What is important, teaching or testing?

What is important, teaching or testing?

When the ancient Guru Dronacharya took the test of Kauravas and Pandavas, it was a test of their CONCENTRATION. And only Arjun had passed it! When Udgupt, a great Buddhist Monk of 3rd century B.C., took the test of The Great King Ashoka, it was a test of his CONSISTENCY. And to pass this test, King Ashoka had to give up everything that he had! Similarly, when Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa took the test of Narendra to become Swami Vivekananda, he had to abandon his home. The pages of history are filled with hundreds of such instances of tests conducted by the Gurus for their disciples or students.

Our ‘Examination System’ of today is more than half-century old. In this system, we are just testing memory power of a student and we feel very happy to confer a certificate of percentage on the basis of this memory test. And therefore, the test has become more important than teaching itself.

Can’t it be possible to have a testing system that is freeing a child from any written test? Isn’t it possible to have an examination that does not create fear in a child? Is it not possible to have an assessment system that scales the qualities of a child rather than his memory power?

To logically understand the difference between TEACHING and TESTING, we must compare them:

TEACHING

TESTING

It focuses on shaping up the child. It is a method to satisfy the educationists.
It constantly keeps the child normal, active, and happy. It initiates a sense of fear, tension and pain in the child.
It transforms the classroom into the haven. It turns the classroom into the hell.
It is a medium that constantly drives the child further towards growth. It is an obstacle set on the path of development of the student.
It is a system that teaches the art of living to a human being. And teaches how to find an answer to a problem. It breaks the confidence of a child and converts him into a Contest Machine.

This doesn’t mean that there should not be an examination or test; and also does not mean that the examination is a problem. But, surely it is a concern that demands for an immediate pondering if the children are ending their lives by hanging themselves just because of the fear of this examination system or its results. The assessment system requires changes. It should be teaching ‘LIFE MANAGEMENT’ to the children and it most certainly should generate sense of satisfaction among the children.

Once upon a time in a jungle, all the birds and animals decided to set up an examination system to decide who is the most superior among them? The lion said that the test should be only for roaring. The monkey recommended that the test should be only for jumping. The snake said that they should be tested only for sliding on the ground. The fish responded that everything else is useless if you don’t know how to swim. The discussion went on and on. Finally they decided to conduct different test for each animal according to their natural skill and talent gifted by the God! After the tests everyone was amazed to find out that every animal had secured first rank in their respective fields of ability. To conclude that matter, the fox questioned that, “If we animals have such common sense to understand this simple thing, why can’t the humans understand it?”

The existence of exam-fear among the children, in fact, is more of fear of the parents and friends. They (children) have fear of their teachers too. The ratio of fear has reduced among the children since the day we have stopped announcing results of the students in the classroom and stopped writing the ranks, First, Second and Third, on the board or in the report card.

– Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)


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Roots of generating interest in science stream

Roots of generating interest in science stream

The school authority took a serious note of the prevalent trend in 12th standard students, when only 20 out of 120 students opted for the Science Stream. This bitter reality was taken by us as a serious challenge and as a result we implemented few concrete remedial measures:

  • A weekly-visit to the Science Lab was made compulsory for the students from 7th – 9th
  • A series of science based tours, exhibitions and programmes were conducted on regular basis in the school.
  • A series of the lectures by the learned personalities from renowned institutions like ISRO & Community Science Centre were planned out at regular intervals.
  • Presentations and exhibitions showcasing the career opportunities in the Science stream were also done at frequent time gaps in the school.
  • ‘Science Quiz and Debate Competitions’ were organized among the students to generate their interests for the Science stream.
  • Science-Math carnivals were done at the regular intervals in the school.
  • The lectures from the former Science students who have made a successful career and life were also conducted in the school.
  • Counseling of the bright students, who are not opting for Science stream just because of psychological fear, were also done.
  • The Group Projects to generate interest for Science among the students were organized; and each of these groups was being headed by a teacher, who was assigned a responsibility is to finish the project successfully.
  • Competitions on Making Science Teaching Aids were organised for students of class 9th in the school.
  • ‘Making Robotics’ inter-school competition was organized which attracted participation from over 85 students of 24 other schools of the city.
  • ‘Career Awareness Programs’ had been organized for over 800 students of the 9th class to elaborate the benefits for opting for Science stream.

As a result of these measures, in the next academic year 70 pupils of total 120 students of the class 9th had opted for the Science stream If this result can be attained by the sincere efforts of a one-school teacher, then with united efforts of all the schools what cannot be achieved!

– Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)


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Successful Teacher and Unsuccessful Teacher

Successful Teacher and Unsuccessful Teacher

Successful Teacher

Unsuccessful Teacher

A successful teacher touches heart and inner-being of his students. An unsuccessful teacher feeds only information in child’s brain.
A successful teacher transforms the information into knowledge, and then teaches it to the student. An unsuccessful teacher converts knowledge into information.
He thinks of all-round development of the children. He just thinks about marks-oriented improvement in students’ results.
He makes learning process a joyful experience. He mechanically follows teaching process.
He turns knowledge into science by referring book as a resource. He considers books as everything for teaching and turns knowledge into information.
He converts education into knowledge and brings success to the students. He converts learning into a competition and baffle students into the webs of mark base system.
He gives priority to encourage weak students. He focuses only on bright students.
Students find solutions of their difficulties in him. Students see him only as a problem, not as a solution provider.
Students keep faith on their teacher and give a special niche in their hearts. Students see him just a paid-teacher and then forget him.
Every moment students have spent with their teacher becomes a pleasant and memorable experience for them. Every moment students spend with the teacher passes mainly as a stressful and disgustful experience.
He is like a divine-man and is the oxygen to the school. He is an unsuccessful man behind the shadow of a teacher and is a destroyer who creates problems.
Students keep trust on him and can go ahead in their education. In a puzzled educational system, a student does not feel comfortable.
He has a vision of ‘How to shape-up the students to be a part in nation building.’ He is busy with in fulfilling his own interests through teaching.

– Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)


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A vision is essential in building a career

A vision is essential in building a career

Our entire educational system is working with keeping an eye on percentage based results. Majority of the parents are deciding the career-line for their wards on the basis of percentage they have obtained in the Std. 10th and 11th. The entire system acts like the child’s academic excellence has no connection or links with his/her interest, talents, inclination, skills and career. Right from the kindergarten level the parents are evaluating the performance of their children’s on the percentage they have obtained rather than looking at their natural abilities and talents.

Rather than bringing out the talent and personality of a child, today our entire education system is moulding him into a robotic machine that just stores and rote the information and pouring them out in examination-hall; and mostly a machine that runs after the money.

The Government, System, Society, Media – altogether have sowed only the seeds of competition, jealousy, impatience, and show-off and as a result the trend of mass scaled corruption, attraction for money and wealth have rampantly grown-up in the society.

Our Divyapath School (Memnagar division) had organized a ‘Career Carnival’ in the year 2008-09. In the Carnival, the students had prepared over 250 projects as per their interests and inclinations: each project was showcasing present days’ career opportunities and next generation career for the future times. While, kindergarten children had played a skit depicting the essential language-skill, smartness and alertness requiring for becoming “The Airhostess.” During the event, over 30,000 people, mostly parents, had visited the school and after that I noticed that the focus of the parents have shifted from ‘Results’ to ‘Career’.

Ahmedabad city’s well known Chartered Accountant had made two unsuccessful attempts in the 12th Science, before he opted for the Commerce Faculty and became the Chartered Accountant. His failures were the results of overlook of one important fact, when he was in 10th Standard, he had obtained very good 58 marks in Arithmetic, but, his performance was not good in the Algebra. If his parents had noticed this important fact at the time of results of his 10th standard, I am confident that then they could have easily saved three important years of his academic career and prevented him from suffering of ‘depression, frustration, and failure’ for that span of time.

Who is sowing the seeds in the brain of our children that the success of life lies only in becoming Doctor or Engineer? Why our children are just dreaming of ‘to become a Doctor or an Engineer only?’ Why our children are not showing passion for the fields like Music, Painting, and Sports? Why our Children are not searching for a career in the field of ‘Wildlife Photography’? Why result of our research is always ending in ‘Zero’? Despite of having such a vast coastal line, why are we backward in the fields like swimming and marines? Why only a handicapped person from Japan and a blind man from Scotland are thinking to climb the Mount Everest? Why Gujarati youths are running away from joining Army, Navy and Air Force?

An answer to all these questions is lying in our education system which we have set up as a career for them (children).

Today’s our success is the success of the percentage obtained on a good memory. Now-a-days, all our ventures are aimed at generating capital wealth. All our growths are visible in possession of materialistic valuables, thus ultimately, rather than living in a good life style, we are living in a world that is indulged in a competition in possessing materials and means.

For our kids, we are securing good percentages in the exams, but, we are not able to teach them, how to survive in the times of failure? Today’s youth are able to ride the motor-bike at very high speed, but rarely knows, “What is a time-management?” He knows how to use a high-end mobile, yet, doesn’t know that the Mobile is for a ‘Management Mobility or Entertainment Mobility?’ We are not yet able to bring in an educational syllabus that teaches ‘A respectable life can be lived with a bicycle, rather than with a high-brand car only.’ Our mind-set of ‘talking of high morale but doing a lot of wrongs’ has not yet changed.

Let’s come on, teach our children an art of living rather than pursuing them into the competition of percentage; and to realize that the prosperity of the family is not lying in money and means, but, in eating and sharing together. Money ultimately delivers nothing but tension, bad-habits, poverty and diseases; therefore, we must teach our children to live a healthy, happy and simple life, rather than converting them into the money-earning robots.

– Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)


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Curricular and co-curricular activities for children

Curricular and co-curricular activities for children

The best method to educate a child is to teach him along with some extra-curricular activities. The extra-curricular activities develop the child’s abilities to understand and it gives experience too. The curricular activities help the child to develop his personality beyond boundaries drawn by the Mark-Oriented Education System. The curricular activities are providing an opportunity to every student to attain the peak in his field of interest and inclination. It is a food for mind and subconscious-mind and a vertical growth to the body’s energy. It is a natural procurement. It teaches a time-management. It is the mother of personality development. It is a challenge to the Mark Based Evaluation System. It is a real education.

Provide ample opportunities in curricular activities to bring out the best of him in his field of interest and inclination. Activities means a unfolding of the childhood, it means re-creation of the personality, activity means joy, activity means organizing of festivity of life, it means to convert the class-room into a heaven, activity means creation of teacher’s teaching, it means sailing into the flow of education,  activity means instilling the inner-self into the bundle of information, activity means experiencing the sense, it means dawn of childhood, it means to fill the eyes of child with joy and cheers, it means a natural attempt to prevent the school from becoming cemetery, activity means to rise above the books for merging into mother-nature, activity means a poetic appreciation of the school.

Activity means offering of homage to the God, it means nurturing of vision, a sheltering of interest means activity, no-string attached joy among four-walls of the class-room means activity, activity means applying of kohl in awaiting eyes, activity means flying on imagination to experience sheer joy, it means energising childhood, activity means glorifying wish over mind, activity means an attempt to convert a garden into a park, it means spreading the personality, activity means decomposition of the tension, activity means indication of arrival of nature, activity means instilling music in ear, activity means an attempt to convert knowledge, science, and yoga into an experiment, activity means transformation of teacher into a child, activity means singing of birds on veranda of the school, activity means an educative attempt to convert company into a pleasure. It must be understood that all these creations are results of the co-curricular activities, the extinction of those activities would extinct the personality. The recent reform in the education system is an initiation to convert the education into the co-education. In a chit-chat meeting with a principal of another school, after conclusion of a training programme, he opined about the training programme that “It is nothing but a plan only to pass the students in bulk at free of cost.”

If the Government, Administration or System fails to change the attitude of the person concern than just like mercury, the educated and qualified persons will be also sitting at the bottom of the lake.

The desired results could not be achieved with just an exchange of information during the training programmes organized for adaptation of a new thought, ideals or system. In fact, it is essential to give training for “ATTITUDE” change.

– Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)


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Learning patterns of the child

Learning patterns of the child

It is really essential for every parents to know that “How does their child learn?” For one single incident or occasion, each child can be reacting differently. The children grown up in the same atmosphere can show different reactions for likings and disliking. Similarly, all the children are learning in the same atmosphere. It is necessary to understand the different learning patterns and procedures. That is why, it is being said that, “If you are teaching to the child and he doesn’t understand, than it is not his fault. You need to teach him the way he understands it.

A man took his sick pet dog to a veterinary doctor for the treatment. The doctor gave him a dose of liquid medication. After returning to home, he attempted to administer the liquid medical dose to his pet with every possible ways he could such as by spoon-feeding, forcing the pet to open his mouth, but, all failed and in the process he dropped the bottle on the floor and spilled the medication. Then the dog licked that medication. This is teaching us a lesson that we need to learn that every living being is accepting our teaching method or not.

(1) The Children learning through Readings:

Normally, in a class-room nearly 30-40 % children prefer to learn through reading. They have inclination towards reading. They are remembering what they read. They don’t get tired by reading a lot. In fact, they are enjoying reading. While reading their mind is staying focused and concentrated.

(2) The Children learning through Listening:

Normally, in a class-room nearly 20 % children prefer to learn through listening and grasping through listening whatever the teacher is speaking about. For them listening is a natural way to learn. For learning, they are attuned to their teacher’s voice, tone, and accent, sweetness of language, speaking speed and his expressions and gestures. This kind of children prefers to read less.

(3) The Children learning through Activities:

Normally, in a class-room nearly 15% children prefer to learn through activities. This kind of children have inclination towards teaching methods that apply audio-video equipments, learning and experimental tools, activities and charts, graphs, maps, models and designs applied by the teacher. During learning this kind of children prefer to listen music or with walking around or along with sports and games rather than reading by sitting at one place.

(4) The Children learning through self-system:

Normally, in a class-room nearly 10% children are developing their own system for learning, like first to read and then jotting down important points to remember them, and to later discuss them with friends for quick learning. Teaching others to learn, taking help of someone in remembering, learn that things quickly which is giving praise, to learn quickly from the teacher who makes learning enjoyable and other similar learning system the children are developing.

The children have different inclinations for preference for reading-time, place, ambience, management, and environment and so on. In some of the cases the children suffering from disabilities are finding hard to learn. Normally, the children are developing weakness in grasping or learning prowess because of several reasons like if he has born pre-maturely, the mistakes committed by the doctors during the pregnancy time, due to lack of breast-feeding by the mothers, over doses of medications given to the children and/or mothers, deficiency in eye-sight or hearing, genetic weakness, social problems within the family or at home, quarrels between the parents, behavioural attitudes towards him, lacking in facilities made available to him, too much control or total freedom offered to him, because of friends or atmosphere in the class-room.

– Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)


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English medium or Gujarati medium – A baffling question

English medium or Gujarati medium – A baffling question

આ લેખ ગુજરાતીમાં વાંચવા માટે અહી ક્લિક કરો

  •  When it comes to choosing between placing the child in a Gujarati medium school or an English one, the choice truly baffles the parents.
  • For the matters related to the child’s future, usually the decisions prove right when they are taken keeping in mind the scenario of some twenty years from When the parents have to decide upon the medium of education, they should rather consult a 22-year collegian instead of the elders of their family.
  • While the factors like the family background, circumstances and the educational level of parents themselves play an important role in choosing the medium of education for the child, eventually it proves wiser to also consider the level of competition and smooth development of child.
  • It seems good talking on emotions and freedom of expression attached with mother tongue but schooling in English medium is more relevant and helpful in the present competitive environment.
  • Although the talks of love for your mother-tongue, ease in expression look great idealistically, the English medium schooling proves more advantageous from the realistic point of view.
  • English has emerged as a global At the same time English opens for you the doors of business, knowledge, resources, media and computers, providing you numerous opportunities of personal growth. The children studying in English medium get relatively more opportunities. Children having sound knowledge of English can access a sea of information in seconds through the search engines like Google and Yahoo.
  • And still, if the parents can’t make up their mind, they should initially place their child in English medium for couple of years and then think about altering their decision.
  • For all the questions related with the child’s future, the parents must ponder upon the matter thoroughly and should consult the experienced people for the guidance.
  • The elders of the family often spoil the child’s future when they impose their opinions without taking the present scenario into In the present times, a person’s experience is count not based on the number of years he spent but on his ability to accept new things.
  • Christian missionaries run good English medium schools in the tribal area Children studying there get very good development opportunities.
  • It’s not that children studying in Gujarati medium have full command over Gujarati language and they are linguistically perfect in Gujarati. At least, I have not seen so. The thing is that the written expression becomes easier for them in Gujarati.
  • Some linguists believe the child should be educated in a language in which he sees dreams. I just can’t understand this! The child would dream in English, only if he would have learnt English on the first place.
  • I have studied in Gujarati medium and can write good Gujarati. I am not rigid on this issue, but I have been watching this since past 30 years that the children who get better academic opportunities eventually make good progress in their lives.

No doubt that some Gujarati medium children who are also good at English, perform well at masters level in international colleges. Many of such children have become successful. But in initial stage of their higher studies they find it tough in English. Many of them regrets for not studying in English medium. In coming days, the decision of selecting a medium of education for child will change the very approach of how parents look at the exams, results and the capabilities of the child.


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Article in Gujarati

 અંગ્રેજી માધ્યમ કે ગુજરાતી માધ્યમ

બાળકના અભ્યાસના માધ્યમની પસંદગીનો પ્રશ્ન પરિવારોમાં વધુ વિકટ છે.

  • સામાન્ય રીતે જે માતાપિતા બાળકના ભવિષ્યને સ્પર્શતા નિર્ણયો ૨૦ વર્ષ પછીની પરિસ્થિતિને ધ્યાનમાં રાખીને લે છે તે નિર્ણયો સાચા સાબિત થાય છે. માધ્યમ અંગેના નિર્ણયો ઘરના વડીલોના અભિપ્રાયને આધારે નહિ, પરંતુ કોલેજમાં ભણતા ૨૨ વર્ષના યુવાનના અભિપ્રાયને લઈને કરવા જોઈએ.
  • ઘરની પરિસ્થિતિ તેમજ વાતાવરણ અને માતાપિતાનું શિક્ષણ તો માધ્યમ પસંદગી માટે અગત્યના છે જ, પણ બાળકના ભાવી તેમજ સ્પર્ધા, વિકાસની સાથે બાળક અંગે નિર્ણય લેવાનું ડહાપણ વધુ મહત્વના પુરવાર થાય છે.
  • માતૃભાષા પ્રત્યેનો લગાવ, આદર્શ અને અભિવ્યક્તિની સ્વતંત્રતાની વાતો એક આદર્શ તરીકે સારી લાગે છે પરંતુ વાસ્તવિક પરિપ્રેક્ષમાં, સ્પર્ધાત્મક માહોલની જરૂરિયાતની પુરતી માટે અંગ્રેજી માધ્યમ વધારે ઉપયોગી સાબિત થાય છે.
  • અંગ્રેજી એક અંતરરાષ્ટ્રીય ભાષા છે. તેટલું જ નહિ પરંતુ અંગ્રેજી આજે વિકાસ, વાતાલાપ, Business, Knowledge, Resources, Media, Computer શીખવતી અને તક ઉપલબ્ધ કરાવતી ભાષા છે. English Medium માં ભણતા બાળકોને પ્રમાણમાં વધારે તકો ઉપલબ્ધ થાય છે. અલાદ્દીનના જીનથી પણ વધારે શક્તિશાળી ઈન્ટરનેટમાં Google અને Yahoo જેવા સર્ચ એન્જીન સારું અંગ્રેજી જાણતા બાળકોના હાથમાં સમગ્ર દુનિયાની માહિતી લઈને સેકંડમાં હાજર થાય છે.
  • જે માતાપિતા સ્પષ્ટ નિર્ણય ન લઇ શકે તેમણે બાળકોને KG School માં બે વર્ષ English Medium માં ભણાવીને પછી વૈકલ્પિક નિર્ણય લેવો જોઈએ.
  • દરેક માતાપિતાએ પોતાના સંતાનોના ભાવી અંગેની મૂંઝવણો અંગે ચર્ચા કરીને, પરિપક્વ લોકોના માર્ગદર્શન કે સલાહ લેવા જોઈએ.
  • અનુભવી અને પરિપક્વ વડીલો પણ સાંપ્રત પરિસ્થિતિ ને ધ્યાનમાં લીધા વિના માર્ગદર્શન આપે તો તે ઘણીવાર નુકશાન કરે છે. સાંપ્રત સમયમાં વ્યક્તિનો અનુભવ વર્ષો સાથે જોડાયેલો નથી પણ નવું કેટલું સ્વીકારી શકે છે તેની સાથે જોડાયેલો છે.
  • ક્રિશ્ચિયન મિશનરીઓ (Christian Missionaries) જંગલોમાં, આદિવાસી વિસ્તારોમાં ખુબ સારી અંગ્રેજી માધ્યમની (English Medium) સ્કૂલો ચલાવે છે. ત્યાંના બાળકોને વિકાસની ખુબ સારી તકો મળી રહે છે.
  • ગુજરાતી માધ્યમમાં ભણતા બાળકોની ગુજરાતી ભાષા ઉપર પકડ હોય છે અને તેમની ભાષા અભિવ્યક્તિ ખીલેલી હોય છે, તેવું હું અનુભવી શક્યો નથી, પરંતુ ‘હા’ તે બાળકોની ગુજરાતી ભાષાની લેખિત અભિવ્યક્તિ સરળ બને છે.
  • ઘણા ભાષાવિદોની માન્યતા છે કે જે ભાષામાં સપનું આવે તે ભાષામાં બાળકને ભણાવવું જોઈએ. અરે, અંગ્રેજી સપનું તો અંગ્રેજી ભણ્યા પછી જ આવે ને ? પહેલા ક્યાંથી આવે તે સમજાતું નથી.
  • “હું ગુજરાતી માધ્યમમાં ભણ્યો છું અને સારું ગુજરાતી લખું છું પણ માધ્યમ માટે હઠાગ્રહી નથી, પરંતુ હું ૩૦ વર્ષથી જોઉં છું કે જે બાળકો ભણવા માટેની સારી તક મેળવે છે તે સરવાળે આગળ જતા હોય છે.

ગુજરાતી માધ્યમમાં સારું અંગ્રેજી શીખતા બાળકો પણ માસ્ટર્સ લેવલે આંતરરાષ્ટ્રીય કોલેજોમાં સારું પરફોર્મન્સ બતાવે છે અને સફળ થાય છે, તેમાં શંકાને સ્થાન નથી, પરંતુ તેમને શરૂઆતમાં અંગ્રેજી માધ્યમનો અભાવ વર્તાતો હોય છે. આવનાર વર્ષોમાં માધ્યમનો નિર્ણય જાગૃત માતાપિતાના, ટકા, પરિણામ, અને ક્ષમતા અંગેના મૂળભૂત ખ્યાલ બદલી નાખશે.

જયદેવ સોનગરા (લેખકના પુસ્તક ‘પરવરિશ – સંતાનોની સફળતા માટે’ માંથી.)


શું આપને આ લેખ ગમ્યો? આપનો પ્રતિભાવ આપશો તો મને પણ ગમશે. જો આપ આવા લેખો નિયમિત મેળવવા ઈચ્છતા હોવ તો નીચે/બાજુમાં આપેલ ઓપ્શન પર તમારા ઈમેલ વડે સબસ્ક્રાઈબ કરો.


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