Effectively manage 40 children in 40 minutes period :


Effectively manage 40 children in 40 minutes – is a situation which most teachers in India dread. Albeit teachers have the intention of catering to every child but it seems an impossible dream to provide focus to each and every child, sometimes 45 to 60 children in a class with only 35 to 40 minutes. That’s less than a minute to each child, and then she has to finish her syllabus, check their notebooks, give them homework, enforce discipline in the class and the list goes on…

Schools and the school system in India have tried to crack this code by limiting the number of students in a class. But that is again an impossible task given the population of India, the number of schools and the number of teachers available. Some high end privately owned schools have had the luxury and funds to cap this but state owned schools have no choice but to have 50 to 60 children to a class. So, how to manage this situation? That’s the question that’s been haunting the Indian education system for years.

Let’s dismantle this problem piece by piece.

Step 1: The context needs a shift. Teachers don’t have 40 minutes with a group of 50 children. They have approximately 14 years (for a K-12 school) or 12 years (for a 1st to 12th school).This is a shift in the way we look at the time horizon. A very small percentage of children change schools. We need to shift this micro level view of a period of 35/40 minutes to a time period of a child in the school system. It’s not about a particular teacher impacting a child but a teacher impacting that child. The moment this shift happens the pressure of time with a child shifts.

Step 2: The shift which the teacher has to bring in her view is that she is not teaching a class but a group of individual students. She needs to start addressing individual students versus addressing the class as a whole

Step 3: Know your student. Spend time in getting to know each and every child in your class. As a teacher you may be shocked at this suggestion. Where is the time – would be your question. There is a syllabus to complete, then FAs, SAs, checking, sports day, annual day and other functions and the list goes on. As it is we don’t get enough periods to teach. But remember students don’t listen or don’t respond because they are not connected to the teacher. Once the connect is made they respond and respond quickly. If you invest the first few periods in building the connect then it pays off really quickly and in a large measure.

Step 4: Move from being a teacher to a facilitator. The era of teacher being a knowledge provider is long gone. The role needs to shift to facilitate learning in the classroom.

a. Create groups
b. Ask them to work in groups
c. Learn and teach each other
d. Move around in the room moving from one group to another
e. Make them responsible to manage their groups – nominate a leader

There are two ways of reading and evaluating the above. One is (where the default mode of thinking goes) – this sounds nice and utopian but it’s not practical or doable or have tried this before and it did not work. The second way would be to say – Let me try! But remember attempting Steps 3 and 4 without Steps 1 and 2 (in that order) is a complete waste of time and will ensure failure.

We as teachers have a great opportunity of making a real difference to our country. The future of the country is by default coming to us and that too for a period of 14 years! It’s now up to us to grab this as an opportunity and make a real difference in the lives of children. That’s the world we are leaving behind for our own children. Thank you for making a difference to children!

Sushant Kalra is the founder Director of Parwarish Institute of Parenting. The Institute has been empowering Parents and Teachers for the last 6 years in the area of nurturing the no-limitness of their children. Over the years he has developed interactive workshops for parents and teachers based on the age of their children and various topic specific workshops which deal with issues regarding children on a day to day basis e.g. studies, sex education, time, technology etc. Parwarish won the Best Teacher and Parent Coach Award by the Federation of Public Schools of Delhi. For details contact parwarishcares@parwarish. co.in; www.parwarish.co.in