Language of Praise v/s Encouragement

We generally think that praising is good for the child, but the fact is, praises are often exaggerated and misleading for the child. If not directed very to the point to specific actions of the child that he has done well, it fills in her/ him, a sense of false pride and develops with time an over confident and often arrogant and careless attitude. Language of praise should be changed into language of encouragement. Language of encouragement means specific praise of the child’s specific actions, not the general praising. It is based on the premise of “you judging yourself and not me judging you”. Encouraging the child to judge his own work, in terms of his previous works is a good idea, where progress or regress in work over a period of time can be seen and understood by the child her/ himself. Self evaluation leads to intrinsic motivation and thus a need to compete with oneself and give her/ his best in every shot.

Children like rules and they like to stick to rules. Set class rules for children in consultation with them. Stick to rules and do follow the consequences set for not following the rules. Create a disciplined warm and caring school community where children feel free within the rules, without fear of reprimand and being told off: Talk to children with respect and kindness. Do not speak negative in public unless it applies to the group in whole. Focus on self realization: Pose the question often,” Do you think if it was correct? Develop the inner clock of wrong/right response within the child. To enable a child think and reflect aptly, give him time and opportunity to think and reflect.

Celebrate the mistakes of the child. A child should feel comfortable and confident while ideas. Insult feeling of pride in students. A child should look forward to come to school. He should take care of his thinks and maintain things beautifully.

These should be no infringement on the rights of others. Changing random rules are not healthy. Everthing must be rationalized for the child. Create a strong fortress within the freedom limits of a child. Nobody feels safe in a house with moving walls.

The Lakota have a beautiful way of edifying children. Theirs is a philosophy which I think every school and parent in the world could benefit from. In the Lakota language the word for child is wakan yeja, which translates as “sacred being”. Therefore, education of children was a sacred community duty. Elders were responsible for educating all children and the child’s inquiring nature was always respected with answers. Children learned by watching and imitating examples that they observed. At first children are cruel, greedy, impatient, self-centered, and uneducated, but they are not taught with force, as an animal. The Lakota distinguish two kinds of education: Kaonspe, which is by force, such as you teach a horse, and woksapa, which is learning by gradual adjustment. Children were not taught like horses. They were never physically beaten, nor were they treated as a nuisance to be gotten out of the way. They were only taught that they could do things and the thought of not being capable of doing.

From Next To Best

One of the greatest challenges – and top priorities – for our nation’s new administration will be effectively addressing the educational crisis we now face.  Fixing the crisis, however, will require much more than fixing the system.  The one we now have is beyond repair.

Consider the vast disconnect between parents and teachers, the lack of communication between parents and children, and the violence erupting in schools across the globe and you begin to realize just the beginning of all that is wrong with our education system.  If our goal is in the best interest of our children, we must begin a dialogue on what it is that holds that interest.  The Global Classroom has initiated various projects to foster dialogues across the country, and overseas, on what it is that constitutes truly effective education.  What we’ve heard, and the conclusions we have reached, do not fit within the four sided box of our current system.  But they are far too important to ignore.

tea

Parents and students are learning all too well that a degree or a diploma does not mean success after graduation.  We must foster an educational environment that not only teaches our children basic skills such as reading and writing (areas in which we often now fail) but one which also prepares them for an increasingly diverse and competitive job market and community.  Teaching students to communicate across borders that divide us and teaching them to “think” and not just “learn” are important first steps in realizing success.

It’s time that the education curriculum pledges  a strong commitment to character education.  Character is important in a well-rounded education, but it must be defined in a way that is acceptable to everyone.  A person of good character aspires to a noble cause, reaches across boundaries, is trustworthy and drives his or her own destiny.  These are all qualities lacking in today’s school system.  They cannot be restored, for they have never existed.  But they must be built, and instilled in our students.

Indeed, building a system of education that works will require redefining many areas.  “School” must move outside of four walls and a ceiling, and encompass a community environment of many beliefs and ideals.  “Teacher” must mean more than a 9-to-5 occupation similar to that of a babysitter; it must mean an incubator of greatness, it must be an instrument for realization of goals.  And “education” must be measured by more than the diploma we receive on graduation day.  An educated person is more than can be told on paper.

The new administration must work quickly to empower communities to create visions for their schools, and hopes for their children.  Education leaders should return our children’s education to the parents and local community leaders who can see that their goals are realized.  From this will spring a new, revitalized dialogue on what it is we want as a community and a nation and a renewed interest in our children.  If we task parents with a level of responsibility for educating their children, they will surely come through and succeed beyond our imaginations.  If we task our leaders with fixing a system that never worked to begin with, we’ll only find the familiar taste of failure.  If even one child is left behind, we have more work to do.

About the Author

sgDr Gandhi has travelled to and studied education systems in some 38 countries. Her experience in education has been unique and spans a vast range, from the bottom-up grassroots level in villages to classroom practice and top-down education policy reform working with governments during her tenure with the World Bank. Dr Sunita Gandhi has a PhD in Physics from Cambridge University, UK, and a bachelors in Physics from Imperial College, London University. At Cambridge, she received three merit based scholarships: The Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, The Overseas Student Award and Trinity College Scholarship. Dr. Sunita Gandhi comes from a family of well-known educators running the world’s largest school in India with over 47,000 students currently on roll, a Guinness World Record holder. More importantly, the school has received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.

Assessments Driving Change in Education

 All assessment uses for the teacher principal, administrative, policy maker should be derived out of one assessment which is derived from the child.

What kind of data are we collecting and what will be its uses. If we are just trying to understand if a child has understood something. It can be done in other forms than written test.

assessment

What data will lead to policy intervention such as focus of teacher training for example we found that in class 5 or grade 5 across the board the children had problem with the concept of place value. Could it be that the teachers were not able to teach that well? What kind of training and classroom material will help understand the concept better in future years?

There is no point in collecting lots of data around the child just to give him a grade. It not only seems pointless but is almost negative. All the effort has gone into data collection should be put to better uses. For example topic, sub topic wise, diagnosis – for every Childs self analysis and planning of next steps for each child or a better teacher preparation or remedial action. Focus of teacher training and reinforcement material for the children and policy feedback and parents participation.

When children have information at their fingertips about themselves they become better partners, when parents have information on their fingertips they become better parents, same goes for teachers and policy makers and everything goes back to one data that is collected at the child’s level.

Assessments can be a very powerful mechanism for driving change in education. For assessments to be profoundly impacting our new education has to be based on a new premise, not the old.  I think we are still in the box of the old and trying to invent as fast as possible, but the reality is that no matter how much you try, a steam engine can never take you to the new century where children are already in a spacecraft maximizing their potential.

If we change assessments, we change everything in a way. Teachers start playing to a different tune once the assessments get changed.  In particular, why do I believe that the assessments have to be based not on the old ethics of “Compete with others” but on the more powerful ethic of “compete with oneself or yourself”.

assIn particular, take the case of Roger Bannister.  Some of you might have heard of Roger Bannister.  He was a medical student in Oxford University and in 1954 he became the first man in human history to have run one mile in under four minutes.  He had been told, like many others before him, that if he tried to run a mile in under four minutes, he would die in the attempt, but he knew that he could do it.  He knew that he could compete with himself and make that mark possible. So, he was willing to die.  And this is what happened.  In 1954, when he broke the record, which was thought humanly impossible, the world stood up because it was a hair-raising experience for everyone. And when he was finally conscious after waking up from the finish line, and people asked him “How do you feel?” he said, “I must be dead” because he had been told so often that he will be dying.  We expect children to not do beyond their class levels because we say they will die in the attempt. So, they do not even try. But actually they can.  A new ethic brings with it a lot of new changes.

The old ethic, the old steam-engine approach says, begin numeracy for a kid and take it up and up and up to high-school, A-level mathematics.  Yet the class is all over the place and we cannot handle that. This is the old structure. We cannot handle it because it says that the class dynamics matter, not the child.  So, we need to convert that.

Why compete with yourself? The year Roger Bannister managed to make history, that same year, after he did it, 16 others did it worldwide. And what is also fascinating is that in the next three years, over 200 people managed to break that record. Why? Because competition with oneself is a much more powerful ethic”.  It brings about more intrinsic motivation to succeed.  People feel, I can, instead of ‘I cannot’. They are not looking sideways. All inventions, all progress has come because people have competed with themselves and not with others and I think, therefore, it is a more powerful ethic that we need to implant in our educational system for the 21st century.

Dr. Sunita Gandhi
Founder – Council For Global Education, USA
President – Global Classroom

About the Author

sgDr Gandhi has travelled to and studied education systems in some 38 countries. Her experience in education has been unique and spans a vast range, from the bottom-up grassroots level in villages to classroom practice and top-down education policy reform working with governments during her tenure with the World Bank. Dr Sunita Gandhi has a PhD in Physics from Cambridge University, UK, and a bachelors in Physics from Imperial College, London University. At Cambridge, she received three merit based scholarships: The Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, The Overseas Student Award and Trinity College Scholarship. Dr. Sunita Gandhi comes from a family of well-known educators running the world’s largest school in India with over 47,000 students currently on roll, a Guinness World Record holder. More importantly, the school has received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.