By Daniel Curry
We firmly believe that all children have natural intelligence, creativity and particular strengths. It is the responsibility of schools to discover and foster those strengths.
Each child must be recognized and treated as an individual
Traditional schools have a one-size-fits-all approach which ignores the individuality of students. Progressive schools are child-focused and have a number of ways to challenge students.
Each child must be engaged in areas of interests
The overall structure of problem-based learning is designed around providing each student with an opportunity to tackle a problem with as much depth as they are able. Let’s take the example of a project around the causes and effects of poor air quality in Delhi NCR. Students will be exposed to mathematics, science, geography, culture, history, and more. In researching the issue in order to propose solutions, each child will be on a journey that challenges them at their level. One student may go very in depth into the science of particulate matter and advanced air filtration. Another student may choose to focus on socio-political dynamics as they relate to crop burning, farming, and the regulatory environment. In these opportunities for voice and choice, they engage deeply into areas of interest and apply their strengths and creativity as they learn.
Start when children are young
Students in pre nursery school, kindergarten or pre nursery school will have the same kind of opportunities, but at a much simpler level. One unit may have students exploring their families and the world around them. Creativity comes out in how each student researches their immediate world and through the conclusions they make, with depth of understanding showing up in the complexity of how they create connections between relationships. According to NRP 2020, over 85% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of six years. Creative learning and depth of understanding must begin when children are young.
Differentiated learning based on a child’s skills and level of understanding
Another fundamental instructional strategy is that of differentiation. This means simply that in the classroom, the teacher is meeting each student at their level and looking for growth. Rather than lecturing to the middle, a well-trained teacher will know the skills and level of understanding of each student and develop instruction as needed. This may mean after a short period of discussion, students work in groups to solve problems. The teacher will monitor group progress and give individual feedback and instruction where appropriate. Additional help and on the spot support provides scaffolding for students who need it.
Developing mastery in children
Students who have mastery of a subject are more likely to deepen their knowledge by helping their peers through the work. These students can also be provided with more challenging work on the same topic. In the case of projects, teachers are looking for outcomes on open-ended questions that have no single correct answer. Students can dive as deep as they are able in addressing the projects and inquiry.
The best schools in Gurgaon provide individual attention and differentiated instruction. This requires highly trained teachers who fully buy into progressive methodologies. Schools should have regular time for teachers to collaborate together where they can discuss specific students and how to best serve them at their level. Teachers should have regular training by highly qualified professionals in the field, and should expect growth in themselves as they expect growth in their students. Parents should expect the top 10 schools of Gurgaon, and in the least, the top 5 schools of Gurgaon to deliver on these advanced teaching practices and to adequately challenge children with different and multiple intelligences.
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