24 April, 2009

Changes to the Existing Education system: some ideas

I don't know if there is anyone on this forum who can influence the educational system in India, but if there are, I would be glad if they can take a look at my suggestion and see if they are any good. The following ideas are based on my own experience of studying in this country, and what I felt I missed out on.

I would like to suggest 2 extra formal subjects of study between class 5-12 in India:

1) India today. Current affairs.

News. Political/scientific/economics/any other topic which catches the fancy of the child. Each child is expected to bring in a piece of news to class and talk about it and state his opinion on it. Later a discussion about this topic can take place with the whole class.

- Encourages child to develop reading skill

- Developes his GK

- Ability to think and have an opinion with reasons

- Ability to reason with others and draw conclusions

- Increases awareness of different things going on around the child

- Encourages the child to understand his area of interest from a younger age

The teacher of this subject should also be able to help the child correlate their findings with similar situations in the past, so that the child is able to look at history as a feedback to the making of the future.
The child should be marked on:- Correctness of the news- His/her grasp or understanding of the topic- Ability to defend his point of view

2) Class of invention and innovation:

This class should encourage the child to think out of the box. To do something new. To come up with new ideas. To create something. It can be made into a fun class where each child is expected to come up with

a) A new word (with reasons ofcourse, so that they can dig up roots of word and stuff)

b) A new device (and how they plan to design it)

c) A new strategy

d) A new art form

Basically anything original, which has not been done before.Some of the lessons could be extempore (in the class topics, and make the children come with new ways of designing/doing/executing/planning it.)

The child can be marked on -originality of the idea, -it's usefulness, -it's appeal/popularity with other children in the class, -the effort taken in the development of the idea (how well thought out is the idea)

Another subject which could be better dealt with is Mathematics. The following are the modifications I would like to make to it

1) Should make the subject more visual. Sometimes we have a problem with mathematics, because it is difficult to visualise things like complex numbers, calculus etc.

2) Should give a good idea about the application and usefulness of the different mathematical tools from everyday life.

3) Should encourage use of different computer tools like matlab/mathcad and I am sure there are cheaper ones as well, which make it fun and simple for students to grasp the subject.

4) teachers should take extra effort and come up with different teaching aids to help children think of (any subject, not just) maths as a fun, easy to learn and useful subject.

And finally, the marking system should also be revised. Yes it is a competitive world and we want our next generation to be prepared for it, but at what cost? Do we want them to be little robo-lets, who spend the most important part of their lives, their childhood, memorising facts? I hope not!Why don't we have a more unbiased system which gives importance to sports and arts? Why does the student who never plays a single game, or sketches or sings or dances come first in class because he did well in his theoretical subjects? Whereas an athlete who does exceptionally well in sports, comes last in class only because he didn't score as much in other subjects? Why not make it difficult to come first as well as last in class? why not make tuition classes a thing of the past, by making learning in school easy and fun?

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Blogger fuse me said...

You know in making a better education system, we need better teachers. With teachers who have been taught in the same education system, can they think out of the box to teach the kids? With every innovative and subjective component added to the education and examination, the teachers have to be adept at assessing this. Are the teacher's adept?

Then where do we start? With the teachers? Then how about the teachers trainers. They need to be awesome to remove the old school blinders from the aspiring teachers and make them think out of the box, so that they can in turn allow the children to learn out of the box thinking.

I remember that we had an art teacher who would come every art period and say. Draw whatever you want. She would go around and make comments and suggestions and encouragements. That was it. I used to draw a scenery everyday. All that used to change were the shapes of the mountains and the direction of the river, locations of the farms. And she one day asked me, why don't you draw something different today. I told her.. ya, I draw something different everyday. See the shapes of the mountains are so different. She just smiled left me alone to continue.

I never appreciated her back then. But I do now.

25/4/09 13:40  
Blogger @lankr1ta said...

I would suggest a more comprehensive course in world history. Not merely reciting NAM principles and looking at the world in a cursory sort of way- but really understanding things like the Holocaust( we are woefully inadequate in the study of that at any level- why else would Hitler be looked on as an "Management Guru" http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/channel/Finance/news/899622/is-hitler-really-indian-management-guru/). We need to understand where India is in a global perspective not just how great her past has been.

27/4/09 07:49  
Anonymous Aradhita said...

Ananth, yes true, I do agree that the teachers should have the vision too. But hey, look at us, we are people who are coming up with these ideas, and we havent been taught in similar fashion... I think the budding new generation of teachers can easliy made to see the sense in this approach, don't you think?

@lankr1ta, thanks for the comment. Yes I agree with you, History should be more from global point of view, and help us develop into world citizens rather than having a very narrow outlook of the past...is there any way at all that we can get the system to take note of these ideas?

27/4/09 16:38  
Blogger Tathagata Ghosh said...

liked ur blog.
this post enthuse me to think more on such matters...
i can recollect 1 or 2 of my teachers who came up with sort of sincere endeavour in this regard and started to set in some changes thereof.
but those attempts went futile as days after days call for such reforms remained unheeded to our principle and managements.execution of their noble rational plans were left as dreams...

in the long rat race of life,idiotic education procedure,wanky headed system of marks distribution,erroneous syllabus,has ultimately turned us into a headless nomads yet to find his goals...

2/6/09 00:28  
Anonymous Abhishek Mishra said...

Pay teachers well, employ better teachers, continuously assess teachers to keep them tight, let them mix their ideas and style into teaching, so keep the guidelines and syllabi flexible for such dynamism, and most importantly we're in serious lack of independent thinkers coming out of the education pipeline, I've felt so, so, encourage independent thinking and decision making skills at grassroot levels.

24/6/09 04:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so many big names and no updates!

29/11/09 20:41  
Blogger Sangeeta R. Goswami said...

Hii Aradhita,
Me and some of my friends have started an E magazine called Reader's Quotient, it is totally for a noble cause of funding education to needy children, I came across your blog in my quest to search talented writers for the e zine and felt worth to inquire if u shall be interested to come along with us
If yes pls contact us at sangeeta.goswami@readersquotient.com

Awaiting your revert


12/5/10 19:37  
Blogger Sahasi Padyatri said...

Good ideas. I am very close to my children, who are growing up as intelligent rebels against the education system. I was one myself, and I like to flatter myself that I escaped the "system" with my sanity intact and my personality whole.

I wonder if you have read a book called "De-schooling Society" by Ivan Illich? Oldish book, written in the '70s or '80s, I think. There are also books by John Holt on the subject.

There's a lot of practical work to be done in this area, and I am a practical man. Do get in touch.

98215 88114

19/1/11 20:52  

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