Help them build dreams

Empowered to achieve Teachers should discover the hidden talents of students to realise greater academic success.

Every child is gifted. They just unwrap their packages at different times... goes a popular saying. Indeed, every child has a hidden talent, and an innate potential to succeed. But in many cases, these gifts are left undiscovered or remain suppressed. It is more like a modern espresso machine you purchase — the machine in itself has so many inbuilt features and options, but when our basic needs of a cuppa are met, the other functionalities are often overlooked. When we enroll our kids to schools, what do we expect? Learning new things, getting good grades, but is that all? These are just basic expectations. Some kids meet these expectations, some excel. The ones that excel are considered the ‘gifted’ ones.

Is getting high grades and getting through the prestigious schools the ‘gift’? Do these grades mean that the child’s complete potential is being challenged? Do lower grades indicate any less
potential? It is again similar to the coffee machine — when you get a very good coffee, you term the machine as “very good” at what it does. For a mediocre machine, you get the end result, so you do not bother if the machine is being completely utilised or not!
It all starts from a tender age at kindergarten.

It’s arts time, and a kid doesn’t like art, but he is forced into it, because well, it is arts class! In contrast, another child is very keen and does every step intricately. One is forced into it, and the other one does it with extra interest and perfection. Both of them produce similar results. Of course, they do get appreciated for their work, but then what next? Wouldn’t the second kid be better exposed, if the teacher focuses on her passions, and gives her challenging tasks? And is it even fair to force the first kid to colour the butterfly than ask him what would interest him more?

The thing with children is that they all have varied interests, and each of them learns at a different pace. Some are not even aware of their talents till they are exposed to it. Expecting children to sit in a classroom, listen to lectures, do multiple activities, grasp it all and complete homework on time may probably not be the ways to explore their talents.

Schools and parents too need to realise that every kid has her own strengths and help them focus on those strengths. A child who excels in maths might do better if given
bigger challenges. Another student might not be interested in numbers but would rather write poems. Focusing on their interests and passions and encouraging them to do better is what we need to work on.

So, how could we harness the true and complete potential of the child? Here are a few pointers where schools ought to be more child-centric than teacher-centric. Especially at a younger age, when they start developing their interests and need guidance at each step.

Attention needed

Teachers and parents need to communicate and work together to discover the true interests of the child. They should never force anything on the child. If children seem uninterested, it is good to ask them about what else might interest them. Having patience, listening to children and focusing on their behaviours and guiding them on their line of interest are some other ways of building on their talent.
When a child comes prepared to class, is focused and dedicated, and is doing much better than her peers, it is an indication that she wants to better herself.
And finally, support the child in what he or she wants to do. The world does not run only on BE, MBA, MBBS or MS. A lot of varied professions are on the rise, hence it is easier to work on turning one’s passion into a profession.

After all, kids are rightly called as Taare Zameen Par - Stars on Earth. It is completely up to us to harness their true potential, help them nurture and grow their talents, and enable them to be successful in their respective fields!

(The author is chairperson, Jnana Vijnana Vidyapeetha, Bengaluru)

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