Ability to handle stress, ability to fail & an ability to accept rejection!
India is the suicide capital of the world and this is a know fact, what is also common knowledge to most educators is the fact that students form the majority of the suicide cases in India. Students land up taking this extreme step especially around the exam and result time. Inspite of the acute challenge that we as a country face there is very little that is being done to bring down the stress levels of children and ease the pressure that builds within them.
Parents have to take up a large part of this blame but the onus lies on the school and the educators as they are the ones who have the position to educate. The change tough is not going to come easy, it requires a concentrated effort on the part of the school to educate the child, the parent and their staff. A systemic effort is required to make a real impact.
How do teachers in your school treat a mistake? How do the parents handle failure? What is the kind of support that is given to slow performers? How is a disinterested student handled? These and many such questions are the key questions that will determine how the students learn to handle their stress. There is a thin line between egging a student to perform and pushing him towards demotivation. Enabling teachers to learn this fine nuances by bringing in experts is a great idea for schools, a good step in that direction is to encourage all teachers to take a course on counseling.
There are many other aspects of education that help in reducing stress levels among children. Physical activities are among the best ways to enable children to use up the unwanted hormones generated while they are stressed out. Schools should create ample time for children to play and use their bodies.
Music, dance, theatre, art, debate, quizzing and all those activites that schools have always done but considered not core to their schooling process should be moved right into the core of the schools focus. The more the children participate in activities that they enjoy doing the more they will start expressing themselves and learning valuable lessons of life.
The NCERT does talk about reducing the curriculum load in the coming years, but the bigger challenge is to make that impact real and on the ground. It is now upto the schools and parents to declutter their minds from the mad focus of academic performance to the overall development of children and preparing them for life. A wonderful byproduct of doing this is that students will enjoy the process of learning and that will lead to happy and stress free children.