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Getting students to ask questions

Rahul Pradeep, 14, doesn’t ask questions in class. The above average Class 9 student of Billabong School in Juhu thinks that students would bully him if he tries to get his doubts clarified in class.

mumbai Updated: Feb 27, 2012 01:24 IST
Deepti Khera

Rahul Pradeep, 14, doesn’t ask questions in class. The above average Class 9 student of Billabong School in Juhu thinks that students would bully him if he tries to get his doubts clarified in class.


Pradeep ends up relying on his tuition teacher to clear his questions.

A teacher in the school has started an initiative, ‘Ask a Question’ to address the plight of students such as Pradeep.

“The education system in the country is redundant. Teachers seem to be interested in teaching children what they know and not what the child wants to know,” said Anupama Diddi, an English teacher, who started the initiative last week.

“Students also are passive learners and do not want to go beyond textbook learning,” Diddi added.

For Diddi, the recent bottom rank achieved by Indian students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global study of learning standards conducted in 74 countries on 15- year-olds, was the trigger for launching the initiative.

A few other city schools have also started similar initiatives to encourage students to open up and ask questions. “Once a week, we hold a ‘quality circle’ where every student has to express their thoughts on what they learned in the class in the week. The spotlight is on the student and he would have no other option but to say something,” said Fatema Agarkar, director of JBCN School in Kandivli. “For the shy students we have a reflection diary where they can write their feedback on what they learnt in class,” Agarkar added.

At Holy Family School in Andheri, once every month, students have a happy hour session, where they participate in singing and dancing activities with their teachers.