Children are like flowers in the garden, and every one of them must be encouraged to grow fully if they are to bloom in future.
That’s the opinion of Radhakrishna Kurup, a senior teacher at the Indian School Darsait, who has been educating the next generation of engineers, scientists, doctors and artists for more than 20 years. Kurup recently released a book, documenting his experiences in teaching, where he explains that each child must be allowed to pursue his passions.
In his book, titled Bonsai Kuttikal (Bonsai Children in English), Kurup explains that parents and teachers should give children the scope for them to study what they want to, without putting undue pressure on them.
“Sometimes, parents want children to become engineers or doctors, just because they believe it is the right thing for them, but that may not be what that child is meant to do, or what he is interested in,” explained Kurup. “If that child wants to become a singer or an artist, let him do that because that is what will make him happy in the future and he will do this wholeheartedly and with passion.
“If you curb his creative talents and imagination at such a young age, they will not enjoy what they are studying and they will dislike studies,” he added.
“This will reduce their confidence and they will not want to study in future, and this is not the right way to go forward.”
Kurup also advised parents to not put so much pressure on their children when it came to finishing among the top one percent in their class, because there is more to life than just good marks.
“These days, if you observe children in school, there is too much emphasis on getting good marks and not on how well they are actually learning,” he explained. “There is more focus on how much children are studying, not how well they are doing it. This is not good for them in the long-term because they will lose their passion for work.
“After school, the children go straight to tuitions and then they come home and they study some more,” added Kurup.
“There is no time for them to play outside and interact with each other, and this is very important for their all-round development. Studying is very important and it is essential for them to grow, but it must not come at the expense of other things.”
Although children’s career opportunities have improved over the years, with careers now being pursued across several genres that deviate from more traditional roles, Kurup felt that schools haven’t kept pace with changing trends.
“Today, the school syllabus that is being followed has not been changed for more than 20 years,” he said. “If this is the case, children will lose interest in studying. Today, they can access everything on the internet and on YouTube, but none of these new technologies are being used in the classroom. Children love learning in a new way, but sometimes, there are those who are unwilling to change because they are scared of what will come in the future.
“If you don’t change, though, you will be left behind and the children will learn on their own, because if you want to learn, and if you have a passion for it, then no one can stop you,” said Kurup.