The Whole Child Approach in Education
Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded – Jess Lair
The above stated quote holds especially true in today’s scenario.Students have now become more aware about their interests and there are numerous factors that influence their behaviour and attitude. A student’s learning is determined by his/her social as well as emotional state. For optimal learning to occur, the emotional and social well-being of the students should also be examined and addressed and this forms the Whole Child Approach. The purpose of the Whole Child Approach is not just to enhance students’ academic performances, but also contribute to their comprehensive development. A whole child approach, which ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success.
Application of the Whole Child Approach in the classroom
Nowadays, schools have designed their curriculum in such a way that it caters to all categories of students and their needs. Gone are the days when teachers used to teach in a typical and emblematic way of rote learning, through chalk and duster method,and taught with books. Using the Whole Child Approach often begins with building a community within the classroom so each child feels known, safe and valued, then extending that community to the school at large, through parent and school staff involvement, and finally to the outside community at large. The Whole Child Approach is a tool to prepare and equip the child to become a responsible member of the global society—an important step towards thinking globally in terms of a more amicable, harmonious, positive and happy place to live.
Ways to Create the Whole Child Approach in Your Classroom:
1. Ensure that each student feels protected and secure in every way at school.
2. Create an integrated and well-rounded curriculum, which includes art, music, sports, etc.
3. Prepare an array of strategies for each aspect of the curriculum that target individual skills, abilities, and challenges.
4. Teachers should act as counsellors and mentors, rather than be dictatorial and autocratic.
5. Ensure there are a variety of assessment protocols—the school does not rely only on regulated assessments (tests) to check improvement, but uses portfolios, teacher observations, individualized counselling with students, and student self-introspection.
6. Make available a wide variety of materials and approaches which are beneficial for the students.
7. Assimilate practical life skills such as cooking, maintaining the classroom environment, helping others, cursive writing, public speaking, participating in various events and competitions,helping elderly people, animal care, take care and save our environment, and so on into the school day through a variety of diverse strategies.
8. Incorporate technology and various tools for communication that help students to understand the topic better.
9. Imbibe amongst the students appreciation and regard for other cultures and beliefs.
10. Encourage students to come up with suggestions and incorporate them in your daily teaching. This will make them feel how important it is for them to give their feedback.
These ways and strategies definitely vary from student to student and teacher to teacher. It completely depends on the prevailing situation as to which strategy to be applied with which student. We must remember that ‘Every child is unique; they just unwrap their packages at different times’.
Vaneet Kaur is working in G D Goenka Public School,Greater Noida, where she teaches Business studies and Entrepreneurship to the senior classes. She has B Com (Hons) and M Com degrees from the Delhi University, and has also done B Ed and M Phil. Currently she is pursuing Ph d in Commerce and Management. She has won many prizes – foremost among them is the first prize in Inter School Teachers’ Quiz Contest and an award from the former HRD Minister, Smt.Smriti Irani, for excellent class results in Business Studies. She has written many articles for students about how to score good marks and how to prepare for board examinations.