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Shhhhh! It’s assessment time….


       

Exam Stress in Kids

      “You’ve lost weight!” said an Auntie from my block, her hands carrying bag-loads of vegetables. I was actually just setting off for walking around my apartment complex in the hope of losing weight! “Oh! Really?!” I almost gasp in disbelief. “So did you finish the vegetable shopping?” she asked. “Is it Thursday today?” I ask. Tuesdays and Thursdays fresh vegetables are carted to our neighbourhood store. “It’s a Tuesday!” Now it’s Auntie’s turn to gasp. “How can a lady, apparently in her senses, take a Tuesday for a Thursday?” I know that’s what she is thinking of me now. “It’s assessment-and-exam time Auntie. My son doesn’t take any tension, so I take it. And hence the goof up.” I smile, abashed, and leave the place hastily. Auntie smiles indulgingly and knowingly and proceeds on her way.

  • The parks sport a deserted look. The slides are gathering dust and the cycles are not zipping around …….
  • Cries of “That’s a sixer, dude!” and “Goal!” don’t wake up the infants and grandpas now like they do at other times of the year.
  • Lunch menu is repeated for dinner and leftovers of dinner appear in next day’s lunch box……
  • Had one really understood all these concepts in the child’s numerous books during one’s childhood? Or had they been crammed? Why does everything seem so new, so different now? Ah! So is this what they mean by ageing? Oh! There have been sweeping changes in the curriculum over the years that one was unaware of all the while!
  • and many, many more sights and thoughts and other little things that belong to this time of the year particularly……

 Shhhhh! It’s assessment time for some! It’s exam time for the others! It’s India! Here everything can wait but NOT preparations for the assessments and exams. Tomorrow’s engineers and doctors and lawyers and managers and educators are getting ready for life, to shine in India and the international scene too. Is this why Obama has been exhorting the Americans to focus more on education? The secrets of the long-known success of deserving Asians are out today, thanks to Amy Chua and Dr. Sue Kim Abboud. I just hope amidst all this our children

  • don’t throw away the books out of the windows as soon as the exams are over
  • don’t lose the inherent love for learning
  • don’t feel frustrated enough and highly overworked by the time they turn parents to decide to let their children have it too easy and forget to inspire them with high-power words like “diligence”, “effort”, “perspiration”
  • and many, many more…….

 Of course, stay-at-home moms like me with children who have decided to be the happy-go-lucky type, with no dread for exams and grades, benefit a lot from these assessments and exams. Just as we put on weight, munching on snacks and buttered toasts for the rest of the year, we lose the extra kilos now magically, thanks to the hard work of motivating the child to study with “just for a month, baby” while preparing cups of Bournvita and the tension the exam-season brings in. A few niggling thoughts keep pricking me though…..

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5 thoughts on “Shhhhh! It’s assessment time….

  1. Sandipa

    Children would learn more if they learn to observe nature more instead of stuffing their brains with facts from books….. good article

    Reply
  2. Shompita

    That was interesting read Aparajita!
    The scene at home right now (in fact) is:
    “Ma – I’m going to sleep early, tomorrow is .”
    No homework for the same reason too!
    Couple years back they used to send us notice from school before these kinds of tests saying – the child needs to go to bed early the night before exams – esp. assessment kind where you can’t really prepare – you know what you know and a good night’s sleep will keep you alert for the test.
    The other requirement is they should eat a good breakfast.

    This is vastly different from my experience in the middle school – where I’d slog late into night and sometimes feel sick to my gut knowing I have not had the chance to glance through the volumes of text and then appear for the tests pretty nervous.

    Did that do us good? Or will this? Only time will tell.

    Reply
  3. Sulakshana

    very true Aparajitadi,and let me know you that even today at this age i am still haunted by those dark clouds of tension looming large in our house at the time of exam.Here in US the scenario is quite different,perhaps they have yet to see the exam-monster.Here the education system does not rely on memorising and copying in answer paper,rather they are taught to be enjoying their study by different practical observations.I really don’t know whether my daughter could adjust again in those classroom of Dickens’s` Hard Times’,but for the time being she is enjoying her studies here.

    Reply
  4. Sulakshana

    very true Aparajitadi,and let me know you that even today at this age i am still haunted by those dark clouds of tension looming large in our house at the time of exam.Here in US the scenario is quite different,perhaps they have yet to see the exam-monster.Here the education system does not rely on memorising and copying in answer paper,rather they are taught to be enjoying their study by different practical observations.I really don’t know whether my daughter could adjust again in those classroom of Dickens’s` Hard Times’,but for the time being she is enjoying her studies here.

    Reply
  5. Aparajita Bose

    Somehow I feel we need to draw the best points from each of the two systems. Memorising does help in some cases, because if you didn’t remember certain facts, you wouldn’t be able to explain how certain things happen in science. Again, if the emphasis is too much on memorising, one doesn’t get the time to think deep enough to come up with questions and even find answers to them. In English again, memorising poems goes a long way in developing love for poetry. How about breaking into a song-like poem like Wordsworth’s never-to-be-forgotten Daffodils, that you had learnt when in school, when on a holiday trip with your family decades later?
    I was in fact cursing Social Studies when I suddenly realized my child wouldn’t care to know about his motherland’s rich heritage had it not been for chapters on them in his school curriculum. Not to put too much pressure there, maybe we could have quiz sessions tempting the children with prizes instead of an exam to test their skills in memorizing too many facts which might actually put them off and defeat the very purpose.
    But let’s also remember when we want the students to enjoy learning, and get inquisitive to be driven to answers to puzzling situations in science particularly, the books too have to have a completely different format from what it is today. Are we all game for that? Moreover, without the pressure of exams, the children do get a bit casual about studies – at least that’s what I see often.

    Reply

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