What makes a good student
Daniel Curry, Director & Principal, Vega Schools
All parents want their children to be good students. However, there can be disagreements about what that means. Our conception of what makes a good student is largely influenced by our own experiences in school and what was expected of us as students. The Best schools in Gurgaon probably have different interpretations to this question.
The ‘traditional’ definition of a good student
In a traditional school, students are expected to memorize lots of information, do things exactly as the teacher shows them, and quietly listen and take notes. In this case, one might say a good student is someone compliant, who is seen and not heard, and who has a good memory. That student successfully navigates the expectations of that school environment. Many Indians have gone through traditional schools and may have that mental image of a ‘good student. In fact, many Indian parents are realizing that the environment is not what they want for their children.
The ‘progressive’ definition of a good student
A review of the top schools in Gurgaon will show a different approach to education, and hence different expectations for the learner. Schools moving toward (or already compliant) with the National Education Policy (NEP) goals focus on future-ready skills. In these progressive settings, the learner is an active participant, collaborating with peers and solving real-world problems. In this context, a good student is one who is self-confident, introspective, and has empathy, self-discipline, and communication skills. These learners are critical thinkers and take ownership of their education and their life choices.
Anyone can become a progressive good student
So how does one become a student like this? At our top CBSE school in Gurgaon, we get students transferring from traditional schools. They must make the transition to a new system and new expectations, where their voice and creativity are important. Obviously, the younger a student joins a progressive school, the more time they have to develop those social-emotional skills as they engage in academics.
Parents have a big role
Any student can become a good student with support from parents and teachers alike. Parents must resist the urge to put intense pressure on children with a focus only on marks. Rather, we encourage parents to engage in deeper-level interactions. For example, develop a child’s introspection by asking them questions about what they like, what they think their strengths are, and what they would like to become. Dig deep (conversationally) and get them to really think about their choices and opinions. Ask open-ended questions and let them show (and practice) their creativity and critical thinking in their answers.
Failure is a step up to success
Good students will fail and must learn that failure is part of life. Parents, let your children experience failure and they will learn failure is nothing to be scared of, just a bump in the road of learning. They will learn coping skills and apply reasoning to understand why they failed. They must feel safe and secure to make mistakes and overcome them. Then future mistakes will not inhibit them. Good students have empathy for others and can appreciate other points of view and other life experiences. Schools in Gurgaon must develop a deeper understanding of failure.
Excellence (the best one can do) is more important than external success parameters
Good students try their best; our focus as teachers and parents is to encourage them to try their best - not to set an arbitrary score or level that they must attain. When they feel like they could have done better, we merely ask ‘did you try your best? Often, they will realize that there were other things they could have done, and then commit to doing those things in the future. In some cases, they truly did their best, so they can accept the outcome knowing that.
Self-awareness and values lead to long-term success
You’ll notice that in these descriptions of a ‘good student’ there are no comments about having the top academic result, or beating others in competitions (academic or otherwise). What we want in a good student is what we all want in a co-worker. Someone who is a team player, who is empathetic, can think critically and has good self-awareness and knowledge. With this in place, success will surely follow.
Top-ranked schools in Gurgaon are revising their definition of what makes a good student. So are progressive parents. The students will be the ultimate gainers.
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