Our biggest hurdle in creating good schools is not lack of desire but lack of imagination. It’s time to think beyond the borders of our experiences and create schooling that meets children’s immediate needs and concerns.
A good school recognises that children's cognitive development is dependent on an enabling social and ethical environment at school.
Efficient learning can only occur when the child is taught a wide range of cognitive skills needed to navigate the various stages of the learning process, including grasping information, analysing its implication, exploring its value and applying it.
Development of these skills requires the child to feel accepted, protected and respected.
Importantly, characteristics of a good school are intertwined with a comprehensive life skills education.
Therefore, a good school should: create experiences, environments and relationships that enable joyful participatory learning for children; help children develop self-definition, self-confidence, self-assurance and the belief that they can make a useful contribution to their community and country; be a place led by visionary teachers who appreciate that education goes beyond the classroom; be run according to a shared mission and publicly declared values and standards; have practical policies and operational mechanisms that are faithful to the school’s mission.
(The writer is programme director & psychiatrist, Expressions India —The Life Skills Education & School Wellness Programme)