With that disclaimer, I think this article could trigger a controversy and hence lead to a discussion there after. I would appreciate if that happens because I always feel discussions are healthier means of taking / moving things forward. As we all know major of the AID NCR volunteers are in to teaching children in some or the other projects. Excellent thing to do as a volunteer and I admire those who are able to do so because I myself understood that teaching the children at projects are one of the most difficult jobs to do in the earth.
These volunteers deserve a millions of pat on their back for taking up that task. However I’m quite taken aback with my recent observations at a few of the classes which I have attended in the projects [specifically at Prayas, where I visit often]. Most of the volunteers who teach there / interact with the children use a higher tone to control the children in the class. They warn them, scold them and for a matter of punishing them event send them back from the class. I agree that children are prone to commit mistakes and are even mischievous but the kind of treatment which should have been from the volunteers must in turn be more of love and affection.
People can suddenly throw a question on me saying that you never thought in a class and how come you can question us / suggest us to do this and that. I have never thought and also whenever I used to teach I have always made it a point that I take care that the child is not felt humiliated [may be a wrong word] in front of others. I can imagine what they would feel if they are suddenly scolded / sent away from the class in front of others. We all have experienced such situations in our schools and that’s why we all hate [if not all most of us] our schooling system. These were some of our discussion topics earlier as well but somehow we all are busy in our lives and don’t have time to discuss these days.
One can argue then what should I do if a child disturbs my class, should I appreciate that by showing more affection to him / her. Obviously “Yes”. A classic example I could quote is Anuj wrote a long time back about a child who used to disturb the class at Aashayein and how he made him co-operate with the class. How many of us who are teaching children try to learn about child psychology. Not essentially all and we don’t feel like we should know all that. It’s just that we want to teach them to grow and they get good marks in their school.
Please consider this a sincere request from me to re-consider the way the children are treated in the class. I admire every one of you for the way you guys spend time for the enlistment of the project and people associated with that. Only request is that we can do it in a better way. I know people of Prayas well so I wasn’t hesitant to quote them in the example :P… however my disclaimer is applicable for volunteers of all the projects :D.
One more simple suggestion I could make at this point is that people working with children should put in an effort to learn about child psychology. There are many books written by John Holt and others who have put in a lot of efforts to understand children. The pick of them are Children Fail and How Children Learn. I have a copy of these books and I shall be happy to share if any one wants to read them. Escape from Childhood is another must read for not only volunteers or people who are into teaching but for anyone who would be a parent. These are some nice concepts which would help to bring up our children in a really better manner. The other one shown here is also an interesting read :).