Try 6

WEBINAR - AT HOME WITH LEARNING TAKEAWAYS

The panellists, Dr. Shelja Sen, Ms. Nooraine Fazal, Mr. Arun Kapur and Mr. Anurag Behar together with our moderator Mr. Gaurav Saklani gave us many insights into what's happening in the new environment with lockdown and Covid-19 with our children, parents, teachers and schools across the economic spectrum. They discussed opportunities and left the audience with practical strategies. Diverse viewpoints and experiences were brought together on the platform.

IMPACT OF THE NEW ENVIRONMENT

 
  1. Each child is impacted differently by the lock down; depending on age, orientation (for example sporting/ active or introverted), family background and situation;
  2. Parents are stressed too and often take it out on the child but don't realise it;
  3. The child may be subjected to a triple jeopardy i. Children can not label what they are going thru; ii. Parents are caught up in their stress and not able to deal with it; iii. Our society doesn’t take care of children’s emotional needs;
  4. Parents tend to judge the child by the behaviour that the child exhibits ( crankiness brought about by being stuck indoors, not doing his/her home work, staying cooped up in his/her room, etc) and do not take note of what is actually happening to the child;
  5. There is a flip side; if the child is back at home and the environment there is supportive , then there is learning happening on many dimensions for the child (social , emotional , spiritual , physical and cerebral); Some children (in the proper environment) seem to be enjoying the extended vacation;
  6. Teachers in private schools have reskilled themselves and put in a lot of efforts to go online; negative perception impacts their morale.
  7. The focus on content in schools may result in a society that over-schools and under-educates.
  8. For a large part of India, curriculum and education is not quite the issue now. The lower middle class person may have been dragged into poverty and children may have been co-opted into the labour class to support the family / income and therefore its not education that worries them but livelihood;
  9. Many children do not have other the hardware or connectivity to attend online classes; Anurag Behar referred a research that showed 45% of homes had a smart phone only with the head of the family; this is therefore another vector which is creating a completely differential opportunity for different classes of society.
  10. Teachers and school authorities and educators have no rule book and no play book to guide them in terms of what is needed; everyone is grappling with the reality and doing the best they can;
  11. Syllabus completion seems to be a big concern in schools.

OPPORTUNITIES IN THE NEW ENVIRONMENT

 
  1. Schools are not the only place where education can happen. This may be an opportunity to get out of the silo of academics. Rather than learning things separately (physics, math, geography) there is an opportunity to develop education in a radically different way. Learning may have to break away from the school. Therefore reclaim the learning space and get away from schools alone. Thats the opportunity. Online tools can be used to stimulate adults and remove the shackles of schooling;
  2. Education must go beyond college admission; teaching children 4 Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) is a must.
  3. Parents have realised that in some sense they have “outsourced” parenting to the school for 7-8 hours of the day; This realisation may translate to investments in child care
  4. The schools too are realising that they are part parents and must look at the investments needed in building the right attitude, values and skills in their capacity building.
  5. The social notion of “success” being one of hustling/ hoarding/ winning is something that society must reconsider; we have set a treadmill culture that is harming our children and the planet. Children are not passive recipients we need to ask them what they mean by success. Children are wired to question the dominant way of thinking and we need to ask them what their dreams are.
  6. Education must focus on “how to learn” and not “what to learn” ; content itself is getting obsolete rapidly in many areas therefore the need to learn “how to learn”!
  7. If some parts of curriculum are eliminated now, opportunity to relook at it and make the cut permanent to reduce content.

PRACTICAL STRATEGIES THAT CAN HELP CHILDREN BE "AT HOME"


Adults need to be happy in order for kids to be happy. They can:
  • Cook. It brings love, compassion and sharing (don’t burn the dish though!);
  • Recognise that everyone has needs; recognise own needs first and help others where possible - this time will be remembered for what people are facing ... so go out there and do something. Cross the street, help the auto driver, help the slum dweller;
  • Get outdoors if possible, meditate, read, spend time bonding with friends and family;
  • Develop PQ (Playfulness Quotient) - be silly, do embarrassing stuff, dance and have fun; It destresses and helps connect with children
  • Let's not get too serious - go running or go for a drive as a family;
Parents and teachers can help children by:
  • Taking a chill pill. Let go of the view that your (adult’s) way is the only way or the right way. Don't be judgmental;
  • Practice your PQ with children;
  • The Avatar greeting of “I see You” is a great practice. To be able to communicate to the child that “I see you”, try to remember someone whose eyes lit up when they saw you and be that person for the child;
  • Empathise with the child and be compassionate if things don’t happen; it's time to let go of routine and discipline and be with the child;
  • Give them choices, do not lecture, but ask;
  • On any problem (screen time etc. ), listen to the child from your heart. Practice the You/Me/Us routine - You listen (and the child speaks)/ You speak (and the child listens) / Both of you reach an agreement.

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