Principal’s Desk: Students require diverse skills in the post-lockdown period
Middle school is such a transition time, and heading forward can bring on a lot of anxiety and nervousness – feelings that are not always related to academics. During this lockdown period, there could have been few issues that they might be going through but might not be able to share. Sharing for this age group is best among their peer members. They want to trust before opening up which could have been difficult.
So those who are reading my article, I would like to let you know that regardless of our backgrounds, students today face challenges which are complex in nature. Why I call it complex because I see them overloaded with the same information from various sources but their closest, which are their parents.
When children step foot into a classroom, there is so much that they are bringing with them and returning home with after the last bell rings or after the last virtual class ends. The students observe the lack of money at home, struggling parents, adults struggling with addiction, abuse in family, untimely sleeping and eating, getting angry, sad and emotional specially when no one seems to take their feeling seriously and letting them know, you are a child and will not understand now and facing many more such realities without a break.
Today’s scenario they aren’t getting that space to move out, talk to peers, teachers, some time to be with themselves where no one is looking at them, playing games outside the house and many more restrictions.
Young adolescents are experiencing the most rapid period of growth and development since infancy. At no time is it more important for them to learn the skills of impulse control, emotional management, empathy, interpersonal communication, and responsible problem- solving and decision-making.
Most of the student ask me a question -- why are these skills important? I have few reasons to explain them below, may be it helps them.
Self-awareness: Able to recognise their emotions, describe their interests and values, and accurately assess their strengths. They have a well-grounded sense of self- confidence and hope for the future.
Self-management: Able to regulate their emotions, manage stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles. They can set and monitor progress toward the achievement of personal and academic goals, and express their emotions appropriately in a wide range of situations.
Social awareness: Able to take others’ perspective, empathise with them, and recognise and appreciate individual and group similarities and differences. They are able to seek out and appropriately use family, school, and community resources.
Relationship skills: Can establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation. They resist inappropriate social pressure, constructively prevent, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflict, and seek and provide help when needed.
Responsible decision-making: To demonstrate responsible decision-making at school, at home, and in the community. In making decisions, they consider ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and the likely consequences of various courses of action.
They apply these decision-making skills in academic and social situations, and are motivated to contribute to the well-being of their schools and communities.
(Author Priti Ojha is a Principal at Delhi International School, Dwarka. Views expressed here are personal.)