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Are primary schools of the New Era an ineffective Habitat for our children?

Monday, 13th of May 2019

If you had been to the primary schools three decades ago, you would have had the opportunity to see them play with fun, joy and excitement. But unfortunately, we live in a society today who would think twice to invest time and effort on their loved ones. Eventually it is no wonder that they have lost the opportunity to witness the natural excitement and talent of their own children, and instead, mathematics and science have become an important part of the child’s life that they spend much time and effort.

What is actually happening here?

The truth is that the actual teaching process has evolved and has reached to a consistent teaching method. It is now classified as the standard teaching process for this generation. Thus all these children are regulated to pursue education towards a set target. But little to no attention is given towards the fact that this will affect their natural learning process. The main problem of this teaching process is the “uniform plan” for all children. Where there is a general teaching plan for all the students regardless of their individual capabilities or capacity. Therefore, unfortunately the individual needs, talents and abilities found in each child is missed to be noticed nor paid attention to.

But nevertheless, they enforce this general teaching method in the name of personal attention which anyway leads the children to march towards this set goal. Objectives are set for the children by primary schools to reach this goal and their talent is measured in an unreasonable fashion. This method created by the adults allows to identify children who are compatible and interested with their set goal to be talented, ideal and skilled. Whereas the rest of the children are categorized as unskilled or someone who needs improvement. But this primary school teaching methodology fails to show the teachers and parents the other needs, skills and talents that category who are not compatible with the set plan posses.

But Why is this teaching method still in use?

There are social, economic and political factors in Sri Lanka for this common goal of teaching to be in operation. In the early 1980s, the primary schools were found to be limited and they were just in operation as a day care system. But in the 90s when women began to find jobs due to economical conditions and social needs, the primary schools with such difficult teaching process have been increasing rapidly and become a common necessity today. But this difficult and universal curriculum has changed the education system that was different for the wealthy among the primary schools in the early stages and has created a common platform for both the rich and poor which is commendable.

But thus said today they have become Primary schools that have complex education suitable for adults than education than can be catered to children. If you had gone to any business meeting, you would notice that someone would talk and those sitting in front of him keep listening. This is the same reality you would witness If you get an opportunity to visit the primary schools nowadays. The fact behind this is that parents have developed fear and a high level of concern about their child’s education. The increased use of social networks for these two decades has paved way for Social health information and public information to be amountlessly available in the hands of today’s parents.

This undoubtedly and naturally increases their fear and concerns regarding their children. So they prefer the primary schools that their children are learning to be safe and the best. And what could be safer than just sitting arround quietly? The undeniable truth behind this is that the number of casualties in primary schools has been reduced by 60% today. But This has also led to Today parents’ expectations grow quite a lot regarding the matter of education and what their children can deliver. It moves them to encourage full-time regular study of their children rather than let them pursue their interest in sports education for example.

According to my estimates, low-income parents and less educated parents are more likely to encourage their children to pay more interest and attention in regular full-time education rather than sports or other sectors. They encourage their children chasing best results in class rather than they getting the appropriate education to suit their needs and desires. And they strongly believe that their children will become better products by engaging in the difficult learning system in operation nowadays.These are the consequences which has gradually lead to Today’s primary education for children denying to suit their needs, but is designed and provided to suit the needs of adults.

Adults forget what it would be to a child and underestimate the degree to which children know what they need

The needs of Adults have become essential and a core aspect for determining the children’s primary education. They are also reluctant to accept the realistic fact that Every situation that the children confront in life are what offers the real opportunity to learn new things and learn about themselves. We are stifling their natural ability and talents by forcing a strict curriculum which is less relevant to develop cognitive skills. The absence of awareness regarding this issue among adults is largely the root cause for the problem. Children have unbelievable skills to learn, for instance a ten-month-old child has the ability to identify multiple languages at the same time and also understand it.

Adults who have misunderstood this unbelievable ability have started to impose more and more information towards the children’s brain. But it is unfortunate and sad that they forget the actual fact, that these children develop their incredible ability from funny happenings around them and not with information forced to them. For example, when children play together they gradually learn many things like how to behave with their playmates, the quality of sharing and waiting patiently towards their turn etc. These are social attributes that they learn by themselves. In fact, they are more effectively exercised when learnt this way than learning them in books because these are qualities that they have learnt and developed with a hint of fun.

Many of the adults have forgotten this and as a result, the primary schools today have given tremendous importance to only education matters and have been converted into ordinary schools. Today, many popular schools have added primary schools as part of them and children are sadly exposed to the same environment. The intellectual capacity of children and classification of their success is based on the limited knowledge adults have regarding them. We use many of the measurements used for adults to measure the skills of children as well.

The consequences of this leads to punish them with kneeling and refer to them with unnecessary names. If a child develops growth in another interest without a desire for a particular teaching environment, the adults will then immediately identify the child to be having an “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD) and even offer exercise to rectify it. In fact, the child has no such thing and there is no doubt that this will have a mental impact on the childhood. 

Ignoring limited resources has questioned the effectiveness of primary schools

Today we have learned more about the child’s mind and their effective methods of learning. We also know that the education system should be developed in a way to make them grasp the information in an effective manner. But why do not we come forth to allocate necessary resources to aid this? Today some primary school teachers are struggling to close the gaps and obstacles in the learning and development process in favour of our future children. But the salary that is offered for their undisputed service brings disappointment to us. But the pay is not just the only problem here. The lack of training towards the new era’s education needs for these primary school teachers is also a major cause.

They use the direct teaching method they were trained on as their mantra. Therefore, it is rare for them to create a relationship to connect the dots for the actual education need of the children. These teachers will be able to execute effective teaching methods with children if appropriate training is provided on time. The most important issue is the lack of draft regarding the benchmark of primary school resources in Sri Lanka. Many primary schools are found throughout the country without even the basic environment, health values and resources. At the same time, we offer many other resources and care for our children in many places but completely ignore to realize about what they really need.

Trusting relationships with teachers and an active learning environment that incorporates play are key to a child’s development

You may think that the fun games and activities will not teach them anything. But the truth is that they learn more from it and it has a huge positive impact in the learning process. Because this is a fun way for them to learn from and what they learn this way will deeply resonate to their subconscious mind. The wrong idea in our adult mind set is that playing is the opposite of learning. But fun game and activities really helps make the hardest step of learning become an easy process. The practice of playful gestures in mammals is generally used for their lifesaving activities.

Highly intelligent mammals such as elephants, chimpanzees and dolphins are very interested in engaging themselves with fun playful activities. The experience that they have obtained from their play activity is given more importance than the emphasis on their instincts. Thus said, the Relationship with the teachers’ who provide an environment for children to learn is as important as the learning process with play activities. Because the effectiveness of the positive learning activity of the children highly depends on the relationship they have with their teachers.

For instance, if a teacher question’s the children how the image of Sri Lanka looks like, he or she should try to get an answer from the children by combining it with some fun filled activities. That is the best way to reveal the answer rather than teaching it to them directly. This method is appropriate for all teaching algorithms. The first step of the learning process is to make the children engage in finding the answer, and this is the way to help them grow their pace in lear ning and development. Usually children are more likely to learn by self-motivation rather than us trying to feed information directly.

Why should we Focus on an Individual learning environment?

Whether the primary schools are aware of the needs and if they are ready to work for the personal development of children are the major game changer here. Therefore, primary schools should not aim to showcase our goals to children but it should instead create an environment for need based teaching and learning. The individual learning and development method should be adapted to fit the Children’s skills instead of the academic curriculum that interrupts this primary effort. This skilled education method is more widely effective in children’s development than the fact-based education system. The ability to organize, solve problems, to gather information and communicate effectively are skills which can be easily developed through the skill based education system. 

Why should our undivided attention focus on the learning and Development of Primary Schools?

Primary schools are the foundation of our children’s complete academic system. The change in it will have a deep impact on the child even after he or she has grown up. Learning with Playing exercises transmit more capabilities and it can act as a key role in their continued learning process. Further, if a child learns the ability to co-ordinate in the primary school, then it will be more efficient in time management and planning in future. Likewise, if the importance of the child’s personal development is offered through education, the student will continue to pursue and create opportunities to learn it in all ages and time to come. “In which he or she will be undoubtedly successful”.

V Janagan

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