These days from the moment I wake up till the second I sleep (and probably while I sleep too:)) the one question that I worry about is whether or not to enroll M (my almost 9 years old daughter) in boarding school next year. Though ‘next year’ hardly sounds pressing, the decision is urgent since forms for the next academic session are accepted only till May, this year!
I am myself a boarding school product. having spent 17 years in the boarding, I had assumed, this was one decision I was never going to agonize over. But then, I was never a mother before. Mothers agonize over everything. And since education is one of the most ‘respectable’ issues to agonize about, it has been on my mind. And it should be on your mind too If you are a parent or plan on being a parent ever
Is the new experiential system of teaching really better than the traditional system that most of us as Indian children experienced? If the traditional system has worked for them shouldn’t it work for us?
or this really scary thought
What if fifteen years down the line, educationists realise that rote learning wasn’t so bad really?That it is good to introduce children to competitions from the beginning. That ranking a child actually gives them concrete goals and helps them be practical. As it lets them know exactly where they stand. Sort of grounding them in the real world as opposed to living in a fantasy world where everyone is a winner.
To mull over this and other stuff like this Visit me at Parentous.com
Here is an excerpt from what I’ve written
Most of us who are parents today have been educated in the traditional way. In our times rote learning was acceptable and even desirable. It was not uncommon for our generation to be made to rattle off long English poems or tables of 18 and 19 to every guest who came home, while our parents beamed at us proudly. “Rattafication” was emphasized upon.
Teachers still gave punishments and homework wasn’t confined to weekends. Sports were something you did for fun, not for overall development. Science was the only option for boys , commerce was acceptable if you were really struggling with academics and allowing one’s son to opt for arts meant acknowledging he was a ‘lost case’.
By the time we grew up and stepped into parenthood the whole educational philosophy had turned inside out. Suddenly, ‘Education’ became a tool for encouraging creativity, increasing curiosity and experiential learning (At least on paper and in principal’s opening addresses!).
No wonder we feel lost in this new rhetorical maze. When I went to collect my daughter’s first report card, I discovered it is no longer fashionable to ask what your child ‘ranks’ in the class. I was foxed by the O’s, A’s, B’s on the colorful greeting card like thing the teacher handed out to me.
After five-minute conversation, about how neatly my child ate, how quiet she was, how she was the star of the class and other such niceties, when the teacher still didn’t say anything about my daughter’s academic performance. I asked her, “But how has she done?” “She has done well”, I was informed. “What does well mean?” I asked. I had observed another parent, before me, being reprimanded for asking his son’s rank in class. So I refrained from using the word. Instead I said “How has she done in relation to other children?” “She has done well”, was the prompt reply.
Bye! See you…….. I am leaving for an exceptionally long family vacation on May 15th. I am hoping I will have more time to write then. I can hear you ‘tut tut’. I know! vacations are not the best time to write. But there is never any harm in hoping! It keeps me going! Hope !