The great RUSH story !

13th February,2014
1.30 P.M

Since my previous post on Vasant Panchami day, the spring season has ushered in not only beautiful flowers and a spring in our steps because of the wonderful weather, but also a new season-The  'RUSH' season (which is only present in the lives of us parents) - A rush for admission, A rush to coaching classes, A rush to revise for exams and A rush to... a keen observer and a participant of the whole scenario myself, I feel like saying hold on, take a breath (not to say that I am not guilty of exactly the same), give yourself and your children a break.  

Among all these rushes let me concentrate on only two right now.So let's rush to the first rush i.e Admission.Regarding admission to schools(since we are talking about kids, so I will restrict myself to school education only) I will only say that ultimately a child's profile is built by many stakeholders.The major ones being- parents,home environment,teachers,school environment, and the school itself in terms of infrastructure,its name and reputation and the head.Out of all these, the school is only one of the factors affecting the child. Agreed, in terms of exposure to good pedagogy the school does matter.However,not getting admitted to an institution of your choice can certainly not be the be all and end all of a child's education, neither can it be made a prestige issue or a milestone to be achieved by hook or crook.Come on chill (as they say)! else our thoughts and behaviour are going to affect the child's long term attitudes,values and behaviour too.

The next rush, is the rush experienced by parents near exams.Now let's see how parents can support a child if a child is not doing well academically in some or many subjects(not necessarily only near exams).

Well, first of all be very clear that the goal you have set is not just your aspiration but, also reflects an achievable target for your child (with hard work and your help of course). Any how, shouting at the child near exams,making him sit with books whole day,having a curfew like atmosphere at home is not going to benefit the child.Rather all this is going to add to the nervousness, thus making him commit may be more errors.

Listed below in this regard, are some measures that I have found to be useful over the years. However, you must remember we are talking about kids and us, that is, about human beings so there can be no one size fits all theory.You have to keep on mixing, matching and adapting things to your needs.

  • Be an example for your child by showing him how to struggle with a task,not give up and then succeed.
Talk through your own thought process and your problem solving process, so your child can learn how to handle difficult things.It is not necessary that you do it for academic problems only.For example if you have to fit some articles in a box/carton and are faced with the problem of how best to do it so that there is no spillage and no breakage.Let your child hear you think aloud about various possibilities, trying them out maybe not succeeding at first and then arriving at the correct solution .
  • Celebrate Improvement.
Rather than concentrating on acing a test or assignment, focus on improvement and celebrate it. Let the child come up level by level.(In fact that, is what formative assessment is all about-however we shall talk about that in another post).
  • Focus on your child's strengths while working on his weaknesses.
Set tasks so that he experiences success in some.This will give him confidence and a will power to go ahead and tackle what he still needs to work on.You can also involve him in some non academic activity/project at which he can excel thus increasing his self confidence.Do not eliminate the activity if he is not doing too well in academics rather reduce the time spent on it.
  • Be positive, earnest and supportive as your child learns new things and faces new challenges.
  • Eat meals together and show a genuine interest in your child's day.
Don't just rubbish away his fears and joys howsoever insignificant they might seem to you.Keep up with your child's routine and plans, as staying connected  with him is crucial to supporting his academic success.
  • Put small notes of encouragement and appreciation (as appropriate) at various places at home and as a surprise, sometimes in his lunch box too!
These work wonders in keeping the morale up and are again an education in themselves.(The notes can be pictures or text or both depending on age).Kindly note the appreciation should be for well deserved achievements-false or unwarranted appreciation will do more harm than good to the child.
  • Teach your child how to use a planner.
  • Establish a review time each evening.
  • Use a small white board in your child's room -to brainstorm ideas or to show your thought process/ to recall frequently forgotten facts/spellings/formulae / to post reminders.

Signing off with these pointers, every instinct of mine tells me to wish all the best and a patient & cool head to all parents.That, is what is going to spell out success for your child. So good luck!-bonne chance! as they say in french.




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