“One failure does not, and should not, define you.”
For many Indian parents, the month of March is crucial not because it marks the beginning of spring or end of the financial year. It is merely because it marks the beginning of the Final Exams for schoolchildren and some important Board exams for classes X and XII.
For many of us with children below 10 years, the dining table becomes the battlefield where you struggle hard to go through the class work notebooks of your children; realise how the teachers have blindly got the corrections/follow-up work done while the children sit crouched in a corner hiding the mobiles in their hands and wondering which all games to download during the Preparatory Leave.
While exams are supposed to be just another way of checking what the child learnt throughout the academic session, we grab it as another opportunity to parade our children as our TROPHIES. And that’s when we make them “WORRIERS” rather than “WARRIORS”.
The ancient Vedic Pattern of Education which was followed in Indian Ashrams tried to connect the world outside classrooms with the knowledge gained inside the classrooms. The oral-aural, physical and intellectual capabilities were put to test through different tasks. The students were judged on the basis of their individual developments through routine tasks.
But with the changes in the Education system, the pattern of Evaluation too changed. With big classrooms, teachers struggle to make the process of examination easy to plan, administer and implement. Sometimes that may not be the right method to test the students, but it being what it is; we need to equip our children to handle it just like we let them handle school on a daily basis.
Here are a few suggestions to make the exams a routine thing rather than a stressful event for you and your children.
1. Who are you competing with? Instead of competing with the best student in the class, encourage your children to compete with themselves. If handwriting was their weakness in the last assessments, let them try to improve it this time. In addition to working on the child’s strengths try to find out methods to make them do things which they hate the most. For instance, my daughter tends to make silly calculation mistakes due to over confidence. So I keep asking her to check the answers I give to simple questions related to additions, multiplication or finding out area and perimeters. She enjoys checking me and I get to improve her without much ado.
2. Time for Revisions. Teachers do not introduce new concepts in the final exams in India. So in addition to reading and understanding the syllabus once again, what is most important is to revise the question-answers and other practical exercises. Instead of wasting time on trying to learn new words, concepts or skills; help the children to revise whatever has been done in the school. This does not mean cramming or memorizing things only. Divide the syllabus of each subject into small definite sub-sets of skills such as vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, observation, creative writing, and general knowledge and so on and give them practice exercises on one skill per subject on a daily basis.
3. Live Life while you prepare. You may be preparing your children for exams but that does not mean you stop breathing. Similarly, do not stop the normal routine activities of your child. I see the parks and market places all empty because parents do not let their children go out to play or meet friends during exams. In my opinion, a small dose of fresh air and physical activities will always be effective in keeping the child’s mind alert and attentive.
4. Let them sleep peacefully. Somebody has rightly said that a task well-planned is half done. During exams, if you plan the child’s routine wisely with a little foresight, you can let the child go to sleep peacefully. Children will perform better in exams if they are not late or chaotic. Help them to revise, eat early dinner and pack their schoolbags a night prior to the exams. This way they can wake up fresh and stay focused.
5. Make them understand what is important:knowledge, fun, life or marks. Do not make success/failure in exams the yardstick to measure your children. Let them aspire to live happily before they get into the rat race of standing first/second in their class/batch. Tell them that they need to be grateful for whatever they have got and do their best. If they enjoy doing so they will acquire knowledge, have fun, make friends as well as end up getting good grades. But if they don’t understand what they are doing, they will never enjoy doing it.
So parents, this year on wards let us learn to create
EXAM WARRIORS instead of WORRIERS.