Imbibing the ‘never say die’ spirit from children

Anwar Hussain Rayma

Coronavirus has forced us into a completely different world. The whole education system, teaching-learning, assessment, assignments, competitions, co-curricular activities, everything is now online. By now both my students and I have gotten used to meeting virtually every morning. And though it is not the same, my students have quickly adapted to this mode of learning and in doing so have made my teaching moments worthwhile as well.

There is a lot of talk about how this unprecedented situation that we are in will affect us psychologically, especially little children. While there is no doubt that this is true, it is also true that nobody can adapt to a situation better than little children. This I say from my experience of teaching children from classes 4 to 8.

Despite being away from each other, their movements restricted, their enthusiasm to participate and learn together has not died down. My students attend online classes regularly, finish assignments, complete projects, participate in classroom discussions and perform in virtual events and competitions. They put in the same, in fact, I should say more, effort now. When they had to present a drama, I saw them video call each other, carry out rehearsals, perform their parts individually and then put everything together as one audio-visual. No matter the situation they are always smiling and doing a great job!

I have learnt not to underestimate my students anymore. When I asked my class V students to present their thoughts on pollution, one of the students sent it to me in the form of an essay. The maturity with which she presented the topic matched that of any student twice her age. Another student decided to interview hospital staff to gather information on how medical waste is being disposed.I didn’t nudge her in that direction. She came up with it on her own and did the interview all by herself. Yet another student made a bird’s nest using an old plastic bottle and moved on to talking about water pollution and how in the name of celebrating certain festivals and rituals we add to this problem. Some of their solutions to reducing pollution were also unique like making idols of deities using edible items so that we can then dissolve them in milk and prepare a sweet. For this topic, my class V students also made craft items out of waste materials in their homes. They carried out awareness campaigns in their colonies as well about separating dry and wet waste, proper waste disposal and how as individuals we can contribute to reducing pollution.

As adults we believe we are teaching children, but I marvel at all the things they teach us despite their young age.

The author is working as TGT in Adani Public School-Mundra. He has been in this profession since 2001. He is a practitioner of activity based learning grounded in child psychology and educational psychology. He can be reached at [email protected].

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