Thursday, March 26, 2020

Arpan Rai: Challenging times demand challenging measures


A message from a Teacher/Parent/Citizen

As the country enters into the 2nd day of the nationwide lockdown, one cannot help but wonder, 'What on earth are the children going to do?'

Then one realises that the digital platform has provided everyone with an interface to proceed with classroom learning.

Actually 'these days' that children can stay at home will indeed be a blessing because they have access to not just the digital world but also to their families, 'their own institution'. Probably every child who lives in a residential school couldn't have dreamt of a better opportunity than this 'lockdown'.

Yes, they might not be able to 'hang out' with their friends 'physically' but they do 'hang out' with their peers online, so much fuss about 'social distancing'.

For the parents who are wondering, ' How will we keep our children engaged at home?', I believe the best answer can be found in Roald Dahl's famous poem, 'The Television' which encourages parents to replace the Television with a bookshelf, but we all can do better than that.

Parents could use these 21 days or whatever number of days that might be necessary to combat this 'pandemic', to 'listen' to children, plan 'a future together'. 

We all could use this enforced lockdown to 'listen' to our children, encourage them to meditate, teach them basic survival skills, teach them about money that is very important.

We could talk to them about age-related issues, such as infatuation, hormonal changes in the body, aggressiveness, drug-related matters, dangers of physical intimacy, or all those things that we have always wanted to talk about, but haven't or didn't have the time to do so.

We all know that children in classes 9-12, already know their syllabi. They could proceed with their content.

Children could mark out the difficult concepts, try and identify chapters they would need help from their teachers. So that when they do return to their schools, the lesson plan could be arranged to accommodate difficulties first, prioritise the challenges.

Thereafter, children could ask the school to help them to get through to their respective teachers who in return could help with those chapters, either online or offline.

Children in class 8-12 could use this time to 'iron out' the difficulties that they had in their lower- classes. They could try to revise those lessons/ chapters that were challenging, confusing or difficult. Since they all have access to different digital platforms.

Children in the primary half of schooling could focus on foundational principles, such as: 
For maths-addition, subtraction, multiplication, for eng-parts of speech, tenses, one word for many, HCG- maps of the world, timelines in history, identification and differentiation in science, etc.
Children should draw, dance, sing, make a craft.

But most importantly, children should learn and be taught manners, courtesy, discipline. 

Please ask children to help with household chores, teach our daughters to ride a bicycle or drive while teaching our sons to cook, wash dishes, clothes etc.

Children should be handheld through religious discourses,  but ensure they can differentiate between 'a truth' and 'a lie'.

Kindly encourage children to stay fit, eat right. Read a book before they go to sleep. Encourage them to sleep early and wake up early.

Assign duties to children, such as fixing their bed, giving medicines to their grandparents, feeding the pet, watering the plants, etc.

Additionally, encourage them to maintain personal hygiene.

We all understand that children will fray our nerves but be patient, treat them with kindness. Be forgiving. Be encouraging, make them feel loved, appreciated and wanted

As teachers, we all want to return to schools, children too, but this pandemic is life-threatening, so hold on.

We have heard stories of how resilience works, this might be our great flood.

I am sharing what was shared by a cousin, hope it won't violate any copyright issues:

1- When the flood came, where were Noah and his family?
At home

2- When the three angels visited Abraham, where was he?
At home.

3- When the two Angels went to Sodom and Gomorrah, where was Lot?
At home

4- When the Angel killed the firstborn of Egypt, where were the Israelites?
At home.

5- Where were the apostles of Jesus when they received the Holy Spirit?
At home

6- Where are we because of the coronavirus?
At home.

Pray, Believe, Repeat.
- Arpan Rai <mozaisarp@gmail.com>

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