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Towards a Younger, Happier and Fulfilling Future for India’s Children

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September 14, 2017

Towards a Younger, Happier and Fulfilling Future for India’s Children

It is easier to build strong children than to mend broken men – this quote by African-American social reformist Fredrick Douglass, has never rung more true than during the present times. While preparing a child to be a global citizen and an achiever in adult life, somehow the fact that, he is a child who may find it difficult to cope with a demanding life at that age, is often overshadowed.

A 2004 research by renowned sociologist and best-selling author of Raising Happiness, Christine Carter, clearly records the direct correlation between adult happiness and childhood experiences. But, what are the factors ensuring healthy and happy development of a child? As suggested by Christine, child development is a complex derivative of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, and it is largely influenced by parents at home and educationists at school, the two places the child spends maximum time.

Teachers today are not just imparters of knowledge; they are also mentors and counsellors who need to be armed with skills to detect signs of early depression, aggression, destructive and other kinds of negative or harmful behaviour. This insight will equip them better in motivating and counselling children who face communication gaps, so that they can get necessary support for soaring over such troubles.

Education experts and psychologists strongly suggest building support systems in schools to nurture the mental health of students and build a positive atmosphere. In addition to this, training the teachers in simple classroom exercises can play a pivotal role in aiding them to be support givers. A recent research by University of Malta suggests that drawing exercises can help children break communication barriers. Recurring colours used by a child during such exercises can also be a window into inferring the psychological well-being of a child. The alertness on the teacher’s part can help channelise the student’s energy on to the path of growth and help him be self-driven and motivated towards excellence.

Students today have varying aptitudes, which could lie beyond traditional streams. Since they are far more exposed to the ongoings of the world than any other generation, they grow up visualising themselves as who they aspire to be. Schools providing the right work-play balance, help the students acquire theoretical and practical knowledge and aid exploration of academic and curricular spaces to realise their true potential.

This can result in either them becoming self-motivated to excel or demotivate them as being inadequate. Educationists need to lay emphasis on their becoming the best versions of themselves, which will help them set and achieve realistic goals, saving them from disappointment. In the case, the child finds himself buckling under the desire for good grades, support from the parents at home coupled with guidance and attention at school will ensure that he/she is able effectively to ace it all. When the child knows that he/she has someone to get support from and communicate with, it will certainly reduce the chance of him feeling lonely and distressed.

Given the fact that we live in a scientifically advanced world, technology can serve as the biggest boon in aiding the young future-makers with a fulfilling life ahead. Security cameras can help keep a watchful eye on the activities around the school campus, protecting children against bullying, sexual abuse or mistreatment. Furthermore, smart phones can serve as an efficient means to enhance teacher training and monitoring mechanisms via apps. An intra-communication system facilitates easy communication between parents and teachers, enables exchange of ideas regarding student welfare in order to empower them for providing a more positive atmosphere.

It may not always be possible to tell exactly what is troubling a student and where these troubles may lead to, but being watchful of the students certainly holds the key. In many cases, schools may be the last positive social connector for students. Acting on these warning signs, can help students achieve holistic growth. In some cases, technological innovations can even help save a life.

Asha Narayanan is a science postgraduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Earlier she was the Principal of St. Mary’s ICSE School, Koparkhairane, Navi Mumbai, which she headed successfully for a decade.

Before that she was a teacher at various levels at St. Gregorios High School, Chembur, Mumbai. Her interests include teacher training, designing learning environments, and reading the educational philosophies of great thinkers. She has taught a variety of subjects including English, Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental Studies, and Drama. She has been a teacher for over 20 years at the Primary, Middle and High School levels. At the CISCE level, she has designed the syllabus for Environmental Science for Classes IX and X. Asha took over as Principal, Lodha World School, Thane very recently. She is very keen to design a learning environment for the students, one which is dynamic and motivates the pupil intrinsically.

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