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Rat Race for Grades or Learning for Life…?

When I was asked to write on something that is of concern for parents of today, I was at a loss – I didn’t know what to write about………… with much deliberations I thought it best to address what many of us parents, especially whose children are in classes 3-8 worry about – academic grades that our children get in class tests, unit tests, examinations etc.  I believe that the fear of grades, at some level, stems from the kind of cut offs required for college admissions in India and if our children don’t start getting grades early enough they will never achieve the grades required of them.

Often I hear myself ask parents – how many of your tests in classes 5, 6 or 7 did you max or even remember the score? During the elementary years, our objective should be to empower our children to work independently and inculcate the right study and work habits. So what are these ‘good study habits’? We must help our children learn how to organise their work so that they can balance work and play. Showing them the importance of a timetable which has inbuilt flexibility in terms of rest, free time and activity time will make working more acceptable and appealing.


We must also learn to appreciate that our children may learn in ways that are very different to those adopted by us and this should not unnerve us – some children learn by listening, others by reading and viewing, whilst most others learn by doing. The important thing is that children learn when they are actively engaged with the content they are studying and this can happen if content is presented in an appealing way to them. An understanding of our children’s learning styles will help us develop learning methods that will help them learn better and gain confidence in themselves. These methods could range from the traditional methods like reading aloud, making notes or walking whilst learning to more innovative methods such as flow charts, mindmaps, concept maps, games, puzzles etc.

Once our children understand themselves and learn good work habits they will become more accountable and responsible towards work and they will use these skills later in life when take up subjects that are of interest to them and excel in them!!

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