Speaking Sensitively: Teacher Pushpa reflects on Face to Faith
The first session of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Face to Faith intro module opened up the understanding of the word 'Faith' for children. The result of this first lesson enthused me to forge ahead with more conviction as I prepared the slides for the next lesson on 'Learning to speak sensitively'.
I realized that in today's world of information explosion, there is no dearth of textual knowledge. When children as young as 3-4 years have mastered the nuances of the information technology, why are we still focusing all our attention on pouring more and more data and text on to them in school?
Shouldn't we, as educators, shift our focus to these life skills, which can play such an important role in the character building of every child? As I pondered how to give them a lifelong learning of these subtle skills, I realized the importance of roping in their parents in this unique learning journey.
How can we reinforce in these tender hearts the skills of conflict-resolution or learning to speak sensitively or learning to respect without the support of the parents? I decided to keep the parents posted on all that's happening on the Face to Faith front. So, every Friday, after the session with the children, I would document the students' work and in the evening share the Power Point and samples of student work with the parents by email along with a short reflection of my experience in the classroom. It didn't take very long for the parents to see the impact of the learning and appreciative emails kept pouring in from the parent community.
I learnt a big lesson in this process -- Usually, when children are given home assignments, the submissions are a pain for the students and the teachers. I am sure this is a universal happening. Having realized that students are hard pressed for time, I insisted that though each of the lessons on Face to Faith had a home assignment, there was absolutely no compulsion to submit their work. Only those children who were interested and wanted to do the work whole heartedly need work on it. I assured them that no questions would be asked and no eyebrows raised.
You wouldn't believe it... The submissions poured in! Every morning from Monday to Thursday, children rushed to see me and hand over their paper hats which contained their reminders about tone and body language. Give them the freedom of choosing, they will come up with the right decision!
I was flooded with colourful paper hats and their interest in this project kindled a new HOPE in me. Our Principal was equally overwhelmed and insisted that the students' work be displayed for all to see.
Hari Shree Vidyalayam, Chennai