What it takes to spread the joy of learning at schools

"Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear."- Totto Chan. 

There are two bittersweet incidents of "Learning" from my primary school years that had a role in shaping my personality today. 

When I was in Primary school, I remember participating in a 400-meter race. I was excited about it. I don't remember practising for it, or my teacher encouraging me, but I ran 400 meters to the best of my abilities on the day of the competition. 

Even though I gave my best, I was not happy with the result. I had lost the race. I remember feeling upset, those last few seconds of failure were painful. After that day, I dreaded sports. I often look back to that day and wonder "What could have happened if only I received the right direction?" 

I am sure I'd have felt different if my teacher encouraged me before and after the competition. If only he told me that it's okay to lose but don't forget to give your best, or how to not be disheartened by failure and learn from it. Maybe I’d have loved participating and challenging myself. But, alas, it did not happen. 

The second incident is about my English teacher and how she inspired me. I remember Sangeeta Ma'am coming to the classroom and reading us a story in English for the first time. She had such a good accent and enthusiasm for the language that she inspired me to learn English on my own. Her passion for the English language stayed with me even after she was gone. 

Studying in a Hindi Medium School did not faze me or stop me from learning English. I never thought English was a difficult language to learn. I used to learn it every time I could, consciously putting in effort. Even though she was not there to help me much, she ignited a fire of learning in me. 

From my personal experiences, learning is a lifelong process, it brings you happiness and peace. 

It's about life, it's about us cherishing learning different things including becoming self-aware. Learning can help us define our values or positively shape our thoughts and actions. But before knowing how to spread the joy of learning, one must understand "Why learning is important." "What's the reason or motivation for one to learn something new?"

For me, it can be intellectual satisfaction or fun, it can be introspection, curiosity, reflection, competition and much more. But, learning can help one stand one’s ground, and become resilient.

I read a book once called "Totto-chan" where the author talks about the unorthodox methods of learning while simultaneously interacting with the surroundings and observing everything with curiosity. A teaching method where teachers have faith in the abilities and potential of the students and let their heart follow their passion. 

I believe teaching kids/students needs "Dedication, Passion, and Commitment." One cannot be good at teaching if one does not like learning. We need to understand that learning does not mean acing classroom subjects, it means learning about things that can enhance the quality of life intellectually, emotionally and professionally.

Everyone, including a teacher, has a huge responsibility in the early stages of school since a teacher must establish the right direction, mindset, and guidance for the child. One must exude enthusiasm and not make learning taxing for the child. One must have a creative side and zeal to explain, accept and understand students. 

I strongly believe that teachers should have a twinkling and flexible persona. To spread the joy of learning at schools, teachers must help students think out of the box and focus more on experiential learning.

Neetu Koranga 
My Good School

A fearful and Impatience Student: Siddhi RPKM

As teachers, we must always teach students what is right and what is wrong. 

But sometimes children hold fear of a few things in their mind because they have seen, experienced or heard something inappropriate about them. 

Recently, a similar situation was faced by one of our teachers in her class. One of her students was not courageous enough to meet the mic, so whenever the teacher asked him to participate in such activities or to conduct the morning assembly with his peer group, he always tried to escape the situation by making excuses. It forced the teacher to find the reason behind his behaviour. She came to know that he fears facing the mic. He did not want to become a laughing stock to other students if he failed to talk flawlessly. 

This was a challenging situation for the teacher. She tried to encourage him and helped him practice how to face the mic and overcome his fears by taking the help of his parents, mirror, etc. 

The teacher also told him the benefits of speaking his heart out. Gradually, the child practised and learned how to face the mic. He overcame his fear. 

Advice to educators:

If you have a fearful student, you must try to understand the situation he/she might be going through. As a teacher, you should not impose your perspective on him/her. 

A teacher must try to motivate and encourage the child after listening to the child's perspective about his/her fear. An educator must be careful of his/her way of promoting the child so it doesn't feel insulting or uncomfortable for the child to face his/her peers. This may help an educator make a fearful child fearless and courageous to face future difficulties simultaneously.

An impatient student is more challenging to deal with than a fearful student. Impatient students are hyper and impatient. They must be trained gradually to wait and think before speaking or doing any task. They should be taught that everyone will get a chance to speak or volunteer, and they must be patient enough to wait their turn. Teachers should remember that two students with different needs and personalities should not be compared with each other, as every student is unique. 

As a teacher, we face many such situations in our day-to-day life. So, let's discuss one of them:

A boy in the class was very impatient as he used to continuously ask the dispersal time of every teacher or classmate every two to three minutes. He was always ready to go home; he never concentrated on the classroom discussions and used to be desperate about his after-school plans. Due to this, sometimes it was challenging to deal with him.

So, the teachers discussed how to deal with this situation and decided to interact with the child or his parents to find out why he behaved. The teachers came to know that he never wished to go to school. His parents used to tell the child they would have a party or go for an outing after he returned from school. It ultimately helped the teachers know the exact reason for such behaviour. 

So, the teachers started to comfort the child in the school by having different activities which developed the child's interest to come to the school and have fun with studies in another way.

Advice to Educators

My suggestion to all my fellow teachers is never to give up on any child and to give them your time. Patiently listen, understand the reason for their behaviour and not judge them just on their superficial behaviour. We, teachers, can make a positive impression in the minds and lives of our students- We can be their guides who help them become better human beings.

A story connecting courage and patience:

Throughout our teaching career, we have experienced many situations in which we have shown courage and patience for our students.

  • A boy in a class used inappropriate language with his peers. Not only this, but he also warned them not to complain regarding his behaviour to the teachers.
  • However, one of his peers gathered some courage and told the whole situation to the teacher. She patiently counselling the child without saying anything related to the incident.
  • In this way, the child showed courage- to tell the truth to the teacher while the teacher maintained her patience and mended the ways of the boy who used to use inappropriate language to others.

Siddhi @ RPK School Moradabad

Sanskriti Tandon, Priyanka Ruhela, Lovely Singh, Swati Saluja, Soni Bhatnagar, Manjit Palit, Pooja Arora.

Good Schools of India Journal @ www.GSI.IN

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