Means versus the end

Ranjeeta Prajapati

The other day I was talking to a child’s parent. I was sharing with them the bright areas, the step by step progression of the child. The parent interrupted saying, “Madam how many marks has he scored. If he is so good then why is he not getting good marks?”

I understand the anxiety/concern of the parent. Still I tried to shift the focus from the result the child had got to how much the child had progressed. After talking about the child’s achievements and gradual development, I also spoke about the areas the child needed to improve in. I noticed the parent wasn’t happy with my words.

I was surprised. Only one thing kept swirling in my mind … if only the results are important then why are we emphasizing so much on the steps and sequence while learning math sums? Why don’t we just tell them how to get the answers and score marks? Why are we wasting time in trying to help them understand concepts? Why do we give importance to each and every step and also give marks for each correct step?

Every parent seems to believe that a sheet of paper decides the child’s future and the same is imprinted in the child’s mind too.

The world has become competitive in terms of marks rather than skills. Everyone is simply in a mad rush to score marks and nobody is stopping to think what it is that will last long and what will fade.

As an educator I feel steps/sequence are more important than the result. Following or knowing a set of steps to solve a problem gives the child a “can do” attitude. It enhances the child’s confidence. The steps we follow when solving math problems are not restricted to maths alone and have a bigger connotation. It is connected to real life. It helps students understand the problem and how to reach the desired goal. And if by mistake they get the wrong result they can revisit the steps and rectify it. Sequence and series help students predict, evaluate, and monitor the outcome of the situation and take the right decision.

Visualizing the problem
Approach to be followed

These are very important steps, but we don’t value them and are only bothered about the end result. Even the proverb says, Knowledge is wealth. No one ever says marks is wealth.

A child’s progress involves the steps that the child takes every day to reach a desired goal. Valuing steps and patting the child’s back for each correct step will enhance the child’s confidence. Confidence is the most important tool required to lead a successful life.

The author has been working in the field of education for 20 years now. She was the Academic Coordinator for kindergarten for 16 years in a reputed institution. She is also the author of three books. Her most recent book My Poetry… My Feelings (1 & 2) is available for sale on Flipkart. She can be reached at

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