Tuesday, July 07, 2009

छुट्टियाँ ख़त्म या छुट्टियां शुरू

Now that the summer vacations of my son, who is in Class III, have ended, it seems mine and my wife's have truly started.
Till the last week, as we raced towards the deadline of school re-opening, we were fully consumed after our office hours in making charts, sticking pictures, tying up project-reports and what have you, all in the interest of timely completion of his "holiday homework". I talked to some "fellow travelers" in distress and the common refrain was - इतना तो हम हमारे टाइम में पढ़ लेते तो आज IAS कर चुके होते !!
The phrase "Holiday Homework" truly must rate amongst the top 10 oxymorons in the Indian English. After all, what remains of holidays for a poor child with so much homework to complete is anybody's guess. I fondly remember our times when holidays were pure fun, untouched by anything remotely curricular and academic. And this did not make us any poorer in education, my contemporaries would agree.
I am sure I state the obvious in saying that it is we parents who are to blame for this sorry state. Today, when most of us are maniacally driving our children towards super-human goals, we expect the schools to play their part. Driven, therefore, by our anxities and in their zeal to provide us a better "product" that education has now become, the schools work out unassailable tasks for the children as homeworks, which even parents find quite tough. No wonder then that there have sprung up specialised shops catering to school projects and homework!
I wish the educationalists and acamedicians would recognize this as a problem and devise some such simple assignments, if needed at all, which could make the lives of our children more relaxed and fun, and ours more relieved.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Rahul,
In my opinion SCHOOLS are not able to implement this policy properly. Actual the intent is good. Teachers want children to perform this work as per their skills.
Now the parents, just to prove their skills & satisfy the EGO, take this as their personal responsibility. They don't want the WORK should look shabby and their KIDS must be endorsed by TEACHERS as SUPER KIDS. Actually, Teacher’s intent is to see the original talent of KIDS whatever may be - good or bad. Then they want to teach the kids what is the right way to do & what is good and this way the KID learns it in the best way.
But now some teachers are having the EGO - my work should look good - School staff should appreciate my work & my class kids for their super natural abilities.
It is just about EGO - sometimes parents & sometime teachers. Otherwise intent is definitely good. If teachers & parents are sensible and take it in positive spirit and avoid imposing their EGO on the kids - then definitely it will bring great relief for the YOUNG BRAINS.
Whatever way & manner kids apply their brain to execute the job, we all should appreciate. Mind it kids & parents get lots of time during holidays & only Less than 20% holidays time is required for doing the HOLIDAY WORK and that too without pressure & time limits.
Moreover, Discipline need to be addressed and kids must know the fact that they have to finish the task in relaxed manner.
If we stop looking the negative part & start appreciating the positive things then definitely some WAYOUT will be evolved to tackle the problem effectively.
Regards,
Dinesh

Anonymous said...

Respected Sir,
In my opinion schools are implementing various policies at a time which is not possible to manage and run. They just want “we have everything under one roof” you just pay for it and forget it. They don’t bother about subjects and work load. They don’t follow government polices. At the end of school kid comes out with tension line on forehead and says to parents I got lot of home work and it is to complete with in 3-4 hours. When parents ask why u need to complete your home work with in time limit he says “ I want some time for play games”. There is no work pressure Up to level of Vth standard because this is the time when kids learn by fun. As far as my concern there is no use of home work. Home work is just for writing speed and cursive writing. Home work is useful only when kids read chapters in classroom and teachers give the question in between paragraphs not from book’s questioners. And I think at this level this is not necessary for a kid. At this moment the way of writing, learn the tables, meanings are necessary. I remember my golden time when I was in class IIIrd - IVth our school gives us one period for writing (English/Hindi) or learning tables up to 20 later on it was up to 50. one day in week specially on Saturday after half time we were assemble for “BAAL SABHA”. All these things like “Baal Sabha” and special periods for writing gives personality development as well as extra skills like command over verbal communication and leading power. Our parents pay less for our studies as compare to this time and we got lots of skills without help of parents. And we are paying much and our kids still need our help in home work, why? I think we have no answer for “Holiday Homework” we have to work for earns money and then work for complete kid’s homework at home or in bus/Train for his bright future. I am not relaxed too much but relaxed with wordings of old film’s song “Dukh Ke Din Beete Re Bhiya Ab to Sukh Ayoo Re” so relaxed whatever is going keep on going with proper guidance I am sure the result will be fruitful.
regards
vivek

Rahul said...

Dinesh Ji
You have a very valid point there, I think. It is really more about amassing personal achievements rather than a systemic error. But the point is that the remedy has to be systemic only.

Rahul said...

Vivek Babu
Thanks for writing in with so much feeling.
In fact, not only in homework but in class work too, the focus should be on conceptual clarity and understanding of the world around us. As of now, the premium is who can cram how much more. It is basically a memory test.

Vikas Vats said...

dear rahul ji,
i reckon this depends on school philosophy, the kind of home work swasti got we did not even see what she is doing. e.g. she was supposed to find out about favourite colors, foods, places etc of new people she meets. IN a way she was getting trained in meeting people, starting conversations and discuss topics of their intrest (which even grown ups fault at). Some time we had to devote for her assignments, like taking her to a zoo so that she can make a scrap book. Metro we could not do, may be later.

Once at swasti'd nanu's house I saw a larwa and i thought of giving her some gyan that it is a would be butterfly. Shattering all my hopes she told me complete life cycle of a butterfly. I remember studying life cycle of a butterfly in 10th standard in a book. She had already ADOPTED a larwa in her class, fed it for a week, and let go when become a butterfly. All the students did it in an asignment. Looking at her learnings her two cousins have recently changed schools.

I beleive no education method is good or bad. We need to look for a school that matches our philosophy of schooling. I know people who got their children out of Swasti's school because they found conventional methods better.
As Twain once said "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education"

Rahul said...

Vikas Ji
Thanks for writing in.
Yes, you are right - it is basically the school philosophy which guides the teaching style. And, yes, to each his own.
As of now, non-conventional methods are quite limited in their reach in India but even in the ambit of "conventional schooling", which is practised in a very large part of the population, a fine tuning could certainly be made.

mohit said...

in my school days i never did holidays home wrok, tick jsut dotn go on 1st day of shcool..well this is not a solution but i agree no home work duing holidays, unless its bit of practicle work

Rahul said...

Hi Mohit
THanks for writing in.
No homework would be real fun!!

Anonymous said...

Rahulji,
I fully agree with you that the pleasure of summer vacations is ruined because of the bulky, unending home work allotted to the little children. The school mercilessly burdens the tiny-taught with tasks which they cannot accomplish without the help of their parents. Referring to one of the responses here regarding the good intentions of the teachers I would like to say that there is ample scope in the class-room if they want to see the original talent of the children, their holidays need not be wrecked! The only intention I can see is that they want to project the school as the best one. Further, no ego of the teacher is involved in this; it is the school authorities who make them assign these tasks. Parents are compelled to impose great pressure on the children; otherwise he/she would be punished at school. During school days children are heavily burdened and holidays are becoming nightmares!!! In the academic field the two months holidays are recommended so that the teacher and the taught refresh their mind and come back to school with a new vigor and enthusiasm to face the brain-storming activities of the new session. I am happy that you have raised this issue; it must the cause of anxiety.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rahul,
Thanx for writing on a very pertinent issue regarding holida home work of the children, particularly the little ones. I think we are robbing off their childhood with these unwanted exercises. I have been a teacher for the past 30 years, and taught at all the levels, from K.G. to Ph. D. I really wonder why do we load our little children with so much of home work.I am sure we can make them learn even without, at least, the holiday home work. When will the school authorities realise as much !!!
S.V.B.

Rahul said...

Dear Anonymous
Thanks for your views. You have very correctly pointed out the real intended reason for the summer holidays. I remember how we used to get all charged up after the vacations.
And yes, may I request you to leave your name the next time you are here.

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