Minimum Level of Learning

Ensuring The Minimum Level of Learning – Survival/Life Skills
SRI. S. RAMALINGAM,  M.Ed (Spl.Edn), LLB, M.A(PSY), M.A (SOC),M.SC (Phy), PGDS.Edn, B.ED (Phy Sci & Maths)

A Child Miseducated Is a Child Lost – John F Kennedy
Even in the current years of technology and modernization, there are lots of difficulties and problems faced by the children in fundamental education (i.e. simple reading, writing, spelling, maths, science and environment science).
Today children are unlucky and unable to live with natural resources, education is the manifestation of many theories like, idealism, naturalism, pragmatism, materialism etc, but today’s education gives its full focus on materialism only. Even though the educationalists and psychologists talks about child centered education, in practical it is not given due importance.
Kids are addicted towards electronic gadgets, even for their basic needs like eating, drinking etc we are forced to use electronic gadgets like TV, Tab, Computer etc. they lack the adequate human touch for their natural sensory development. In this way they don’t use their natural resources fully.
Age between 0 to 7 years plays a vital role in the physical, emotional, social and educational development of the child. According to Naturalist, parents and teachers have a very important role in the child’s development; they should be a guide and not an instructor. We should slowly and gradually bring the children back from their addiction towards electronic gadgets make them develop interest towards natural things.  Nature of learning is joyful and not painful. 
According to Ebbinghus, a pioneer in the study of memory says that associate words could be remembered better than meaningful words and meaningful words could be remembered better than meaningless or nonsense syllables. Therefore Teaching or learning should be meaningful and associated.
Some children have less ability to understand the subjects and remember it for a long time and produce it when needed. These children show poor performance in academics especially in language, mathematics and science. Often struggles with the formulas and the problems. Since these children are concrete learners they have difficulty in understanding abstract concepts. For e.g if we teach the parts of the plant in the black board, it will be vague for these children, whereas if we give them the real plants and show them the parts of the plant and give them opportunity to touch and explore, they will never forget because they don’t have the problem in memory. They lack the ability in transfer of learning.
In maths, the child knows the tables upto 10, if we ask him/her randomly he could able to answer but in application, i.e  the questions like (in a row there are 5 flowers, if there are 3 rows, how many flowers totally?) the child finds difficult to answer, the reason is because of the problem in transfer of learning.
There are also great individual differences among these children.   These children can be categorized into three levels
1.     Children who need less support.
2.     Children who need average support.
3.     Children who need more support.
Based on the above categories the children should be identified on right time and appropriate support services i.e. remedial / clinical teaching should be given. If they are not properly identified in school days and if we do not give proper intervention programmes to rectify the problems, their manpower will be wasted and the country will lose its human resources.
For the past 5 to 10 years there is a rapid increase in the population of children with learning disabilities, slow learners and intellectual disabilities. This is mainly due to the following reasons;
1.     Children lack the opportunity to play due to the lack of playgrounds in school because Playing plays a vital role in providing sound mind in a sound body.
2.     Improper methods adopted by teachers.
3.     Over expectation of parents.
4.     Underestimation
5.     Nuclear family
6.     Focus on rote memory
7.     Lack of time to read meaningfully.
8.     Unable to attend social events like marriages, temple festivals etc
9.     Lack of time/opportunities to meet relatives and lack of elder’s guidance.
The children have difficulties to understand numerical concept, measurements i.e. litre, meter, kilogram units and other life oriented skills. These are invisible and hidden problems
Torrance, an Eminent American Psychologist says:
“Suppression of the creativity of a child leads learning disabilities, behavioral problems, school drop outs and mental conflict and above all to loss of mankind”.
The children doesn’t like the school because
·        The school environment is not child friendly
·        The teachers and parents are not empathetic
·        They are not down to the child’s level in teaching the subjects

Majority of children’s home and school ignore and neglect these types of children. Ultimately these children will be a victim and exploited.

Minimum level of learning:
All schools should ensure that their students posses minimum level of learning.
If the child completes his 5th std, He should be able to;
1.     Read simple sentences, small paragraphs, and be able to answer simple questions.
2.     If we dictate orally, he should be in a position to write meaningfully.
3.     If asked to write the simple things or topics, he should be able to write in his own words.
4.     He  should be in a position to read and explain the contents of the newspaper
5.     He should know basic survival maths i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, geometric shapes- square, rectangle, triangle, circle, measurements – metre, kilometre, kilogram, litre, ½, ¼, ¾, dozen,
zero concept, cost price, selling price, profit, loss, amount, salary, fare, cheque, interest, money transaction, pledge, time concept – telling time, months, days, year, seasons, holidays, working days
6.     He should know about road safety rules
7.     He should acquire basic socialization skills and both physical and mental hygiene. Etc.

A lamp cannot light another lamp unless it continues burning – R. Tagore

It is the time that parents, teachers and society should give due importance to the above things. All the children are ready to learn if there are proper teaching methods, Teacher Made or Appropriate Teaching Learning Materials (TLM), Teaching Strategies, Friendly Approach, Time Bound Programme, Periodical Monitoring and Evaluation.

Right path, Right Direction, Right Method, Right Monitoring, Right Evaluation are the keys to success.

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