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Nurturing young minds

Nurturing young minds

Kalsang wangdue (mr) head master
Senior section, tcv gopalpur

 

A reflection on the issue of discipline in schools, and duality of its existence. We must treat our children with respect and dignity that they deserve as future seeds os Tibet and the custodians of our rich culture.

 

I always shudder at the thought of discipline, considering it as necessary evil. For me the basic issue is the fact that human beings ( children include) are not photocopies. Each one of us is unique and different in our own ways, and the need of an overarching discipline seems less relevant if not an outright non-sense. Many a times the way we discipline our children remind me of the inhuman pavlovian method so meticulously described in aldous huxleys dystopian novel the"Brave New World"

As the teacher,so the taught. Students are the reflection of teachers, and goodness and badness we see in them is a reflection of our own collective nature. The types of students is discipline problems that occur in schools are also reflection of larger social reality. In the educational activities, especially in the area of value promotion and dissemination, the teacher has the most important role to play. The most powerful influence of a teachers personality lies in what Michael apple call as" hidden curriculm"- his personality and behavior and the silent message which the students can, and do get through his thinking, discipline of mind and character. Thus here I like to discuss several issues pertaining to discipline and value promotion in the context of Tibetan schools.

 

Impose Include, not

Values and discipline must not be imposed on the students because it creates an artificial atmosphere of orderliness and it can not live long. Values and discipline should be inculcated, disseminated and promoted logically through ways of open discussion and explanation. We must acknowledge the fact that the students are intelligent and rational human beings. We must not force or impose discipline on the students.

 

Be the role model.

For the inculcation to take shape, it is absolutely necessary that the teachers must be the living example of the values that his students must acquire. Because empty words devoid of action is meaningless. If you want your students to be punctual, we as a teacher must first lead by example because we cannot take a double standard. Are we punctual in going to the class on time, doing correction works, and attending school activities? We have to remember that teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.

 

Use reason & logics

Students must not only be taught what is important, but also why it is important. Logical inculcation of values has a far-reaching impact. Teachers must be able to convince the child with logics and real life experiences.

 

Use GEMs

Use what is called GEMs- genuine encounter moments i.e sitting with the child, listening to their problem, and trying to understand their perspectives and most importantly the root cause. Through such interactive sessions, show genuine care for the child and express to the child that you genuinely want him or her to do better. Give place to their voice, and be sensitive to their needs. Treat them as an intelligent human being capable of thinking. Always keep in mind that the problem is problem and not the child is the problem. Separate the DEEDS from the DOER.

 

Level treatment

When we deal with our children, we have to know the variation and differences. If we treat grade xii students in a way we treat grade vii students or vice versa, then we risk running into unnecessary problems. Different levels should be treat in different ways. Those who are familiar with the basics of child psychology know that an individuals ego and self image grows with the age and physical development (what erikson calls as identity versus role confusion stage where a childs psychosocial development depends on what they do than what is done to them). My interaction with senior students over the past five years have given me an ample confidence in my faith that the most difficult change. TCV students suffer corporal punishment because most of them are totally dependent on TCV for their everything and their parents are in Tibet. It is this high degree of dependedness that made our children vulnerable to physical and verbal abuses by teachers. teachers need to ask this question; if we have children of well-to-do families in place of destitute and orphaned kids, would we not give a second thought before raising our hands?

 

Corporal punishment per se is not always undesirable. But what I am arguing against is the kind of sadistically-driven corporal punishment meted out to our children. Statements such as these are commonplace in our schools "so and so senior classes/ students are not behaving well, I will beat them when I get chance" it is the poor teachers who fail to win respect and authority with their wisdom and strength of character that they resort to corporal punishment to assert their authority, other issue that I wanted to draw our attention is that many teachers attempt to create an image of supreme authority, a kind of fear factor in students mind by proclaiming impossibly harsh discipline and maintaining distance from the child. This kind of approach not only creates an artificial sense of orderliness but also hamper his or her instruction in the class.


Complete eradication of corporal punishment is necessary if TCV is to meet global standard and ensure flowering of creativity in the young minds. The reason are simple; corporal punishment are counter- productive and doesn't help in instilling genuine self- discipline; it creates sense of fear and subjected the child to innumerable suffering; shun creativity and individualism and promotes stock mentality.