Importance of Holistic Education

Teachers have multiple roles. They teach, they inspire and they motivate children. Often, all these functions are concentrated towards achieving higher marks in exams. This often burdens those children who are capable of being creative and are skilled at pursuits that are not examined through report cards. There is a famous TED Talk by Ken Robinson about how schools kill creativity.

Among his musings is one that has stuck profoundly, which we paraphrase: “teachers try to create more teachers”, not dancers, not singers, or not even engineers! We were therefore inspired to create this post, to remind our teachers the importance of activities that fall outside the curriculum.

Schools typically have two classes for co-curricular activities. Even that is often cut short on, during exam days, citing the need to ‘completing portions’ and for ‘course revision’. This has a debilitating effect on the children’s perspective on education. When the fun in school is taken out, education systems stand as roadblocks to children’s creativity. We must work towards bringing down those barriers. Let’s examine why, and how.

Co-curricular activities make education delightful!

What is the point of reciting a poem, if children are unable to create some of their own? Co-curricular activity should invigorate and stir the creative conscious of children. What is the use of knowing different forms of speech, if children are unable to piece together their opinions in debates? Co-curricular activity should make use of the curriculum at hand. Introduce poetry in English class, encourage children to write stories, ignite debates in class, and watch as children pick up the art of speaking boldly, clearly and smartly.

Extracurricular activities are a window to the world out there.

What would school be without a science exhibition? A shell, that’s what! Science exhibitions, English plays, Olympiads are wonderful ways of exposing students to greater heights in fields of their interest. To this end, we must also consider scholarships, which not only are the result of extracurricular interests shown by the students but something that will also help them in their higher studies. For example, prestigious scholarships such as Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) are awarded to students who take the time out to pursue extracurricular studies in basic sciences.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Playing a sport, dancing to the tunes of classical and/or popular music, singing soulfully, drawing caricatures, enacting plays, and so much more are activities that jolt children into the wonderland of studying the world around them! The pursuing hobbies is a lifestyle choice for people, and it would best be realized when encouraged throughout childhood. Hobbies such as dancing, sometimes, can even lead to careers in dance! Such offbeat careers are very much possible today, with guaranteed success. Similarly, our classrooms are probably hosting little Tendulkars who are discouraged from taking up a hobby they love. It’s the duty of us, the teachers, therefore, to allow children space and time to explore their interests and to pursue it with all their heart.

The best kind of education for the children should be a holistic one. Every child has an all-rounder in him/her. It is up to the teacher to harness the talents hidden in the children, without rules or prejudices about what constitutes education and what doesn’t. We aren’t saying all-rounders are those who can extempore with flair, who can read fiction for hours together, who can enact Shakespeare with panache, and who can score a goal in a football match are rare to come by. All-rounders are those who can enjoy all these activities, without feeling in any way less smart than children who can score centum in exams!

Let’s celebrate ALL our children; the painters and debaters alike, the toppers and footballers alike. Let’s ensure our children grow into excellent adults, with the education that’s holistic and well rounded. Let’s always remember that every child is a shining star in his/her own right. Let’s celebrate that awesomeness!

 

 

 


Help Your Child Fight Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a condition, where your body carries out hormonal response against an unfriendly situation. It is not always harmful. It prepares the mind for either, ‘fight or flight’. Students who are able to counter it, come out as an excellent winner. Sometimes, this hormonal discharge surpasses the optimal threshold and causes dreadful feelings. These feelings appear when the child is unable to fight back in an optimistic way. The actual trouble arises when the stressful entity begins to hover around the child. In such situation, a child finds it hard to get through and loses his main aim.

If you notice some unusual habits or activities developing in your child, then you must help him/her to cope with stress. We have mentioned some signs that can help you figure out if your child is showing some symptoms of stress. It is a must to study your child’s behavior carefully. Do not make any hasty conclusion until you have observed a group of symptoms simultaneously over a period of time. Stress management starts right from identifying the signs and symptoms in the child.

Once you have found that your child is stressed, you should plan on helping him/her out, here are a few ways that can help you do that –

Spend quality time – Stress can germinate from the feeling of being neglected. Children may hesitate to approach when parents are busy in their own work all the time. It may look difficult to go out, play, sit back and talk for hours after a tiring day at the office, but spending time with kids gives a feeling of security and concern to them. Listening to their activities at school helps to chalk out a better plan of indulgence for them.

Create a positive environment – A stressed person gets entrapped in negative thoughts. It may get exacerbated and give rise to depression and withdrawal from love and fun. In extream cases, children can also develop suicidal tendencies. In such a scenario, parents should accept the flaws and help the child in rectifying. Criticism should be taken over by understanding and support. Parents should inculcate the spirit of confidence. They should motivate their kids and teach them to stand over again after any fall or fail.

Group activities – Pamper your child by participating in their daily activities. Help them in their studies, play with them, take them for outings, organize a get together for their friends at home, etc. If your child is facing problem in performing well for the upcoming sports event, join them. Even if you cannot participate, be a spectator and cheer them up throughout the practice sessions. A caring and loving parent can help them more than any medical help.

Healthy from within – As mentioned, a child under stress tends to skip meals and that can cause health issues. It can deteriorate their health. A proper watch should be kept on their eating habits. Make sure to serve them healthy food that keeps the mind active and body energetic.

Share stories – Bedtime stories take a child to the dreamland. Similarly, stories of great warriors or cases of common people who achieved victory after several defeats act as a catalyst in keeping their morale high. They learn the theory of ‘never give up’ and that boosts their conviction.

We hope these simple points from Vedantu along with parental support can pull out your child from the stressful situation. Remember, stress is not a disease, it’s the way of your body to show that things are going out of reach, hurry up and nip the stress in the bud!


7 Easy Tips for Parents to Positively Motivate kids

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“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Zigler

Everyone needs motivation, be it a grown-up person or a child. Motivation is what that drives us to the path of success. We have often seen great leaders motivate people to start a revolution of change. So, what is motivation and why is it so necessary?

According to the Oxford dictionary motivation has been defined as ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’. So, from the definition, it is clear that motivation does not always mean something positive. This is the same thing with parents who find it difficult to motivate their children to study. More often parents stick to the method of ‘carrot and stick’, which tends to do more harm than good to the kids.

As a parent, you must be worried if your child comes home with a report card that shows that his performance has been poor. No matter how many tuitions or professional courses you are providing him/her with, it does not seem to help. It is enough to make any parent worried and have sleepless nights with nightmares about his/her child’s career. This is when motivation plays an important role in making your child’s future bright. Here are seven steps that will help parents to motivate their children to do better:

1- Learn what your child wants

You cannot motivate your child in the right direction if you do not know his/her interests. First of all, parents should know that they should not enforce their interest upon their children. Some children are better at mathematics while some are good at humanities. Remember, if you understand what your child wants to do (academically), then you can motivate him/her to be good in that field and he/she will react positively.

2- It is always best to make your child self-motivated

Motivation is not a button which can be pressed and magical things happen. You cannot transfer motivation. So it is necessary for you to understand that your child needs to be self-motivated. What you can do is show him the path that will lead to the destination and he/she should work towards reaching it from within and that’s the motivation we are talking of.

3- Try to have an open and friendly relationship

The best parents are also good friends to their children. They are always open in their relationship and respect the opinions of their children. As good friends do various activities together, you can associate with your children on some activities of common interest. This will help strengthen the bond and let them speak their heart out to you. Try and know how they feel about various things related to academics. Help them with their homework and play with them.

4- Identify your child’s weaknesses

Learning about your child’s weakness, if they have any, will help you to carve out plans accordingly. You can then plan on the ways that will motivate your children by accepting the truth about their learning behaviour and interests. Handle it carefully and do not show that they are poor in such matters. Try to grow confidence and give the examples of how you overcame your fears.

5- Be firm but do not get angry

 If your child is making mistakes, do not get furious. This will instil fear and demotivate them. Be firm to show that it is wrong to do certain things that harm them in the long run but do not get angry on them for making mistakes. Making mistakes is also a way to learn new things, encourage your kids not to repeat same mistakes.

 6- Celebrate your child’s achievements

There is nothing more motivating to your child than celebrating and rewarding them for their achievements. Take them to their favourite entertainment park, buy them their favourite toy or treat them to their heart’s content. Celebrate all those achievements of your child, no matter how big or small they are. Everyone likes to be recognised. Don’t you want to be recognised when you achieved something in your workplace? It is all human.

7-Take him on learning and knowledge tours and trips

Supplement their learning. Go on a trip that provides your kid with a lot of learning on the field. It can be anywhere like a museum or a science centre. It may even be taking a trip to one of the places where he can enjoy the beauty of nature or learn about the achievements of famous personalities. These type of trips and tours are better if they connect with the interests of your child. This will do a lot in motivating your child.

The success to effectively motivate is to be positive with your dealings. If you lose faith in yourself, you can never successfully motivate someone else. When it comes to your children, it is of a more sensitive thing. Keep the above points in your mind and you will see your child become motivated to perform well academically and in extra-curricular activities. The crux is – be positive no matter what, to motivate others around you!


How can you make examinations stress free?

 

 

Exams are around the corner, and everyone’s frantic about what questions will be asked and how to get through the exam without being scarred mentally! Parents, teachers, and not to mention students, are very stressed during exam time. Here, we ask you to calm down. Breathe easy. For, exams really are supposed to be the easiest part of school!

Think about it for a minute. Exams are the time of the year when there are no lectures, when there is no homework and when parents shower their children with a lot of love and empathy. But, of course, when you are unprepared, it’s a nightmare. So, the solution to exam stress is straight-forward, isn’t it? Prepare beforehand and you will sail through exams with flying colours. But is that all? Isn’t there a difference in the preparation strategy between the topper in class and an ‘average student’? The topper is most likely to be found quite calm and composed during exams while the average students found biting their nails and hoping for the best outcome from the ordeal.

In this post we give you a bunch of very easy, tried and tested tips that have been used by toppers for years. Read on, to know our simple tricks to surf through exams!

Prepare in advance to be at your best state of mind before the exam

This is the secret: toppers study every day. Some may not claim to, but everyone does. Having a timetable generally helps with this. Also, toppers re-read and revise regularly. Retention of what is studied happens best with numerous revisions.

Dig deep into subjects that interest you

Toppers might not be studying from the same textbooks, but might definitely be researching the topics taught in school. They dig deep and do some personal research of their own, using the internet, encyclopedias, and other sources. NCERT, for instance, provides books for “further reading” at the back of every chapter. That’s because those references will enhance your learning process. Doing such extensive research with a piqued curiosity helps in retaining the subject in your mind, probably forever.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

It’s important to take a break from studies every once in a while. You could do activities like exercising, painting, playing, reading story books, and many more. This would  help you rejuvenate yourself and be refreshed for a greater dose of study.

Make notes of everything, literally

Never assume that what the teacher says in class will be obvious to you at home. It won’t. Hence, always take note of everything the teacher says. Also, when reading thick volumes, mark and note down the important points, and make it a point to revisit them often. Note-making is an art, in fact. You could leave a margin in the book that you’re making notes in, so that you can add questions and comments against the notes when you revise. With every revisit of the notes, your notes will become richer and richer. This way, by the end of the year, your notes will be a better guide for you than your textbook!

 

 

Don’t worry about the result

Lastly, don’t worry about the result if your preparation has been satisfactory. Education’s purpose is to help you learn, not to help you compete with a classroom full of people. Exams are a way to judge your preparation level. Not everyone can shine in an examination which is, essentially a one-size-fits-all deal. So, don’t be bogged down by results. Always move forward, and learn all you can!

To sum it up, making exams stress free is child’s play! The solution is simple: The “Triple R” Strategy: Read, Revise and Relax!

 


Stress: How to Identify Symptoms in Kids

Life is not all about sunshine and rainbows. It never fails a chance to show you ‘who the boss is.’ Everybody, from every age group, someday or other, finds himself/herself in a situation that might ‘make’ them or ‘break’ them. Our body’s reaction to such situations defines stress. Some of us come out strong, while some fail to do so.

Stress is your body’s hormonal response to working under pressure and out of the comfort zone. It encourages one to be in his/her best form and gives the ability to perform better. However, if the body starts releasing these stress hormones in ‘a little too much’ quantities, it may hamper the quality of life and performance. Stress can be self-generated or imposed. In case of students and young kids, stress can be provoked by the pressure to excel in the examinations, to win a match, or a feeling of being lonesome and threatened. It can additionally be evoked by comparisons, relationship trauma, physiological transformation, inequality, etc.

Continual stress may give rise to various emotional and physical repercussions like depression, anxiety, stroke, hypertension, neurological disorders, immune disturbances, sleep disorders, gastric disturbances, etc. Studies have also shown that it may also aggravate skin problems, breathing difficulties and sexual impairments in a very few cases.

We now know what havoc stress can be to our bodies and it’s functioning. Let’s have a look at a couple of symptoms that can help you identify the signs of stress in your kids and help them to cope up with it well in advance.

  1. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, stammering and lips trembling – if your kid is experiencing any of these frequently, be alert, something is bothering him/her too much.
  2. Sudden and frequent headaches – if your physician couldn’t give you any concreate cause for the headache complaints from your little one, you can safely blame it on stress. It is one of the major cause of headaches in most of the cases.
  3. Neck aches, back pain, muscle spasms and muscle contractions – Although these symptoms are common with adults, but frequent complaints from kids is something you should worry about.
  4. Dizziness and tremors – if your kids face shaky hands, legs or fainting too often, you should get them checked with a physician. If there isn’t any deficiency of vitamins & minerals, its stress that’s causing these symptoms.
  5. Buzzing or popping sounds in ears – We often treat this as our kids’ trick to avoid studies or grab attention. Don’t forget to pay your keen attention, it might be because of stress.
  6. Excessive blushing, sweating, goose bumps – We all love those chubby red cheeks when our kids blush, but too much and too often can point towards something wrong.
  7. Dry mouth and swallowing problems – Kids are prone to a range of respiratory and gastric infections that lead to such symptoms. If that isn’t the case, it’s due to stress that your child might be experiencing.
  8. Frequent cold and infections – need we explain it? It’s body’s way of alarming you, something isn’t perfect with your kid’s health.
  9. Unexplained or frequent ‘allergy’ attacks – Sneezing, rashes, breathlessness, and/or fast and deep breaths are all signs of stressful period in your kid’s life.
  10. Sudden change in appetite – although kids keep making fuss about food and their choices, however of you notice some drastic changes in the appetite (either increased or decreased), you can blame it on stress. Your child might also complaint of nausea, frequent stomach pain and/or heartburn.
  11. Abrupt and unexplainable mood swings – if you notice unreasonable, abrupt laughs, tears or aggression; increased anxiety and nervousness; or increased heartbeat, chest pain or palpitations you can be sure that the kid is in too much of stress.
  12. Insomnia – if the child experiences difficulty in sleeping, sees nightmare, or wakes up often during the night in a state of confusion, it indicates lack of peace of mind.
  13. Indecisiveness – Difficulty in making decisions, trouble learning, and lack of confidence and concentration is also hugely visible in kids who suffer with stress issues.
  14. Problem in communication – Hesitation in expressing opinions, emotions or virtue and inability to understand and follow common commands is also a sign of stress that our kids’ behavior tell us.
  15. Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts – Sense of meaningless life is generally seen in elder kids suffering from chronic stress

In addition to above mentioned signs and symptoms, behavioral changes and change in habits are also seen in some children. Stress directly affects the working of the brain and ultimately disturbs the body functions.

Additionally, stress causes inefficient performance, intolerant behavior and poor judgement of the situation. The child also experiences inability to keep the mind calm and relaxed and loses control over his actions quickly and frequently. The worst part is, stress generates the sense of negativity around the sufferer, which lowers the self-confidence.

Having said all that, we would still say, stress isn’t bad always. Many a times it helps one to push himself/herself to gear up and take up challenges of higher level. Although when persists, it can exacerbate serious health problems.

Stress, in today’s world is omnipresent and occurs in individuals of all ages. We should devise our own means to deal with it and try to beat it with positive actions. One should identify the stress related events in the lives of our kids and loved ones and help them to fight it out.

Take a chill pill, ‘stressed’ is just ‘Desserts’ spelled backwards.

Note – These signs and symptoms can strike with some other ailments as well, so it is important to consult a qualified doctor and take a specialist’s advice and counselling.

 


How to make your fidgety child learn effectively?

Watching your child achieving milestones in his/her life is a bliss and we always expect to see their constant progressing victory. Just as a coin has two faces and one flips over another, similarly our kids also turn obnoxious when something upsets them. We need to stay prepared for the darker sides of our children’s mood. It is necessary to understand their behavior and act in the right manner.

Most of the problems arise when we fail to relate to their issues. A school-goer goes through several transitions both mentally and physically. In such situation, it becomes a fight to make them study.

We need to follow some simple tricks to tackle such chaos and today, we are going to talk just about it.

  1. Give attention to the problem rather than emphasizing on the consequent aggression. The problem should be eradicated deep down from the roots in order to block it from flourishing furthermore.
  2. Make a kick start from pulling them out from the thinking process that runs through their mind at that moment. Talk about the things they like the most or they do the best.
  3. Be a motivating parent. Over criticism builds up negativity in their minds. Empower them to accept your virtues by listening what they want from you.
  4. Do it in a playful fashion. You know that you love them the most and it is the right time to express that. Cuddle them, mimic their activities, cook for them, pamper them, etc.
  5. Reward them for the good behavior.
  6. Set time for different activities. This ensures them that you take care of all the needs that are important for them.
  7. Befriend your child. Hang out with them, appreciate their attempts.
  8. Keep an eye on them so that they do not get distracted while studying. It also makes them alert. Do not go harsh while pointing out instead help them to stay attentive.
  9. Cultivate the sense of competition with a positive approach. Show them that how awesome one can become if they perform well.
  10. Keep your explanations restricted to short sentences. Deliver a clear, simple and lasting message that stays in their mind.
  11. Work along with them to rule out the difficulties that trouble them and pushes away.
  12. Participate to develop skills which they lack.
  13. Tell them that it is normal and everyone faces problems while learning. This will strengthen their will to put in efforts.
  14. Share success stories of great personalities with them, who succeeded after facing failures in their lives.
  15. Try word games, flow charts, pictorial representations and other interesting methods of learning that dissolve the dullness they encounter.
  16. Put examples from day-to-day life for better and easier understanding.
  17. Inculcate the habit of writing down notes. isn’t it a proven fact, practice makes a man perfect?
  18. Teach them that whatever they study now, they’ll be able to implement in later stages of life.
  19. Restrict yourself from getting involved in any fun activity around them, while they are studying.
  20. Share their failure just like you brag about their success.

We are sure most of you must be using the above-mentioned points with your school-goers. If not, try them out, it will help you to get closer to your child and you will find it easier to deal with them. Be a smart parent and work in collaboration with your child to win over the hurdles that stop them from reaching the paramount.

Image courtesy – Google Image.


5 Misconceptions Parents Believe Are True

Being parents to school-goers can be a daunting task.  With some pre-conceived notions and misconceptions we believe in, we make learning difficult for our kids. Here are some misconceptions we have listed out for all the parents to have a look at and introspect – if we are helping our kids to grow or otherwise.

1- Starting Education Early Hampers Life-Long Learning

Early education

Although there is a common thought among the parents & educationists across the nations that starting formal schooling at early age hampers life-long learning for the kids. But when we talk of education and learning, it isn’t only about formal schooling. Studies by various researchers in the field have proved that intelligence & learning abilities can be built upon by following right teaching techniques from very early age, as low as 9 months to 1 year. According to studies by Luby et al in 2013, IQ scores of children can be enhanced by instructing them in logic and critical thinking, also brain-shrinking stress in children can be protected by using sensitive and responsive techniques in parenting. Did you know, human brain develop fastest between birth and age 5 than any other time period during the entire lifespan? This is the time when the brain makes new connections and begins to maximize efficiency to keep or eliminate newly created connections. It is actually critical during this time that parents conduct educational exercises and provide continuous and repeated positive reinforcements that would help child’s brain to develop and accommodate new learning for the lifetime.

2- Educating the Child is School’s Job

school Job

As described in the previous paragraph, education or learning is a never-ending process that starts at a very early stage in our lives. Believing entirely in or relying just on formal schooling for education is the biggest misconception a parent can have. For the continuous and holistic growth of the children, the education should not start and stop within the school boundaries. In fact, children should be encouraged to learn from everyday activities. Practicing and developing social skills can be achieved by interacting with others; exposing kids to rich languages increases their vocabulary and reading abilities dramatically and we all know this can’t be achieved only by directed academic programs followed by formal schooling. It is essential for parents to encourage their children to learn through playing, hands-on activities, and exploration. This not only helps them in storing new information but also co-relate it with existing knowledge and thus develop cognitive abilities far better than gained just by relying on academic curriculum.

3- Being Excellent in Academics Bring Career Success

career success

When we talk of teenagers, the academic pressure is not the only pressure they have to deal with.  With their bodies undergoing physical & hormonal changes, they usually have to bear with constant nagging from parents about concentrating solely on academics. And this is mostly because of, one of the misconceptions that parents believe in–focusing only on and putting in efforts for academics would help their teenagers to achieve career success. However, educators, psychologists, psychiatrists and academicians have time and again proved to the world that being good solely in academics will do no good to a child. However, being average in academics and developing life skills through sports, music and other co-curricular activities help a child in shaping his/her career better. In today’s world, there is no dearth of career options and being successful in the career of one’s choice isn’t solely decided by the knowledge one gains by theories taught in school, but by the passion for excelling in same. We can see a number of examples worldwide who have proved this misconception wrong outrightly – Be it Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elton John or A.R. Rahman to name a few.

4- Comparing Students With Peers Motivate Them

motivation & comparision

I wouldn’t say this one is a complete misconception, however, it is a lack of ability to judge ‘how much is too much’ at parent’s end which makes it alarming for a child. Parents indulge themselves into pressurizing their kids for doing great in academics based on the expectations set by others in the class/neighbor. However, it is very important to understand that every kid is different and the performance in academics is directly proportional to efforts put on the student’s shortcomings rather than comparing him/her with other high-performers in the class. Comparing your kids constantly with others will only result in increased peer pressure, which they already have to deal with. Comparing your kids with others occasionally might help in motivating them at times but surely hampers their will to do more and achieve when this comparison becomes habitual.

5- Having a Lots of Friends Distract

friends

The thought that friends always distract students from studies is one of the biggest misconception parents have. It is due to this thought that parents try to restrict the ‘friends time’ to a minimum in a day’s schedule for the school-goers. However, this is a well-studied fact that learning is enhanced when done with peers. Friends help in learning as they can relate to materials with shared experiences, peers are familiar with each other’s ability to grasp concepts, and friends can provide each other with a comfort level that can help overcome anxieties, hindrances, and discouragements. Not only the academic growth of your child is dependent on the kind of and no. of friends one has, but the ability to learn life skills is increased multi-folds with friends around. Go ahead and ease-up that strict rule for your little ones now.

Credits – google Images.