Taking some liberties with this article - middle schoolers' mum, nephews and nieces working their way through IBDP and courses beyond at Uni abroad, i always get this one comment from them, ‘why do we have to do it advance as along as it is submitted on time, and at times we ask for extensions?’ By the way, been in this industry now for close to two decades, managed running schools, was a de facto Principal while managing the role as a Trustee as well - so been there, than that! And yes, passionate about education and more importantly changing the pace we set as educators and creating some disruptions.
As an educator, I automatically don the hat of being careful and playing the role of the mentor, but perhaps, listening to the kids may give us a clue on how to ‘manage’ them? And motivate them in a way that works for this generation?
For too long, we have learnt to handle the next generation in a manner that we have learn’t and perhaps it is time to recognize that their world is different to ours.
As a child i was always particular, planned and strategised to complete tasks on time and i took this learning to Uni and my work-place and then i am all at sea with the ‘last-minute’ submission son who does not understand the stress?!!! And his question is - why you do think you get more marks for submission in advance than I on time - well the nick of time?!!
Do we need a re-think? There was a beautiful article that related to the Finnish model that understands this changing child psychology- and often this starts from when we start delivering the lesson leading to the eventual submission.
These kids are wired differently, perhaps cope with the pressure of submission differently to our time and our expectations and more importantly, if content is spot on and accurate, why judge?
Let’s analyse the educator’s mindset. We plan a 32 week, with our set of expectations given the periods we assign to the subjects each week - 45 to 50 is what most schools work with ... but do kids need this kind of structure? Do we need to stretch those English periods to a 7?? Do we need to make Math boring at 8?
Most importantly, does our content that is planned each year based on the test book we take, need a re-think and focus on the ‘life-ready’ skills instead of the ‘exam-ready’ ones??
When do they come into effect anyway? We know industry expectation is more than that grade and yet to march along challenging the kids to stick to ‘our’ deadlines rather than focused on making learning more related to the kids? Ever realize, they may get it quicker than we did??
Technology has contributed to this revolution and access to information that they have and forever i have maintained the kids have a pre requisite and therefore need to be ‘handled’ carefully!!!
Kids today will learn to exceed with a different set of motivational skills than we did - but as educators we need to dig deep.
We need to watch the way they think, the way they approach a task and customize and personalize rather than standardized learning targets. It is hard work - no doubt!! Every classroom may throw up more questions than we ever raised as a generation, or what we expected as educators and that is the beauty of being in this space as it allows us to innovate and create a more ‘effective’ learning environment.
We need more ‘out-of-box’ thinking on part of the teachers, more non traditional approaches like customizing time-lines for the children based on their personalities and MI rather than a standard format and perhaps a bit more effort to understand the kids.
As educators, a bit of more risk to take some chances and experiment a bit more - more case studies, more beyond the classroom learning, more real life experiences and more relevant content that gives us a rationale to justify content to the kids?
Remember we forced them to ask, so when they do, we have to have a rationale.
Re-think that curriculum mapping now, to inspire the kids more and assessments will reflect their true potential and not bookish knowledge.
After all we are after creators and you cannot create them without taking some risks?
About our guest author -
Born in Mumbai, after completing her schooling from Queen Mary’s, Fatema joined the prestigious, Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, topping the F.Y. Bcom and T.Y. Bcom results. After graduation, Mrs. Agarkar joined University of Birmingham (Central England) to pursue Masters in Business Administration with distinction in Strategic Management and Marketing.
After returning to India, Mrs. Agarkar joined Commerz bank, a European investment bank, Times of India and thereafter Egon Zehnder International, a Swiss based executive search firm. In 2002, Mrs. Agarkar co-founded JBCN Education, an educational management firm with Mrs. Pinky Dalal, an educationist herself. In 2016, Mrs. Fatema Agarkar, Co-founded KA EduAssociated with partner Mrs. Gitika Kishanchandani to create more opportunities in the education space with a passion for teacher training, special needs and sports.
She was adjudged Education World’s top 50 young educators in 2014, also a recipient of the Giants Group awards for outstanding contribution to education as well as being invited to conferences as a key note speaker, Agarkar’s passion remains setting up foster care centers pan India basis to enable the less fortunate with physical disabilities to receive assistance.