As the months roll towards Christmas and New Years, you would find yourself standing at the entrance to a school famed for their educative techniques and infrastructure, seeking an admission for your child. Large lines of anxious parents waiting to get application forms to secure seats for their children is what you would be experiencing as well, but before you do any of that, are you sure about the decision you're making?
For many parents, getting admission in the school with the best facilities and transportation systems occupy the first and second rows on their list of priorities. In many cases, the list only consists of the fore mentioned points. What parents refuse to do is ask: how do you know that the school you wish to admit your child in will help them grow with the fast-paced world? A student passing out from a good school sure is a ticket to success, but what if the knowledge gained in those crucial stages of development and growth can't accommodate for the fast-growing changes around your child?
A choice of school for parents is driven by word of mouth, perception and infrastructure. These are shallow decisions on which parents form the future of their children; there's more to learning than just these thoughts. So, we've compiled a list of 5 questions you must ask a school and its administration before you admit your child:
The school that you choose will most probably be the school your child will study in for the next fourteen years. A lot happens in a decade in terms of technology and progress. Instead of only talking about preparations for the various All India examinations such as IIT-JEE and medicine, or how the school would provide your ward with the holistic development they seek, ask them whether they're geared for change. Your child would be ready to go to college in the next fourteen years, so how would the school enable your child to thrive in an ever-changing environment?
A few questions you could ask are:
Will your child be taught to tolerate change? Most importantly, will they be able to learn, unlearn and relearn?
Do classroom activities involve group discussions and interactions, and problem solving? How important is critical thinking to the school and staff?
And most importantly, are children learning how to learn?
When it comes to education, the only individuals fit to pass on information they're taken the time to master are teachers. Therefore, it is important that you meet the teachers that would educate your child somewhere in the near future. It pays to ask for the minimum number of years of experience a teacher holds, as the child will have to spend over one-third of his/her life with them for the next decade and a half. Inquire about the administration's needing teachers to undergo periodic professional development to keep themselves abreast of the latest methods of teaching and learning. And while you're at that, keep these questions in mind:
What are the qualifications of the teachers in the school?
How much experience do they have?
Do they get professional development training every year?
When it comes to a typical school week, how much does a child learn in the classroom and outside of its setting? Real education lies outside the classroom, where a student is subjected to using and applying concepts learned theoretically to real life applications. Creating real world connections is also what enables students to take their learning to the field, as classrooms become the most artificial places in the real world. Due to this reason, many schools have started to design programs to ensure children see the purpose of their learning, by exposing them to the real world.
What is the breakup of learning within the classroom and outside?
How many field trips/community activities/excursions and visits are scheduled in the school year?
Learning spaces have evolved to incorporate more than just education. The method in which a teacher teachers, and the students in a classroom with whom your child would be interacting with are now accommodating communication, interaction, and an entire environment in which your child will grow. Ensuring that your child is safe - and when I mean safe, I mean happy, curious, determined and positive - and making sure that he/she stays that way, is of paramount importance. Making sure that the teachers in your classroom engage in a healthy interaction, and actively call out and punish bullies that might give your ward emotional unrest, should also be considered. At the end of the day, a happy student is the most productive and the most useful, and making sure that these years will keep them that way is what you, as a parent, need to inquire.
What is the school's policy on punishment?
How does a teacher discipline their students? How are troublemakers dealt with?
What is the school's system of surveillance, background checks and chaperons to ensure the safety of a child?
Most schools are equipped with a computer lab, at the very least. And classrooms fitted with digital and ICT aids are now becoming the norm. These classrooms, teachers use a variety of digital aids - images, videos and presentations to augment their teaching. The thing is, how do children use the technology that they are provided? Children are usually taught to learn the usage of such tech tools by answering questions about them in a Computers paper, when they should be taught how to develop certain entities, if they wish to major in the Computer Science field.
Development and its line of thought take time to understand and implement. One needs the skill and the expertise to develop something as sophisticated as an upcoming software. To teach students how to think critically to be able to build something that's completely their own, should be taught to children at a young age. As this is the age of progress in technology, ensuring that your child is prepared for the future in technology is as important as the fore-mentioned points. A few questions that could help you learn about this are:
How are children being taught computers - to use features of applications, or to create their own?
Do have a look at the computers textbook while you question the teaching staff responsible for computers.