How NOT To Select A Good School? 06 Jun 2016

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I was recently a part of a panel at a discussion on ?how to select a good school for your child?. The dialogue began around distance, classrooms, building quality, sports infrastructure, teacher qualification, list of toppers and so on. This wasn?t surprising since these are also reflected in the advertisements, advertorials, and literature of most schools. Our discussion made me reflect on my 3-year long journey of discovering the greatest schools in the world. Based on what I?ve seen and experienced I started exploring each of these myths.

  1. Distance is indeed a factor in selecting a school. However, should it be a major factor? Should we select an average school next to our home over an extraordinary school a few miles away?
  2. Are gleaming classrooms and buildings enough? During the past decade, there has been extraordinary research done on how classrooms create a barrier to learning (Blueprint for tomorrow, Harvard University Press). Classrooms were necessary when schools were meant to educate the factory worker. Factory workers were required to receive standardized instructions to carry out standardized tasks inside factories. Such instructions required all students to learn the same thing the same way and at the same pace. This is simply not the case today. We live in the knowledge era where each child's learning requires personalization and needs to work individually and in groups. Children have different learning styles and even learning speeds. These are things that are impossible to achieve in a classroom setting.
  3. Does only having infrastructure lead to the making of great sportspersons? The fact is that many great sportspersons emerge from difficult conditions where infrastructure was poor. This is not to say infrastructure is not important. The overarching question is what were the conditions that created these great sportspersons? Are schools able to create these conditions? Do they develop a child?s lifelong love for sports? Do they consistently build mental toughness through sports? How are schools imbibing lifelong habits of sports, fitness, biomechanics, and nutrition? Statistically, very few adults continue to play the sports they played at schools, so what goes wrong?

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