Last week was a friend’s birthday and it’s almost an annual ceremony with us to call each other up on our birthdays to yak. I lived up to tradition and we caught up on gossip – starting from our eccentric college professors to our kids growing up faster than necessary.
She, being a teacher, had much to tell me about adolescent behaviour these days. Kids have no respect and no fear for anything she insists. Their callous attitude is fuelled by the guilt of their working parents – who believe that their child can do no wrong. The teachers get yelled at by the parents for no fault of theirs. What’s more with this new grading system, she says, discipline has gone completely awry. The average students get away with high grades because they score more in sports and other extra curricular. They don’t even care to submit their projects on time anymore. And then the ‘good’, hardworking students get lower grades because they can’t seem to do anything other than mugging lessons. My cynical views of course did not go down well with her.
This new system requires a complete change in mindset of parents, teachers and students. Thanks to our current very academic based system – we have stopped giving importance to arts. I salute Mr. Kapil Sibal who has been bold enough to make these changes and face a lot of flak! But this hopefully will mark a positive change in our education system. Children are not mugging machines – rather they are individuals with several hidden talents. If the education system does not help them unearth these talents – then what will?
Bad enough our children grow up ahead of times these days thanks to all the exposure. I feel if we curb their natural skills then they will become muddle headed idiots. While they feel like singing and dancing their momma’s are sending them off to tuition classes. They get no playtime. No avenues to expend their energy. They start functioning like robots. They become mugging machines. But they are capable of so much more.
My friend does not agree.
She feels Indians shine abroad because they are so knowledgeable. I feel Indians are only capable of doing mechanical work that simply requires them to follow an established procedure. No wonder we are thriving in the IT industry. But where are Indians when it comes to sports and performing arts? We do not seem to excel in anything that requires physical application, imagination and creative manipulation.
It’s incredible how imaginative and creative kids are… Shoes worn wrong look like butterflies on the feet (ha… ha… bet you never thought of it that way!). Rainbows happen when God blows his nose after shedding tears of joy. (Ok this one’s a little gross – but think about it phlegm is coloured!)
I have great hope in today’s little iPod generation. They are way too smart. Ten steps ahead of us. Way too perceptive and mature beyond their years. Just the other day my six year old and I were discussing fruits. We said Mango the king needs a queen. We kept thinking of a suitable queen – I suggested pineapple as she has a crown. “No mom,” says my little one, “but she is so thorny. Then the king will never be able to hug her.” Err… point taken!
I hope this generation of smart, imaginative, perceptive kids…save the day.