“I can’t make it tonight yaar… Aarav has got his school project…”
“Listen, can you tell me where can I get purple colored socks? Need them for Suhani’s school project..”
“Bhaiyya, Grade 4 ka water pollution ka project hai aapke paas? Kitne mein padega?”
Have you ever said this or heard someone say it?
So talking about school projects, I personally believe that projects are a great way to learn. And I have done a lot of research on project-based learning myself much of which is practiced at GGIS. However, projects, as they are seen in India, are something entirely different. Our school projects involve not just the student but the whole family. The mother upon receiving the dreaded circular immediately gets into mission mode. Looks up pics on Pinterest and Google and decides on the most ambitious looking project and in a flash sets off for the stationery shop. The evening and weekends are then spent glueing and pasting and the father is busy researching important facts! And if parents are short on time, there are actual shops from where a readymade project can be bought.
But in all this mayhem the student for whom the project is is nowhere involved.
The child is as it is busy doing the numerous other more important things like attend tuitions and prepare for exams!
Now, do you see the futility of the whole affair? I wonder why schools give projects that are beyond a student’s age competency level. The school knows that the parents will help, or rather do it for them.
The parents too remove the entire onus of the project from the child’s mind and take it as their own project. It’s as if the mom is competing with other moms about who is better at craft! At times parents believe that having the child help in cut and paste is involving the child!
Far from it, talking to the child about the project, why we are doing it, what are we learning, how will this help you in your life, etc makes for sensible education.
And lastly, we as schools need to accept student work. If we are looking for foolproof, impeccably, well-finished work then the ownership will be that of the parent. A child’s work will reflect imperfections and shortcomings befitting his age.
Remember school years are to make mistakes and learn to be a responsible adult. Not to claim the credit for picture perfect projects done by others!
So have you been a part of the project pandemonium? As a parent? As a student or as a teacher? Do share your views.