Don't Compare - Every Child Is Different


Avoid Pressure To Work Better

This book is a wonderful example of how parents and teachers can prepare their child to become a good citizen. It elaborates on how we can deal with children's challenges in future by sharing our own and others' experiences with them. The numerous qualities described in this book, such as courage, hope, determination, and humility, are the values that every parent wants to see in his or her child. It is the duty of teachers and parents alike to inculcate these qualities in their children in order to help them achieve their goal in life. A child must have courage to give his opinion and stand by what he believes in. He must also possess the ability to accept the reality and truth whenever he is wrong. It is important that that we learn from our mistakes in order to prevent them from recurring, and the first step in this regard is accepting them. I would like to share an example of how this book can help us in our classroom.

There is a girl in class V - Navya. When her teacher distributed the exam sheets to the children, Navya did not secure the marks that her mother was expecting. Her mother had told her that she must get more than 90 marks in all subjects because she had made her study hard. Navya was under pressure as she feared she'd get scolded and punished if she told her mother about her marks. As a result, Navya gave fake scores to her mother. When Navya’s mother came to take the report card, she told the class teacher that this time Navya had got more than 90%. The teacher thought she had misunderstood the grading system. She explained it to her. Navya’s mother was shocked that her daughter had not been honest about her marks in any subject. Her actual score was less than 70%. She was very angry and decided to give Navya a hard time. She told the teacher that she had taught her daughter well but could not understand why she got such low marks. There were students who had scored full marks. The teacher asked her to calm down and ponder over why Navya lied to her. Her mother responded by saying that the fear of getting punished must have caused her to lie.
 
The teacher tried to explain that Navya was left feeling under pressure due to this. All children are different and their performances are also different in every subject. Navya may have interest in other activities and should not be compared with others. No one is perfect in this world and everyone makes mistakes. The same applies to Navya. The teacher advised the mother to be patient with Navya so that the child can share her feelings comfortably. A person cannot work properly under pressure and sometimes ends up making a wrong decision to escape from the pressure. Putting pressure blocks all communication and increases the chances of the same mistake being repeated in future.
 
Navya’s mother realised that she needs to trust her child to dissuade her from hiding anything in future. She also needs to be more polite with her in order to understand her better. She should not mount expectations on her. This will only put her under pressure and will bring her performance down further. She decided to help her child explore her interests and hone them. 

This book is helpful for teachers as well as for parents to prepare their children for future. Every individual has his own dreams and interests which must not be compared with those of others. Instead, a child must be motivated to achieve his own goal with determination. For this, a supportive environment must be ensured.  

~ Monika Vaishnav is an Educator at The Fabindia School. Her email is mvv4fab@gmail.com

Tackling Pressure on Students


Victory Over Pressure
“Is Your Child Ready to Face the World?" is a great book for understanding the psychology of a child. The author, Dr. Anupam Sibal, is a Pediatrician, having good knowledge of child behavior. In this book, he has written about his journey of raising his son Devaang with moral virtues such as humility, truthfulness, and compassion. He prepares Devaang to face the world, equipped with these good values. 


All the parts of the books are enlightening, but the part I liked most is the one that deals with “Handling Pressure”. It notes that the immense pressure on students due to sickness, study and other reasons may cause many pediatric symptoms. Further, it is also indicative of serious problems in future such as depression, loss of appetite, and negativity. The book provides the example of a child with peer pressure symptoms. 

While reading this chapter, the image of one of my students flashed again and again in my mind. Her name is Bhawika, a girl who faced immense pressure this year. Her parents wanted her to perform well in her academics as well as in other activities. For that, they met the teachers and the Principal as they were not satisfied with the grades secured by their child. They wanted her to perform like an all-rounder student. Bhawika was good at all subjects, given her age. But they wanted her to be the best. They wanted her to be promoted from Grade 5 to Grade 6, which required her to take some tests. This put her under pressure and she could not perform well. Even then her parents insisted that she be promoted to Grade 6. As a result of this pressure the child’s behaviour changed completely. She stopped talking with her friends and was always lost in deep thought. When I asked her about her sadness, she told me that she did not want to be promoted to Grade 6. The thought of taking tests and moving on to the next grade came as a shock to her and she felt that she was not mentally prepared for such a move. One day she began sobbing during the class. Upon being asked about it, she told me that she didn't want to leave her friends and that she did not find herself fit for Grade 6. I decided to meet her parents and make them understand the fact that they must not pressurise their child. I quoted an example from the book to explain my point. Luckily, they agreed with me and gave up the idea of double promotion of their child. Soon after, I noticed that Bhawika was happy again and was paying attention towards her studies and games.

Pressure affects children negatively and makes them deviate from their normal behaviour. It also tends to take away their happiness and robs them of the joys of childhood. It is crucial that as parents and educators we understand and tackle this pressure in every possible way.

~ Rajeshwari Rathore is an Educator at The Fabindia School. Her email is rre4fab@gmail.com

Transforming The Classroom Into A Child's Happy Place


Spread Happiness 
Reading the book "Is Your Child Ready to Face the World?" by Dr. Anupam Sibal has been a very pleasant experience. I liked all the qualities explained in the book, but "Making Others Happy" has  impressed me the most. I believe that it is a very important quality in order to improve the ethical standards of our children. The author describes how the students live happily in their own dream world and try to reconcile the world around them with it. 

Now a days, students in a classroom increasingly need happiness as they are constantly experiencing a number of pressures relating to academics, parents and their peers. The result is stress, frustration, and anger. We can make them happy by listening to them and guiding them towards the joy that resides in sports, music, nature and art. 

When the students in my class spot clouds in the sky, they always demand to play or study outside. And though it is difficult to send them outside on a regular basis, a creative teacher can do that some times by asking them to maintain happiness and politeness in the classroom in return on other days.

A happy teacher can instil joy in the circumstances and the world of her students. A teacher can transform her classroom into a place as exciting as the Disneyland by teaching her students about values such happiness, love for nature, and sporting attitude. She can demonstrate to them the importance of having a zest for life despite its harsh realities.

I remember a boy named Ajaypal in class II who always used to sit quietly in the classroom. Whenever I asked him questions or went near him, he got upset and scared. He never participated in class activities. I decided to find the reason behind this behaviour in order to solve the problem. So, I ordered him to keep smiling regardless of his mood. After some days, he began turning into a happy and confident child. He even secured the 1st position in the Inter-House English Recitation Competition.

Through this incident, I learnt that a happy child never gives up hope. We should listen to them carefully, try to remove their unhappiness, and teach them with a positive approach. It is well understood that stressed and unhappy people never think positively and make mistakes in their tasks. Hence, being happy and positive is a necessary trait to lead a wholesome life.

I believe that real learning happens in a happy environment, so I will try to make my children happy to help them achieve better results, both in the classroom and beyond.

~ Urmila Rathore is an Educator at The Fabindia School. Her email is urd4fab@gmail.com

7 tips for effective PD programs

The Professional Learning Association

INDIA: www.LearningForward.IN
Consider these seven tips for building an effective PD program in your school or district. And please, skip the clown nose. You can thank me later.

Align PD to instructional goals 
Learning goals for staff must be driven by learning goals for students. Look for synergies between assessment data, curricula and other instructional resources. These connections can provide valuable insight when creating PD opportunities.
The more information that goes into preparing professional learning for teachers, the better aligned it will be to your school’s or district’s goals.

Identify learning outcomes 
Once you have identified staff learning goals, it’s time to determine goals for specific teams and individuals. While some objectives fit all teachers, you may find that the special education team or intervention specialists, for example, will benefit from more targeted goals that focus on their specific approaches and their students’ needs.
Review existing PD options Many districts have access to abundant PD opportunities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these opportunities are the right ones.
Take stock of all options available to you and select the ones that best match your school’s or district’s goals. Through this process, you can discover where you have unsupported goals—and determine whether additional learning would be beneficial to them.  

Give the gift of time 
Successful PD is a regular and ongoing activity, and that can’t happen unless you dedicate actual time. Building time into teachers’ daily schedules for planning and collaboration allows powerful practices to take hold. It will also support a culture where teacher professionalism is understood and valued—and that is a culture teachers want to join and stay in.

Make professional learning relevant 
A well thought out PD plan connects learning activities to teachers’ daily work. Teachers should leave learning sessions with insights, strategies and tools that are relevant to their curricula and can be used in the classroom right away.

Measure success with metrics 
A PD program is successful only if teachers find it supports their work. Build evaluation metrics into the program so teachers can continually evaluate their progress and the effectiveness of new methods. Importantly, schools and districts should be prepared to adjust programming based on these evaluations.

Keep staff engaged 
Educators should be engaged throughout the entire PD process, not only during sessions and collaborative learning time. Staff should be able to view these PD efforts as a process that empowers them to identify and work toward their learning goals. 

Jean Fleming brings over 25 years of experience in education to her role at the Northwest Evaluation Association, where she specialises in PD practices and instructional supports.

Spreading Joy and Making a Difference - One Step At a Time

Making Others Happy
The author of the book "Is Your Child Ready To Face The World?" has presented before his readers the importance of the sense of satisfaction that one stands to gain by doing good for others, which in turn can help dissolve all the stress and tension of daily life for some time. 

The author has quoted examples from real life wherein personalities, such as Charlie Chaplin, always worked with the aim of spreading happiness and bringing smiles to people's faces on a daily basis. The author has compared the good old days, when people found happiness in little things, with the present era, where despite being blessed with all the luxuries needed for a happy life, happiness is nowhere to be found.

Going by the author's way of leading life and his emphasis on making others happy, I decided to spread some permanent smiles by way of educating the young children of my society's watchman.

I live in an apartment society and Mr. Babulal serves as the watchman of our society. He and his wife have been given a one-room residential space outside the building where he stays with his wife and two children.  He earns a meagre amount every month and his wife also works to support the family by doing household chores for the other residents.  Both his children, a daughter and a son, are very curious and enjoy studying. They often used to come over to my place in the evenings to study.

One day, Mr. Babulal told me that he wants his daughter to become a doctor, and for that he wants to send her to the best school in order to avail the best possible education. I was aware of the legal provision of the RTE Act, whereby 25% seats in any private school are reserved for children belonging to poor families. I decided to get the girl admitted to our school and help her gain access to all possible facilities needed to pass her grades with flying colours. Another thing that worked in our favour was our school's progressive policy of advocating and proactively promoting girls' education. I was sure that it would prove to be the best platform for her to pursue her dreams. I got all her documentary proofs gathered in order to help them fill her application form. Soon, she got admitted on a 100% scholarship in one of the oldest schools in Pali district i.e. The Fabindia School.

On her first day I met her in school and was elated to see the smile on her face. The happiness of being associated with a good school and having better books and new friends around her was clearly evident. She put in great efforts to cope with the pace of her fellow mates as she had joined late and used to complete her work immediately after coming back from school.

Facilitating the child in gaining access to better opportunities, which in turn would open up new horizons for her, has been a priceless experience in my life. I hope she goes on to fulfil all her dreams with happiness.

~ Sharmila Vijayvargi is an Educator at The Fabindia School. Her email is svi4fab@gmail.com

Determination: An Important Life Skill

Determination
During the return journey, after having attended my daughter's Graduation Ceremony, I pondered over her decision to join a corporate legal firm for the next two years before pursuing her L.L.M in International Business. A question constantly troubled me - Will my daughter be able to face the world?
                               
Luckily, I caught hold of a book by Dr. Anupam Sibal - "Is Your Child Ready to face the World?" in the school library. I think every parent and educator must read this book. It is a great aid for us educators in understanding and helping our students, and inculcating various qualities and soft skills in them, so that they can face the world with courage and confidence.

Having been the class teacher of Class X and handling the pressure of the students' first ever public examination (i.e. Class X Board Examination), I recall the story of two of my students. One is that of Muskan, a very confident and promising student from the very beginning, and the other is that of  Chandresh, a shy, simple, village student, who wanted to prove himself by performing well and securing his future studies.
                        
The challenge was to help students score high grades while simultaneously equipping them to deal with the pressure of the Board examination effectively. Muskan, on the one hand, was very confident and was able to overcome all her difficulties by actively seeking the support of her family and staff. On the other hand, Chandresh was a very shy and quiet student, who hesitated in getting his doubts cleared and seeking the help of the teachers in overcoming the pressure.

One Saturday, in the Life Skills lesson, I decided to assign to my students various roles to play, so as to increase their determination and will power and use this activity to discuss ways in which great personalities like Napoleon used determination to achieve success.
                              
As expected, Muskan gained the determination to set a record by achieving 10 C.G.P.A. Chandresh, on the other hand, slowly opened up to me and began discussing his personal and academic problems in various subjects. Other teachers also helped him in overcoming his difficulties and solving his personal problems.

The book is a powerful tool in the hands of all parents and educators looking to make their children competent in facing the world by aiding development of necessary skills and qualities in them.

~ Ajay Vijayvargi is an Educator at The Fabindia School. His email is avi4fab@gmail.com

Happy Students, Happy Teachers

Making Others Happy
After reading the book "Is your Child ready to Face the World?" by Dr. Sibal for the LFIN Professional Development Program during  the summer vacation, I visualized and understood the psychology of students, and as an educator decided to utilise these valuable tips in the teaching-learning process.

Apart from regular Computer lessons, whenever I have a substitution lesson with any class, I have started getting my classes to the computer lab to let the students use the internet to access permissible sites, download relevant content, and save it in a folder. This has helped them in learning new tactics and using new software.

Different age groups enjoyed these free periods and started requesting the substitution in-charge to assign more periods (free) to me. The smaller kids who used the computers in the lab felt happy and excited, and enjoyed the simple activity of coloring of objects in MS Paint.

The older ones enjoyed as most of them never get a chance to search the internet, and thereby enjoyed surfing various educational sites. They happily collected the information that was useful to them and pertained to their interest, and shared their experiences with their parents and helped create a good image of the school.

The seniors students always try to obtain necessary information, learn new softwares and technology, download previous year board exam papers, and solve online test papers to check their level of preparation for the exam. They also discuss various new apps that can help them maximize the benefits of technology.

Trying to make my students happy really gives me a great sense of satisfaction and happiness. It has in turn helped me in communicating with my students better and improving their skills.

~ Usman Gani is an Educator at The Fabindia School. His email is ugi4fab@gmail.com

Determination and Hard Work (With A Pinch Of Strictness)


Hard Work Leads To Success
The book “Is Your Child Ready to Face the World?” by Dr. Anupam Sibal is one of the best books, both for teachers and parents, to develop good qualities in a child. If a child has good qualities then he will become a good person, and thus a good citizen of the country. The book tells us how and why qualities like honesty, courage, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, etc. are necessary. Additionally, it shows us ways in which we can develop these in our children. Giving real life examples, instead of lectures, is a good way of inculcating good qualities in a child as this leaves a lifelong impact on the child.

While reading this book I recalled an incident. My relative's son Bhavesh was very weak in studies. His father was very strict but his mother was very polite and always supported her son, even when he was wrong. I was asked to teach him so he could at least pass his examinations. So I began teaching him. At first, Bhavesh gave me a hard time. He never did his homework and did not revise anything for his tests. I was very polite initially, but then I became strict as Bhavesh was a stubborn boy.

I told him that if he does not complete the work given by me, he will have to do 20 sit-ups for every wrong or incomplete answer. Bhavesh found this very difficult as he was overweight and ended up in tears every time he had to do this exercise. His mother would come to support him but I made her understand that I was doing it for the benefit of her son. I made Bhavesh realize that it was better to work hard and learn his coursework than to do sit ups. He took my advice and began taking interest in studies, learning his answers, and doing his homework regularly. We both worked hard. He cleared his doubts and practiced questions. In the end, he passed with good marks. His parents were very happy as they had given up hope.  

The experience demonstrated that if one has great determination and is ready to work hard, he will surely succeed in life. And sometimes, parents and teachers need to be strict in the right measure to give the right direction to children.

~ Prerna Rathod is an Educator at The Fabindia School. Her email is prd4fab@gmail.com

Guide, Encourage, and Motivate!

Parental Pressure: A Virus For The Child
“Is Your Child Ready to Face the World?” by Dr. Anupam Sibal is an outstanding book, which deals with the qualities and skills that are necessary for both parents and teachers to build a strong relationship with a child. With changing times, the emergence of a generation gap between parents and their children is natural. This book has effectively touched upon a range of qualities that can help us approach a child, communicate with him, and instil these qualities in him.

This book consists of eighteen qualities which, I think, are necessary for a child preparing to face the world. If a teacher wants her child to imbibe these qualities, she too needs to change herself first. A teacher is a second parent to the child while he or she is at school. Her first task is to absorb these qualities herself so that she can set a good example in front of her students. Students always look upon their teachers as role models so it is necessary for them to change first. 

The book has inspired me greatly. The qualities and values elaborated upon in the book can help us teachers in moulding our students in a way that makes them adept at facing challenges and obstacles in pursuit of success. This book has been a great learning experience for me and I am absolutely sure that this will make my students' life worth living.

I remember my student Ajaydeep, who was a brilliant student. She was good in academics, acting, sports, drawing, etc. She was great in every field! After looking at her results, her parents thought of getting her promoted. This double promotion affected her a lot. As she had missed an entire year's coursework, she could not understand many of the concepts that were covered in her missed year. Due to this, she could not perform well. In Mathematics, she barely managed to pass in her First Term examination. This put her under pressure. She started keeping to herself, stopped eating her brunch, and started losing weight. At first, I couldn't understand why such a brilliant student had changed so much. I called her one day and tried to find the reason behind it. She burst into tears and narrated her story. At the time, I consoled her and sent her back. Later, I called her parents to school and made them realize their mistake of pressurizing their child. I made them see how the pressure of double promotion had led to this situation. I also made them understand that they need to let her set her own goals and avoid letting the pressure of competition get to their child. The parents promised not to pressurize their child anymore.

After that I called Ajaydeep and told her to not worry about marks. I asked her to put in her best in the areas she felt she was confident and strong in. After some days she became her original self again. The same lively and ever-smiling child that she once was! Teachers need to guide, encourage and motivate their students so that they can overcome the challenges in life easily.

~ Bharti Rao is an Educator at The Fabindia School. Her email is bro4fab@gmail.com

How you can manage to solve problems

"Is Your Child Ready To Face The World?"
In this summer vacation, we got a task to read the book “Is Your Child Ready To Face The World?” by Dr Anupam Sibal. It is a book that teaches you values and to build qualities in yourself. As I read the book, it became more and more interesting and exciting. The situations and examples were given are wonderful and the language is wonderful too. To read the quotations and to understand them gives you a new experience. All the chapters give a new teaching and learning experience. A teacher must have all these values and qualities in himself or herself so that he or she can mould a child in a better way to face the challenges of the world, be a good citizen and have a bright future.

I do remember a boy named Vartik from Teresa House. An English Debate Competition was being held in the school. I had to choose two participants. He was feeling shy about taking part. As I knew he was good in English and had a loud voice, he was the right participant for me. Now it was my task to motivate him. I called him and we talked for some time.  I asked him to show me his talent. I told him, "Be confident, don’t worry about the result, give your best. Your teacher is always ready to help." Finally, he agreed to participate in the competition. There was a smile on his face and on my face too. After that, we had a small discussion on the topic of the debate. He noted down the points and prepared a speech for the next day. He rehearsed and practised it. He had problems but he managed to solve them with some help. I was glad he participated and the result was that he stood First in the debate competition.

This book really helps a teacher to build a relationship with a child with love, cheerfulness, happiness and compassion.

~ Gajendra Mewara is an Educator at The Fabindia School, his email  gma4fab@gmail.com

When We Change, The World Changes

Soul Reflections

Visualise waking up tomorrow morning, absolutely contented. Satisfied with everything - God, our life, family, food, home, job, friends, money, comforts, city. Accepting myself, people, situations, traffic, pollution, weather, as they are. Admiring the beauty and uniqueness in every speck of creation. Savouring morning cup of tea, discharging duties with a smile, enjoying every interaction, sending a blessing to everyone, relishing food, focusing only on the good, welcoming surprises, remaining hopeful even in a hopeless situation - simply living it up with faith and love. How different will my tomorrow be from my today?

My quality of life will rise a few notches because I choose to change my tomorrow, and it starts with one thought - of contentment for everything I have. My thought triggers a pleasant feeling, an attitude of gratitude, right actions and soothing behaviour. So I send positive energy to my body, to people and the universe, influencing all three - so my health improves, relationships become harmonious, and I contribute to world peace. If I repeat this the next day and the next, what started as CHANGES IN ME, WILL CHANGE MY WORLD. Also, I am always one thought away from changing my world.

My world is not somewhere out there. It starts from within me, from my thoughts. I the being, constantly radiate my energy into the world. So if I emerge the divinity within, the world changes. If I heal someone with my love, the world changes. If I stand up for morals, the world changes. If I reconcile with my past, the world changes. When I go step out into the outer world in this state, my every action will reflect the flavour of my inner world.

As angels, we are agents of change. Let us influence our family, country, and the entire humanity, one day at a time by transforming ourselves. Let our collective energy of goodness envelop the planet to bring a change and bring in the Golden Age - Satyug.

- BK Shivani 
Brahma Kumari Shivani is an Indian spiritual teacher and inspirational speaker and has been a Brahma Kumaris teacher and a member of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University since approximately 1995.

7 signs you should invest in school ERP

With the rising number of new school management software in the market and the growth of advanced technologies, schools are doubtful of what an ERP can really do for them. For this reason, many schools give up investing in ERP without even lifting the benefits. However, if your school has the condition to honour the investment adjusting to its cash flow, it is worth raising the benefits and see the returns that this decision could bring. 
Here are seven signs that indicate your school a School Management Software:
1. You don’t know where to find the information
It could be the basic information of a student or the financial details of the entire institution. Are you able to find this information in a timely manner? If not, your school information system needs an immediate change to do your job effectively. 
2. You spend endless hours on creating lesson plans
How much time does your teacher spend on planning lessons? If it is taking more time than usual, then it will soon cut down the productivity of your teachers and students. An effective timetable management system can simplify your job and the teachers can focus more on teaching.
3. You are under stress of duplication, confusion, balancing multiple systems.
Do you often switch between applications because your data is stored across multiple systems? Reports can take more time and generate errors due to duplication of data. Avoid confusions and save time on your reporting by switching to a completely integrated school management system.
4. Data security is a nightmare
With various policies and laws governing data usage and usage, you need to ensure that your school data is used fairly, lawfully and for specifically stated purposes. If you think your data security is at risk, then move to a cloud based system which allows you to control how you use your data throughout your school. 
5. You are struggling to meet your enrollment targets
Are you facing problems with admissions? Lower student intake gives parents a feeling that the school is at risk of closure. But don’t worry, you can boost student enrollment rates by streamlining your admission process. Here is an interesting case study of how MI College has done it. The trick is quite simple, move to a better school management platform where your marketing and sales teams can collaborate and perform effectively.
6. Low level of parental engagement
Parental engagement is important for bridging the gap between pupils, teachers and parents. Regular and reliable communication between the school and pupils’ families is the key to establish a better school-home partnership.  Invest in an automated messaging system and start sharing important information with the wider school community.
7. Your overall school results are declining
Is your school facing falls in pupils’ results? Do you have a system to track individual student progress? Well, all you need to do is to use the right software for student evaluation and assessment. Tracking attendance, test scores and behaviour can significantly boost pupils’ results.
~ Aparna V Nair, Creative Content Writer, Akira Software Solutions (P) Ltd.

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