KBC Learnings: Lock kiya jaye

By Prabhakar Timble
15 October 2011 05:47 IST

On the hot seat was a young participant, a teacher by profession from the North-Eastern State. Speaking on innovations in teaching, he said that every child has a methodology of learning and if a teacher can unravel this and synchronise the teaching methodology to calibrate with how a child learns, it’s an innovation. According to him, slow learners can unknot new and innovative methodologies to teachers provided a teacher is committed to ensure that every child should learn. To my mind, this is the purpose of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) which is wrongly construed as either a no examination or a no fail policy.

All can win, none loses

The game show tabled in the quiz format rings the much desired bells of social inclusion. This just does not happen automatically, it is a deliberate path chosen by the producers of the KBC spectacle. Hence, we find worshippers of goddess Saraswati and Laximi, dedicated housewives, underprivileged who have never moved beyond their hamlet in the secluded hills, victims of communal riots and terror strikes, challenged and the marginalised including the illiterates denied access to primary education on the floor sharing their stories of triumph and failure, hope and despair, and the inner will to soar higher to the host and viewers. As a contrast to this, our quality schools deify the principle of exclusion and follow a deliberate policy to choose children from what they consider as the best families. The vocal in the civil society also justify this segregation on grounds of merits and maintenance of standards. If educational institutions create the citizens of the future, the benches and corridors in these institutes should reflect the Indian society.

The show illustrates the spirit of competition coupled with cooperation. It’s a great example of how all should and can win. None is a loser. There is a hidden message for the gurus, be they teachers, parents, HR professionals or social enterprise entrepreneurs. The evaluation yardstick is tailor made to the level of the participant.  The rigour is adjusted to the social background and absorption capacity of the participant. This is a very progressive and healthy approach to wean us away from our obsession not only to win but to also ensure that others lose. Many times our success stories become sweeter if accompanied by failure of others.

The inimitable host of the game show gives us the feeling that each and every guest on hot seat is a part of his extended family. The participant is not a mere name. The host knows the family, social and economic background, cultural traits and challenges. As opposed to this, for a teacher today, knowing the student means the name, roll number superimposed with personal prejudices in the context of family background. In our schools, we claim to equip our students with knowledge, skills and attitudes. How can this be achieved of whom the teachers almost know nothing?

A right for lifeline

From a human relations angle, I find the show radiating only positivism. No negative observations or comments from any side, always supported by motivational strokes, total removal of the fear of failure and generating an atmosphere of joy and being wanted. These traits are worth emulating by educationists and trainers. I wish to underline this with more emphasis since our school walls and homes inject the fear of competition, the fear of future and the fear of failure as the starting point of the need to learn. The beauty of learning is killed at the roots by teachers and parents.

The concept of clues and lifeline built in the game show gives comfort and teaches us that nothing is lost if we lack in a few things. We can still march forward with the assistance of others and drawing from their expertise and experiences. The quiz-game show itself commences with the four clues to every question. If the teachers introduce this concept of learning and evaluation particularly at the primary stage of education, I am confident that our kids will burst with laughter and smiles at this child-friendly approach. A demand for a direct answer keeps many clueless. This will make them more inquisitive, creative and instil the spirit of thinking. How about building something on the lines of the four life-lines, especially for slow learners? A classroom poll. Ask the teacher. A double chance. Ask a friend. The objective is finally to learn, understand and retain. If these and maybe more tools facilitate the desired goal, then there should be no problem to incorporate such tools in the teaching- learning process. Whom we regard as a failure is back in the race with such assistance. Through such and many more innovative methods of comprehensive and continuous learning, we can ensure that the child can never fail. The chocolate sauce on the ice-cream is the host i.e. the teacher in the classroom. It is for the teacher to put each and every student in a comfort zone through interactions spiced with love and concern. That’s the crux.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Maybe, the producers and Sony TV have modelled the game show not for the reasons stated above. Their interests could be purely commercial. TRP ratings, sponsorships and pulling advertisers for revenue are definitely their prime considerations. Here also, there is learning for entrepreneurs. Rather than competing with competitors, imitating the competitive realty shows and inflating costs through high spending, the producers have embraced a blue ocean strategy as opposed to the red ocean strategy.  Innovation should add value to the viewers. This is the same principle on which Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, Pixar and Next worked. Each product which Steve provided was packed with value which competitors could not match. He was not in competition with competitors but with the self to make life richer for all.

I dream of the day when our schools will foster social inclusion through a deliberate programme and policy. The day, the kids in primary schools mirrors the heterogeneous society. The day, quality will be redefined not to mean exclusiveness. The day when methodology of learning and evaluation would be friendly to every child and no child will lose or fail. We should not wait for the government or Education Department to usher the changes. If you are convinced and committed to the reform, lock kiya jaye!

 

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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