NCERT Preschool Curriculum Is A Huge Letdown For The Children Of India

NCERT preschool curriculum was launched in December 2019. Hold your breath – before this, there was no uniform curriculum, rather no curriculum at all, for the preschools in India. Again, hold your breath – even after the launch of the NCERT preschool curriculum in 2019, there is no uniform curriculum, rather no curriculum at all, for the preschools in India.

The Indian preschools have no curriculum/syllabus/governing body/standardization template is a truth stranger than fiction. Let’s limit the current discussion to the NCERT preschool curriculum, how it perpetuates the mess of no curriculum and syllabus for the Indian preschools and is a huge letdown for the children of India.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum Is Not A Syllabus

The curriculum is broad-based and defines the universe of what all should/can be included. The syllabus is focused and defines the sub-set of what is actually included. Curriculum matters to academicians and theory discussions, syllabus matters to teachers and hands-on practitioners. NCERT preschool curriculum, as the name implies is a curriculum and not a syllabus.

This is a bit strange. NCERT’s core function is publishing the syllabus. It has formed the syllabus of Class I-XII, even though pre-historic and aimless. The hallowed entrance exams of JEE and NEET go by the prescribed NCERT textbooks. Surprise, surprise, NCERT does not formulate the preschool syllabus but a preschool curriculum.

Due to the curious anomaly of a curriculum and not a syllabus, there are no textbooks. There are no defined topics and subjects. Rather, there is nothing definitive at all in the curriculum. Apart from scratching one’s head at the use of jargon and lofty objectives, the curriculum serves absolutely no purpose in understanding how and what a child in preschool should be taught.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum Is Not Mandatory

This one is a real bummer. One might think that now, at least we have a curriculum. Maybe, the syllabus will follow or the curriculum will help in arriving at the syllabus. Surprise, surprise, there is an asterisk – conditions apply. The NCERT curriculum is suggestive and directional; it is not binding on the states. It does not refer to being compulsory or even considered by the preschools.

NCERT might argue that this flexible approach will aid innovation and not strait-jacket and stifle on-the-ground initiatives. Well, we are Indians. We do not have a great history of following the required mandates, how are the preschools going to follow the curriculum which is not enforced? The NCERT preschool curriculum has as much probability to succeed as the law against littering.

Fails To Address The Inequity

The NCERT preschool curriculum document rightly identifies that there is a wide variety of preschool services in our country – Anganwadi, private preschools etc, which have a huge disparity in infrastructural facilities, teacher qualifications, curriculum and pedagogies. Brilliant observation. And, then what does the document do? Gloss it over. Move onto the next sermon. Brilliant strategy.

The children, basis the family they are born in, start their preschool journey with an advantage or a drawback. This would then become a recurrent theme of their lives. NCERT could have tried to address this inequity of learning opportunities for the country’s future. Maybe, it thought that it is the responsibility of the Government. NCERT forgot that NCERT itself is the Government.

Teachers??

Throughout the NCERT preschool curriculum, it keeps referring to teachers. This is what teachers should do/plan/execute, roles and responsibilities etc. Presumably, nothing wrong with it. Just that, how much actual scope do the teachers have in a preschool set-up? Be it in Anganwadi or private preschools, the so-called teachers are mere fillers with suspect qualifications and motivations.

The real decision-makers are the owners/management of the private preschools and the higher-up Government officials. They control the purse strings and are responsible for making the resources available or off limits for the children’s learning. What does the NCERT preschool curriculum have to say about them? Silence.

What’s going to be achieved in preschool learning by letting the sharks devour the fees and grants without any concurrent deliverables? NCERT is awesome in sermonizing and also dragging its feet.

NCERT Preschool Curriculum’s Aim

The above downsides and other equally dreadful measures are made further insufferable by the stated aim of the NCERT preschool curriculum: Preparing the child for school.

There is no more disservice and letting down of children of India than this. Are the schools not enough to snatch away the childhood from the child that another three years are added to the ordeal? That too, when the child is just about getting to know and experience the fun and joy of being a child.

NCERT could have put the aim of the preschool curriculum as letting a child be and enjoying childhood. It could have imparted more learning to children than the current redundant version.

What are your thoughts on the NCERT preschool curriculum?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Parent Involvement In Curriculum Development: Revamp Indian Education

I have written about the pre-historic and aimless NCERT syllabus. CBSE doesn’t even get into what the children should study. As a solution, I propose parent involvement in curriculum development. Curriculum development is considered a domain of the educationists in India. However, it is time for the parents to be involved for the sake of better learning of children.

Parent Involvement In Child Learning

The children’s learning has to be fun and engaging, hands-on and practical. It has to be simple and uncomplicated for the child to grasp. What’s so much expertise required that a parent cannot be involved in? The education cannot be convoluted that the people who have gone through the process cannot become a part of it.

Education is supposed to be inclusive and equitable. If this is the laudable aim of the curriculum, why should the process of curriculum development remain exclusive and restricted? If the goal is comprehensive learning, why have the scope be defined by a few individuals? Surely, egalitarian learning can only be further enriched with equal, open and free participation of parents.

The parents have the highest stakes in children’s learning. They know their children the best – how and what triggers their children to act, react and also, learn. The parents are the real-life practitioners. They have a better understanding of where the future is headed, what’s going to be in demand and what’s going to get extinct. And hence a view on what should their children study.

The parents are not equipped to design the pedagogical tools. However, they are well-suited to be involved in setting the objectives of the curriculum. The process of arriving at the broad contours of the curriculum can surely be collaborative. Once the framework is confirmed, the educationists can come up with a daily timetable to achieve the mutually agreed child’s learning.

Curriculum Development As A Reflection Of Society

Today, apart from the textbooks belonging to an era of no WhatsApp, no Instagram, no Amazon in India; does not mirror the context of our society and nation. The kids do not get to study about the future that they are going to inherit. The children do not get to learn about the mistakes in judgement their fore-fathers made, the consequences of which they endure.

Why would the ills plaguing the Indian republic at the time of independence – inequity, gender discrimination, casteism continue to date? Why would the Indian fabric remain divided unless united by cricket fervour? What do our children know about the biggest existential threat – climate change? For that matter, what do we, adults, know ourselves?

What could have led to this uncharitable output? Surely, the well-meaning education establishment never intended it. But, it is what it is. The educationists cannot shrug off their shortcomings in contributing to a nation’s fragile character. What they have done till now, working in a silo, protecting their turf, running a coterie, has not yielded the results. It has got to change.

The change is the parent involvement in curriculum development. It may not be an optimal solution, but it cannot get worse than what our children are being offered today in the name of education.

The Obstacles

Education is better left to experts and parents have better things to do in life are tried and tested lame excuses of yesteryear’s era. Better to lay them to rest. They have no role in shaping today’s learning environment for children. Also, we should not let ourselves be fooled by the lure of digital apps. They only recycle the trash and have nothing novel to show for themselves.

The only argument against parent involvement in curriculum development can be – it will lead to chaos. There will be anarchy with so many voices wanting to be heard. Well, if, we adults can’t handle ourselves and make sense, we aren’t fit to reproduce, leave alone ensure the healthy learning of our children.

An adult’s inadequacy to debate and mutually conclude is not the excuse for letting down a child.

The Way Forward

It will be too much to expect from staid and indifferent Government departments like NCERT and CBSE to take the lead for this. Private publishers/schools are supposed to be clued into the requirements of the current generation to equip them for tomorrow’s world. What better way to show their intent than to get parent involvement for curriculum development.

Not just parents, everyone should have a say – artists, scientists, workers, philosophers – one and all. Contributing to nation-building is a noble task and what better than being involved in a child’s learning. Actually, the best suited are the students who have just completed their schooling. They would know, how well they were prepared and what they have missed out on for the real-world interface.

Anyway, let’s take one step at a time. The first step is Parent Involvement In Curriculum Development to revamp Indian education.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

NCERT Syllabus: Pre-Historic And Aimless

Any idea how was the world in 2006, 15 years back? No iPhones, No WhatsApp, No Instagram. Youtube was just a year old. Amazon and Facebook had not entered India. Whoa!! 2006 was a different world altogether as compared to 2021. 2006 also had another significant event – the NCERT syllabus for Class 1 was launched. And, it has been the same ever since, for the last 15 years. Whoa!!

The NCERT syllabus i.e. the textbooks the children study for Class 1 in 2021 is the same that the children studied in 2006. This is beyond belief. The technological landscape has changed. The people’s exposures and expectations have changed. There is hardly any comparison to the people’s lives then and now. And, the NCERT syllabus has remained exactly the same.

The NCERT syllabus seems to be cast in stone that it remains what it was 15 years back. Today’s children have access to so many innovations and newer experiences and the NCERT syllabus designed in 2006. There can and will, of course, be several arguments as to why the NCERT syllabus won’t and can’t change in 15 years.

NCERT Syllabus: Pre-Historic

Ever since NCERT came into being or whenever the new syllabus is devised, roughly the same time-lines have been maintained – 15 years or more for the syllabus update. So, if the non-updation of the syllabus has worked till now, it might as well do so currently too. The past laziness is the excuse for today’s laziness.

Well, there is no guarantee that it worked in the past and surely, it is not working today.

The children’s learning requirements remain the same irrespective of time. No, it doesn’t. The external environment might have changed drastically, but it does not influence the learning requirement of children. No, it has. Yes, the basics of learning remain the same, but the time that it gets introduced and the pace at which the child learns is dramatically different.

A child will always remain a child. But, it doesn’t mean they get taught stuff from the cave-man era.

NCERT syllabus has been designed so perfectly well that it entirely serves the learning purpose for children in 2021. Any idea how many pre-schools were there in 2006 and now? How many children went to pre-schools in 2006 and go today? Keep aside the technology revolution; the pre-primary education landscape has undergone a sea-change in the last 15 years.

Could NCERT fore-see such changes in 2006 and make a syllabus that is equally applicable in 2021?

The smart learning/smart classrooms are the flavour of the season. Any school worth the “International/Techno/Global” lingo that they use in their names will vouch for it. Just that, it is never discussed what is taught in these smart classrooms. What constitutes smart learning for smart children?

What would be your guess of today’s children being smart by reading the same textbooks used 15 years back?

NCERT Syllabus: Aimless

The Government of India has brought in the New Education Policy. It looks brilliant at the top, all glossy. Just that, the NCERT continues with the same syllabus from 15 years back. It looks murky at the bottom, all dull and dim.

Maybe, the New Education Policy aims at the Old Syllabus Books.

The NCERT might say that they can change the syllabus. But that would be a change for the sake of change as the syllabus doesn’t actually require change. This would be farthest from the truth. The learning requirements have changed for the children in the last one and a half-decade.

How can the un-smart syllabus from 15 years back do justice to the potential of smart kids?

One might say that this is precisely why private CBSE schools don’t follow NCERT books and have their own pedagogical tools. There are ICSE, IGCSE and IB curriculums, too. Well, who sets the benchmark for Indian students’ learning? Where do the maximum students enrol? Whom does the state Boards look up to for inspiration? NCERT.

The aimless working of NCERT further accentuates the inequity of the Indian education system.

The Action Points

Forget the above gripe. As a parent, how do you feel that your child is taught what was 15 years back? Does yesterday’s learning inspire confidence in you about your child’s chances to succeed in tomorrow’s world? Do you think that we are doing justice to the country’s future by letting our children study from the era of no WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon in India?

If no, what’s the way out? What’s to be done for the sake of our children, who are being let down, terribly and completely? What can we, mere, parents do? There are, of course, no easy answers when the Government and the education establishment is part of the problem and not the solution.

I propose bringing the issue into the limelight and requesting the Government for parent involvement in curriculum development.

What would be your suggestions and ideas?

(Along with Class I, the NCERT syllabus of Class X and XII was also launched in 2006 and has remained the same ever since. Wonder what XII Science students will be getting taught about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automation etc? They might as well still be learning how dinosaurs roamed!!)

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Infantilization: Well-Intentioned For Adults, Misplaced For Children

Adults have multiple ways to screw up their interactions with children. Of course, no adult would actually ever want to put off a child, but they end up doing it nonetheless. One sure-shot way of achieving this unintended objective is Infantilization.

What Is Infantilization

Infantilization is treating children as younger than their age. Meaning, a 6-year old kid is treated as a 3-year or a 4-year old. It also refers to teenagers treated as 9/10-year-olds. It also covers people with developmental needs treated as children, when they might even be adults. Basis my experiences as a stay-at-home father, I will limit the discussion to 6-year olds (age of my twin daughters) treated as young kids.

Examples of infantilization can be many. Dumbing down of speech by the adult when talking to kids i.e. speaking in a child-like tone/manner. Asking the parent when the child is capable of answering the query about the self. Deciding on behalf of the child when he/she can decide for the self. Ignoring the child’s opinion. Not allowing the child to do an age-appropriate activity.

In short, treating the child as younger to his/her age. In other words, disregard the child for who he/she is, what is he/she is capable of doing.

Well-Intentioned For Adults

The adult thinks that the child should not feel challenged. The adult deems that the child should be made comfortable and consider protected. So, what better way to do it than to talk/behave like one? Also, there is no point in taking the child’s opinion or letting the child do what he/she wants to do. After all, the kid is just a kid. Toy with him/her for a while and shoo away.

The adult indulging in infantilization feels perfectly entitled to what he/she is doing. If ever asked why, the person will retort why not? The child is being treated like a child. What’s wrong with that? It is done to protect the kid from bad influences and make him/her happy. The adult feels that he/she should be commended for getting down to the level of the child.

In fact, this is the hardest one for an adult to get a message that he/she is spectacularly wrong.

Misplaced For Children

In today’s fast-paced world, kids grow up fast. Their exposure happens at a furious pace. They are capable of doing/knowing things better than their parents. With each passing day, they teach themselves a new aspect of life. After all, their learning environment is everywhere. And infantilization treats them like kids that they were ages ago.

Rather than getting any credit for their abilities, the child gets spoken to as if he/she is learning to walk and speak. The kid wants to be involved in every discussion and if he/she knows, wants to give an opinion and if he/she is unaware, wants to be explained. At the least, the child wants to be heard and the adult just won’t listen to him/her.

As an adult, can you imagine being treated at half of your age, or even worse 1/3rd of your age? Yuck!!

The Child Ages Nowhere

The kid keeps wondering why the adults won’t hear what he/she wants to say, won’t be allowed to do what he/she is adept at doing and to make matters worse, being spoken to childishly.  It doesn’t help improve the kid’s self-image. The kid comes out feeling left-out and worse, disrespected after such interactions. It doesn’t contribute to the growing up of the child in any manner.

The child doesn’t like talking to adults indulging in such patronizing behaviour. He/she starts to avoid the particular adult, which actually is a significant part of the adult universe, and that’s about it. The child starts getting labelled as a shy/rebel/difficult to communicate kid and it further deteriorates the situation. It happens over a period of time and it’s all downhill.

The child doesn’t realize, from being treated half his/her age, when he/she is being expected to become mature beyond his age. The child is at a complete loss in the adult’s world.

Dealing With Infantilization

There is an issue on hand – treating children as younger than they are. The adults are well-intentioned and misplaced. I have no idea how to get the message across that the child is mature as per his/her age and that, the adult is immature as per his/her age. That, the child is growing and the adult has stagnated in today’s fast-paced world.

Basis my experience, I find it safer to engage my daughters and get them to take the adult’s behaviour in their stride. I try explaining to them that they are fine for their age and should continue what they are doing. But, it is not at all easy for the kids to deal with the adult’s simultaneous childishness and pompousness.

There is no telling the adult and the kids are not to listen and understand. An act of goodwill by the adult leading to ill results for the kid. Never thought that such would ever happen, but it is what it is.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams

The government of India cancelled school and board exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An event considered indispensable, an event having 24*7 influences on the psyche of the students and the parents, an event bigger than education itself – Exams were cancelled. Imagine!!! Now, this leads to another idea – Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams.

It might seem outrageous and shocking. Exams to be cancelled!! And the parent’s right to cancel exams!! Well, after a certain age of 12-14 years, the students should have the right to cancel exams too. One might ask – Why and What for? One might answer – Why Not and What Not for.

Did anyone ever have the wildest dream that exams would be cancelled and students would be just fine? Of course, it doesn’t mean that because exams were cancelled once, they need to be cancelled again. However, it does mean that whatever was once considered sacrosanct and essential can be questioned and scrutinized. There is absolutely no need to carry past baggage just for the sake of it.

Parents To Decide What Is Learning For Their Children

Everyone agrees that learning is the most important aspect of growing up for a child. Now, it so happens that learning is imbibed in multiple ways and it also manifests in numerous forms. It has to be up to the parents to decide what learning means to them, how they interpret it for their children and in what form/manner they want it for their kids.

Some parents would want to opt for JEE/NEET and the sorts. Some parents would want their children to focus on studies but without the burden of future expectations. Few parents might want their kids to enjoy their childhood as a priority. Now, if the objectives are different, exams too should have different formats. Also, at times, no format, no exams. A format in itself.

Learning happens for every child but at a varied pace with diverse comprehension. Exams are too lazy an attempt designed by inept adults with no customization built-in for each unique child and her/his distinctive application of learning. If each child learns differently, the child also needs to be assessed differently. Also, at times, no assessment, no exams. An assessment in itself.

The parent knows his/her child best, what works for the kid and what can lead the child to perform. Now, if this is the case, they should have the decision-making power if they want their kid to go through the experience of exams, the age at which the kid should give exams and the flexibility to opt-in/opt-out too.

Children’s Mental Health Issues

Nowadays, even children are falling victim to anxiety and depression. Of the multiple reasons, the one that is right at the top is exams. Children get initiated into the rat race fairly early in their lives. Why and what for? Exams. Children start feeling burnt out even before stepping into their youth. The prime reason is exams.

The adults might say that exams have been there since time immemorial and all the children who went through the routine are doing fine. So, what’s the fuss? An answer: Their doing fine is no yardstick. Also, they feel that they are doing fine. There is no guarantee they are actually fine. They might not even know what they missed out on and what they might have become if not for exams.

With all the expectations and the prevalent norms, children mature quite early. If they realize and feel that they need a break, they might as well take a break. And, there is nothing to take a break from other than exams. Adults might scoff at the idea of 12-14 years old deciding for themselves. It may not be optimal, but it is no worse than the education establishment screwing them up for life.

If we expect 12-14 years old to prepare for an entrance exam that is another 2-4 years away, why can’t we expect them to decide on an exam they are giving now? Going forward, mental health issues are going to be of paramount importance. It is better that they get addressed in their initial stages, read exams, rather than grappling with them all through life.

Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams

The Government and the education establishment will say that parent’s right to cancel exams will lead to anarchy. There will be utter disorder and confusion. This will be detrimental to the child’s learning.

For one, the unhealthy and single-minded focus on exams themselves is detrimental to the well-being of the child, leaving aside learning. For second, nothing has ever stopped them from coming up with viable alternatives to the redundant exams. They might as well do now. It is time for the patronizing Government and the self-absorbed education establishment to get a shake-up.

COVID-19 has led to destroying many of the beliefs that we thought were central to our existence. Online learning and cancellation of school and board exams are a couple of such instances. We will be doing a great service to our children’s future by taking it a step further – Parent’s And Student’s Right To Cancel Exams.

What are your views on the subject?

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

4 Beliefs For A Successful Learning Environment At Home For Children

The education establishment promises to make diamonds out of our unpolished children. The best future is guaranteed for the child to get him/her enrolled in a school/app. In the midst of all these cacophonies, a parent might want to consider setting up a successful learning environment at home for children. If at all, I want to share our beliefs for making one for our unschooled twin daughters.

Children Learn, On Their Own

The underlying principle of the Indian education system is didactic – Children are to be taught. The education establishment carries the responsibility of teaching the children. The assumption being that the children are no good if left to their own. We, parents, have also subscribed to these assumptions and executions.

The history of human civilization shows that schools are of a recent origin. Forget it, irrelevant in today’s times. There are self-taught women and men irrespective of going to schools. Forget them, unrelated to our context. Children miss out on their childhood and being children, having fun for the sake of schooling. Forget it, the lure of cracking entrance exams is more enticing. Forget all these.

Who is the most curious person you ever met? Who is the person most open to picking up learning from any and every experience? The person who wants to experiment with stuff and doesn’t lose courage despite failing? Your own child, previous to his/her schooling, that is. The children get much less credit, rather no credit, than they deserve for their learning.

The children have the capability to learn wherever/whenever/however/forever. They have no desire to remain untaught; rather have the potential to be self-taught. They can well carry the responsibility of teaching themselves, should there be an expectation, should there be an enabling environment. They have the willpower and the application to self-learn.

Children can and will learn, on their own. This is the first belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Parents Teach, On Their Own

We, the adults, are world conquerors, super-achievers, supremely confident. We are the proud products that the world looks up to, of the education establishment. However, when it comes to our children, we are nowhere up to the mark. We are better off handing over our children to the education establishment at the earliest.

I am expected to do anything and everything, but not expected to teach my children. I am taught to do anything and everything, but not taught to teach my children. How is this possible? I am not able to get the irony. I am made to think that teaching children is the most complex of all tasks and it is better not done myself.

Well, the most important aspect of learning is questions and not answers. What’s important is that the child’s curiosity and inquisitiveness gets an open environment. What’s important is that the child gets secure and positive surroundings to question, try out and fail. Learning will emerge as a by-product of this meaningful learning environment with parent’s involvement.

Parents and children are most comfortable with each other. They are better off teaching each other and growing up together. Apart from rocket science, there isn’t anything that a child can’t and won’t pick from the parent. A parent’s word carries the most weight for the child to focus on, get motivated and learn along with.

Parents can and will teach, on their own. This is the second belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Assessment Is Redundant

The children learn and the parents teach. But, who will validate? Who will certify that the child has learnt and is learning? As always, the education establishment carries all the aces here. We are made to believe that unless the child is assessed i.e. the rote exams, there is no learning happened.

If Covid-19 has done any good, it is to take up the veil of utterly unneeded school and board exams. The exams are cancelled for the last two years. Last heard the children are doing well without the assessment. If the pandemic can allow the children to learn well, without the exams, the parents can as well do that task.

Children do not need a mark sheet to tell them that they are literate. They can read a book and do their math of counting and sharing. They can make an adult go speechless with their questions and can go on a nature walk themselves. The children are hands-on, open to experiences and have empathy for nature and fellow beings. That’s enough proof that they are learning.

Assessment is redundant, over-rated and uncalled for. This is the third belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

Time Spent With Children Is Time Well-Spent/Well-Invested

The modern world has instilled in us that adults are better off working – professionally and domestically rather than spending time with children and teaching them. Adults have to earn money and resources to invest in their children. But, they cannot invest themselves – their own time and efforts. We work so damn hard for the sake of our children, but not with our children.

This, in fact, is a larger theme than parenting. For it affects every adult’s life and what s/he perceives it to be – a rat race/going around in circles or pursuit of self. Leaving the scope for a later time.

I can invest in my child – time and efforts, directly, not just through money. This is the fourth belief for a successful learning environment at home for children.

A Successful Learning Environment At Home

To be honest, it doesn’t matter, successful or not, it is a term open to personal interpretations and a lot of other factors. But, the journey of the learning environment at home for children is surely enriching and constructive for all the participants. This topsy-turvy ride is laden with many self-doubts and I have shared my beliefs that keep us going with our unschooled twin daughters.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Parent’s Involvement Is A Must For A Meaningful Learning Environment For Children

Learning environment for children is everywhere. No matter what, children are going to learn – intended/unintended/anything in between. However, one ingredient is a must to ensure that the child’s learning is worthy, meaningful, and lifelong – The parent’s involvement.

The children go to school. They are exposed to a plethora of digital learning material. There is hardly a time available between their busy schedules. However, all this learning will be unproductive, pointless and lacking without one essential component – The parent’s involvement.

The schools don’t expect parents to play a role beyond paying the fees and turning up for Parents Teachers Meeting. The education establishment is perfectly fine with playing a saviour of a child’s destiny. The new-age apps are no different in their treatment of parents. However, none of these will deliver without the parent’s involvement.

What makes the parent’s involvement an indispensable element for a meaningful learning environment for children?

Classrooms Are Obsolete And Digital Is Not A Panacea

What’s the memory of your parents/grandparents of going to school? What’s changed between then and now? Apart from the usage of smart devices, what’s the difference? We say that the children have to be prepared for the unforeseen challenges when they go on to become adults. Yet, they get more of the same in schools that’s been going around for decades – classroom teaching.

Ok, the digital learning/apps are supposed to be the redeemers. They claim to shoulder the responsibility of preparing the children for the next level. However, what’s the difference between them and what the children get in schools? It is just a digital impersonation, cut-copy-paste of physical in a digital avatar. Nothing novel or path-breaking to aspire for.

So, what could be the difference? What could be the cutting edge intervention for children? The parent’s involvement. One might wonder – What could a couple of humans do for the better learning of their child when the mighty education establishment is not delivering? Is there really a scope for parents to impart learning to their children?

Well, the focus is not on giving answers to the child but on the quest for answers. Rather, the answers are not of any essence at all. What’s important is raising questions, exploring together, trying out assumptions and getting to answers is a by-product, if at all. Surely a do-able task for parents.

Learning Happens 24*7

The classrooms and the apps presume that there is a given time, a pre-defined format, a set template for a child to learn. They assume that learning happens for each subject in a silo and that, it has to be a standardized static rote. The net result – an unprepared child facing the world that has no resemblance to what s/he was exposed to in the classrooms/apps.

The learning for the child happens with each experience and every interaction, intertwined for each subject and topic. The learning for the child is a 24*7 real-world phenomenon, the whole lot wrapped up together in an unwieldy mess – which a child is perfectly suited to make sense of with her/his unique interpretation.

Withholding a child’s learning to a specific framework only limits the infinite potential of a child i.e. learning wherever/whenever/however/forever. There is no alternative to the parent’s involvement to ensure this.

Parents And Children Understand Each Other Best

For the task that is the most important to you, whom would you back? Your own self. For the task that is the most important to a child, whom would s/he be most comfortable with? With one’s parents. The most important task is, of course, learning. Yet, the child has to make do with unknown teachers/faceless apps as a learning environment; and parents focus on secondary/tertiary tasks.

It is a no-brainer that the child would learn the maximum from the parents. The parents can teach the maximum to their children. The stakes are the highest for the participants – parents and children. They are best suited to each other knowing the other person inside out. They know each other’s pace and customized personal requirements.

What is the meaningful difference between how our parents and we were taught and our children’s teaching? The education credentials have improved over the last couple of generations. Yet, the parent’s involvement has remained static in the participation of children’s learning.  The responsibility of a learning environment continues to be with the patronizing classrooms/apps.

A Meaningful Learning Environment

In the above scenarios of the archaic education establishment, 24*7 learning in a reassuring environment, what/where/how would you trust for your child to have a meaningful learning environment? With the parent’s involvement or impersonal and pretentious classrooms/apps?

Parents might be unprepared for the task on hand, but they can adapt/rework and make amends. They have the incentive to improve for the sake of their children. What’s the incentive for the education establishment to get better? Apart from self-preservation and maximizing returns, that is.

We, as adults, know that learning is the most important aspect for a child. We, as adults, also know that for imparting learning, for decades, classrooms have ceased to deliver any tangible benefits to children. Their digital avatars, the apps, aren’t any better.

If the children are to have a meaningful learning environment, there is only one way – The parent’s involvement.

What are your views on the subject?

PS: PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.