agree as long as technology doesn’t border on addiction and misuse. Education is not about rote-learning anymore. It’s become lot more interactive and research based where the focus is more on practical study of concepts. Namnam’s school has been allowing the use of ipads and other tablets from as early as Grade 4, for educational research, of course with stringent restrictions in place. Though I agree there is a grave risk of such devices being misused and kids falling prey to addiction, but there’s no denying that constructive use of these devices has helped children to become more independent and resourceful.
Teacher is a facilitator. I love the term which gives such a huge scope to a child to grow. A child doesnt need to blindly follow or memorize what the teacher asks of him/her. Instead the child has the freedom to explore the concept in his/her own manner and interpret it in his/her own way with the teacher’s guidance. The teacher facilitates an environment suitable for the child to learn.
Approach learning with fun. Do not freak out if my child doesn’t bring any homework home. I’m one of those parents who’s the happiest on days when her child does not bring home any assignments! So this particular take away sits well on me :). Jokes apart, I do get the point the Dean tried to make. Homework is not the only way to practice what’s been taught. There are other ways to ensure that my child stays in touch with her lessons, which I can approach in a more fun and practical manner.
Be constantly involved with the Unit of Inquiry. One of the core features of the curriculum that her school follows is that of an Inquirer. Each term a class is given a topic which the children have to inquire upon, do research, and make power-point presentations of their observation. interestingly this is one of Namnam’s favourite subjects as she gets to sit online and research and I can’t admonish her for spending much time glued to her screen!
Allow my child to be independent. Not just while she goes through her lessons. But in every other aspect. I need to learn to let go and allow her to explore her world independently.
Learning doesn’t stop at the school gate. The responsibility of teaching my child to become a risk-taker, a critical thinker, internationally minded doesn’t just begin from home and end at school or vice versa. It’s to be jointly shared and undertaken by both, the parents and teachers. And this process of learning has to go beyond as an an ongoing process.
Last but never the least, the take away that stays with me is that, we are all learners. The Teachers, the parents, the children all alike. I couldn’t agree more.