While I wrote about money and corruption in Indian education yesterday, I would like to write a bit more about the way that schools sort out children who can learn there. Apart from the corruption, I really don’t believe that education should happen in the elitist style that I have described the past two days and which is common in many schools, at least in our area here. In our school, we don’t believe that a child needs to have a certain background in order to learn and be good at school. On the contrary, in our school we have the living examples for the opposite.
Let’s not talk about the financial background at this place, as our children are obviously from such families that could not even think of applying at such schools, as even the monthly fees often equals their whole month’s family income. Let’s talk about the atmosphere at home though.
Most of the parents of our students cannot even read or write. Some may have learned to write down their name, so that they don’t need to sign with their fingerprint. Many times however they cannot even do that. They never needed to, they have not been to school themselves or only for a year or two. They are in no situation to support their child’s learning, to answer questions during their homework or to correct the children when they say a wrong letter in the middle of the alphabet. They just don’t know.
Does this mean that we cannot teach these children? Does this mean that these children cannot learn? No! Every child can learn and if you, as a teacher, don’t manage to engage the students of your class, if you have the impression that none of the children in front of you actually understood what you were saying, you should think of changing your way of teaching instead of blaming the children and their parents!
Of course it would be good if children learned at home as well. Of course it is helpful if parents are there to ask questions – but children nowadays spend so much time in school that this time period should be sufficient to teach them what you have to teach! There are even concepts which stop any kind of homework because children are engaged enough in class, learn enough during their lessons that they don’t need to sit and write at home anymore!
You know what? Even those children whose parents cannot write even one letter learn in our school and they are good. They may not have support for their studies at home but they learn here, with us, in our school. They do! They can and they actually really do – without having an elitist group of classmates, teachers and parents around them.
I don’t deny that a certain atmosphere at home helps children to be serious about their studies and to pay attention at school. I believe however it is wrong to just pick the best students, to choose those who have the best circumstances and teach them while neglecting the rest. We are all here on this earth and have to reach out our hands especially to those who may not have as good chances in life as we do!
That’s the main concept of our school: we all are equal, although we all are individuals. We can respect that we all are different while we know that in the core, we all are just human.