When – and how – things fall into place

As I write this, the magazine is a few days away from going to press and I know I cannot put it off any longer. Deadlines are what motivate me to get things done. That feeling of being up against a stone wall and the impossibility of pushing it even an inch – there’s nothing quite like it to make sure you hunker down and finish the job.

I’m sure this is a familiar story. Yet, all of us emerge from those tension-ridden hours thinking to ourselves – next time, I’ll plan ahead; next time, I won’t leave it to the last minute.

As teachers, and parents, we try to establish rules and processes for our children that we think will help them go through life in a relatively trouble-free manner. We do this, even when we know that we ourselves consistently disregard some of those rules, when we too have habits that we want to school them out of! And procrastination is one of those. We all do it, but we still advise young people to not do it!

In this issue, we have three different perspectives on the troubling issue of procrastination. What makes us procrastinate? How can we stop doing it? How can we get children to stop doing it? Perhaps as we nudge our wards to be more disciplined about their time management, some of it will rub off on us! (At least, that is what I am hoping.)

Among the many other topics we deal with in the magazine, is one that has become particularly salient in recent months. The push to introduce coding to children as early as elementary school. Companies that offer online coding workshops, or that promise to build capacity among teachers to handle coding classes, and others that combine coding instruction with a bunch of other “value added” services – these are all proliferating. There is an anxiety among some parents to make their children “job ready” even before they have learned how to simply be in the world, even before they have understood how to use language or work with numbers, or even relate to each other. Anuradha C makes an argument against this idea, and suggests that there is no need to jump headlong into coding. Indeed, we need to think carefully about what it is we want children to have as basic skills when they leave school. What are the fundamental capabilities we want them to possess so that they can go ahead and learn other things as and when they encounter them, or when there is a need? In such a framework, coding possibly will not figure very prominently.

There’s no doubt that we want our schools to make children ready for a diverse and demanding world. And that may include giving them new tools, and new ways of using them. But as other writers have discussed, in this issue, such things as kindness, compassion, and curiosity and the courage to question may be more important to learn than how to manipulate computers. There will be time for that later!

Here’s wishing you all a good new year, one that brings health, and peace.

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