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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Gamifying mental health one quiz at a time

A quiz isn’t just a test of knowledge – it teaches students so many more life skills that hold them in good stead in the years to come.

education Updated: Sep 11, 2019 15:09 IST
Samir Parikh
Samir Parikh
Hindustan Times
This format gives the opportunity to work in a team.
This format gives the opportunity to work in a team.
         

For most students, academics ring of boredom and exams bring about a sense of anxiety and dread.

Learning, or rather studying, is something children feel they have to do, rather than something they want to. In an academic milieu such as this, it’s time for us as experts to re-evaluate how we approach academics, and how to create an environment where learning flourishes. Quizzing is perhaps one of the most interesting, yet largely underutilized format; creating a space that combines academic learning with a sporting environment, quizzing is not just as a testing tool but also a fantastic motivator for learning.

A quiz isn’t just a test of knowledge – it teaches students so many more life skills that hold them in good stead in the years to come. Rather than a conventional examination format, quizzing encourages students to think unconventionally and out of the box. At the same time, students are exposed to healthy competition and learn to perform under pressure. Rather than a syllabus where students only focus on one textbook, quizzing is about the love of knowledge with no holds barred. It encourages students to go beyond simple textbooks and to stay up to date with the latest advancements in the field. One of the biggest advantages of a format such as this is the opportunity for teamwork, where students learn to collaborate and communicate with each other better.

In light of this, the mental health team at Fortis Healthcare conducts one such initiative, Psych-ED – a National Level Psychology Quiz for School Students every year. Through this quiz, it is our endeavor to build children’s curiosity about psychology and read more about this fascinating field. We live in a world where one out of every four to five people suffer from a mental health condition and yet India alone has close to an 800% shortage of mental health professionals. There are so many myths and misconceptions about what psychology as a subject, and as a career, is all about. It’s time we need to raise awareness and stamp out the stigma around mental illness and health, and what better place to start than at the beginning.

Through exciting crosswords, buzzer rounds, audiovisual rounds, raid fires, and many more games, the idea is to encourage children to delve into the world of psychology and mental health, so that in the days to come, we might be able to reduce not only the stigma but also the deficit of experts.

When it comes to learning, marks don’t matter beyond a point. Neither do trophies, medals or prizes. For students to truly learn for life, what matters most is the joy of learning. Extrinsic motivation is short-lived; the intrinsic motivation of fun, challenge, competition, and teamwork are what goes a long way.

The author is director-department of mental health and behavorial sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

First Published: Sep 11, 2019 15:09 IST