Mushtaque B Barq
What else a sunny morning can bring at fore, watching school going kids carrying heavy backpacks rushing in all directions to occupy their favourite seat in their school buses. The thrill of this rush may not encourage their parents but for kids it means like conquering a fort, defeating the army and claim authority. First thing first, a favorable seat in the school bus, then occupying adjacent seat for the favorite classmate to engage him with what he has experienced. Confidence, they innocently proclaim for picking a seat to let the excitement expand their cheeks. This pleasant feeling is carried throughout the day adding grace to their already graceful face. If they want to start the day with a smile on face let it be carried.
What irritates an observer is undoubtedly the way they carry their packed backpacks. Bags with tag lines, creative designs of some abstract idea, broken alphabets, hyphenations at will and above all wonderful handwriting displaying their state of mind. Although hard to appreciate, but somehow the observer passes a smile and moves on. They live in a city which to us exists in ether with its own language hard to decode for the one living on the earth. For the sake of argument if at all their backpacks are really loaded with books, and then we have to look ahead for alternatives. Alternatives are easily available tools to address immediate needs, but then before implementing innovative methods, expert opinions must be sought lest the methods should take a back turn to spoil the game.
School authorities must at least give a try to innovations. Every student must carry a folder carrying the Photostat copy of a lesson and unfastened sheets carrying home work to minimize the burden of carrying heavy and hard bound books and copies. What is wrong in giving it a try to take feedback from parents and kids as well? If feedback is encouraging lets us do it and if it fetches criticism let us drop it. The way backpacks are loaded with books, lunch boxes and water bottles, one can easily encourage modifications. Now that digital and online teaching method is in vogue, school authorities must in one voice solve the problems faced by kids for they are forced to carry heavy school bags, making them suffer silently.
They write on the faces of their backpacks what exactly pulsates in their minds, leaving us to read, react and respond. May be they are displaying the plight and we move on without decoding their sign language. If this type of creativity be allowed to flourish in their classrooms, things might change. Classroom walls and toilets shall be spared. May be if provided with a genuine platform, creativity of this sort can contribute to let us know what they demand. If these kids are allowed to obey their innovative methods under a humble supervision, they will certainly allow us to read their scripts otherwise decompose in their guts, hampering their mental grow, making them sick and boring.
Allow them to express. Encourage their ‘moves’. Restrict their unnecessary wish lists, but let them come out of their cocoons to explore the world around. Restrictions are need of the hour, agreed, but don’t restrict their innovations and creativity aided with fancies. Restrictions of this sort can only kill a moth in the cocoon before enjoying sunshine. Let them under a sincere guidance grow. Teach them but don’t tease them. Make them but don’t break them. Encourage them to have their say, never block their words. Let us think on their behalf and design their worksheets to cater their needs. Let them follow our instructions like obedient lambs but not to react like hounds. If they do so, we must also do something to change our conventional methodology. Time has come when we have to change the scenario of our educational system before it changes us for the worst.