Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Second graders writing english paragraphs!!

This is a real story in one of the private schools. Venue is second standard. The classroom has 30 students with one teacher.

The students are all busy copying long long sentences in their notebooks from the black board. When the notebooks were observed, it was found that half the students were finding it difficult to write, some notebooks were just scribble pads and a few had written very neatly. Now, what were they writing.

"Q: How many days are there in a week?
A: There are seven days in a week.

Q: How many hours are there in one day?
A: There are 24 hours in a day.

blah! blah! blah!"

So, one of the student was asked to read what he has written in their notebook. And as expected, he rattled the first question with the answer. Now, a small test was done.

The board was cleared and then the following words were written: days, many, there. And then was asked to read what was written. To everyone's surprise the child could not read at all. Randomly students were asked to read, and most of them could not read at all, the others struggled with one or two words.

Now, if one analyses this situation, it reflects on what kind of primary education is imparted. The students were actually drawing the alphabets rather than recognizing the letters. They were drawing 'A', 'B', .....'Z'.

This happened because in schools, students are taught to write first, then read, and lastly listen.

Infact, it should have been the other way round.

First the students should develop listening skills. Then recognizing the alphabets, reading small words, then forming short sentences with those words. And finally, writing what has been learnt.

The sad part is the most important things that should have been done in the formative years of a child is emphasized in the later years, when s/he is already pressurized with learning other skills.

Child is always curious and ready to receive information. Our only responsibility is to provide that information in the form that they will understand quickly and emphasize it to be reinforced for retention.


  1. I envy your life. There have been times when I have wondered where i would have been had I not had amazing teachers. They made me what I am. And, the urge to do the same for others is immense. But, the RESPONSIBILITY. I tutored a young girl for a week or so. It was harrowing. Not only was there the pressure of making her understand things that seem trivial to me. But the thought that whatever I do might shape her future... It was terrifying. How do you deal with it ? If you answer this well I might dabble into teaching once more :P

  2. While teaching one has to think at the level of the student. The art of teaching lies in breaking the concept to an atomic level and present it to the child piece by piece. If you are explaining a student, concept of addition to a second grader. You cannot start the way you know it. You have to give him/her objects and help use concepts of counting and gradually introduce the direct trick of addition. Think, how can you teach carry forward to a child!!!


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