The times, they’re a-changin’

Reading the daily newspaper, I came across an appalling article which made me think about the upcoming generation of today and the generation of the past – one that I belonged to. Our disliking to peculiar teachers, then was restricted to name calling and mild bitching which would only be a shared secret amongst us as we all had this feeling at the back of the head that it somehow was ‘wrong’. I had indulged in a few bitching sessions too, not that I am proud of it.

But this newspaper article particularly stunned me. It comprised of various incidents of student-teacher clashes that had gone worse. In April 2012, class 11 students of a government school in West Bengal had locked their teachers into a room for failing them in their exams. In February 2012, the most controversial one, a Chennai student had stabbed his teacher because he thought she was being too strict on him. Even more shocking, he didn’t even try to flee after that. Many teachers I see of late, crib about not knowing the right method to deal with kids with all the rights of children that fiercely protects them. Leniency or being mild on the part of the teachers and over permissiveness from the parents has led to the emergence of a situation today that makes the ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child maxim seem so true.These are just a few incidents I have related but I am sure that many of you might have been a witness to similar such incidents around you.

The point is….that is the young generation of today so intolerant or is it just my imagination combined with paranoia? I prefer to stick to the former one on the basis of my logic.

What can the reason be?

I feel that this is the age of bbs and iphones. The ‘fast’ generation I would prefer to call it. Emergence of nuclear families for one where both the parents work to earn a ‘more than decent’ standard of living. Children are left to fend off for themselves under the care of a nanny or most probably the tuition classes and other co-curricular activities that can keep them busy.  Lack of communication is rampant so is the unbelievably high level of expectation on the part of the parents plus the teachers and the peers. To make up for it, the folks bestow their children with all forms of facilities read happiness, that they can provide. To add to it is the degrading level of television shows which has mutilated the very meaning of ‘morality’  and finally the internet which is a microcosm in its own right. I read somewhere once that an average American child watches approximately more than 18000 murders on television by the age of 7. Doesn’t this pressure make them more vulnerable than they already are? It makes me imagine a picture of a tiger left free in a jungle full of traps and good meat.

Now with this bulging pressure where will they vent out their major frustration? Obviously on something where they spend their major part of childhood – the school. This picture here says it all.

How to deal with this?

I would like to initiate this with an amazing quote by Karl Menninger, What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.”

I am sure all the trained teachers are aware of the three domains of teaching. In my humble opinion, concentrating on the affective domain matters a lot. Though they are the most targeted, teachers also are the center of inspiration in the schools as they are the ones in close contact with the students. This positive point can be worked upon intensely in their benefit. The increased importance on the inculcation of 10 core values while teaching says a lot about the need of the hour. The 10 core components identified in the National Policy on Education (1986) are:

  • the history of India’s freedom movement;
  • Constitutional obligations;
  • the content essential to nurture national identity;
  • India’s common cultural heritage;
  • egalitarianism;
  • democracy and secularism;
  • equality of the sexes;
  • protection of the environment;
  • removal of social barriers;
  • observance of small-family norms; and
  • inculcation of scientific temper.

Every lesson in our textbooks talks about one or many core values. Implementing them in the form of a short story ,role play, dramatization, higher order thinking question, movie, etc even once in a while can hugely affect the innocent young mind. The child then starts seeing you as a friend rather than some scary authoritative figure. Child centric teaching is not bad at all but ignoring the parents and the teachers completely instead of keeping them up to date about the latest development can bring in some hazards.

Would like to end this post with an amazing song by Colonial Cousins


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