Indian education system has it strengths, but it is also true that writing an exam is nothing less than an ordeal for our children as the primary stress is on committing information to memory for the purposes of reproduction later.
Studying by rote or by-heart is the primary tool used for learning by most students. The subject matter is on read repeatedly until the student is able to reproduce the same information, exactly the same way, but without referring to the book.
Needless to say, not the ideal way to promote creativity and critical thinking in young minds.
Things are changing slowly, but more needs to be done in making the purpose of assessing a child’s knowledge in more meaningful ways.
Until such time, children – and parents – are left to deal with the current system. Parents, especially mothers, undergo a great deal of stress during exam time. If they are professionals juggling their time between a career and raising a family, the stress levels can go through the roof.
But let us see how with a bit of planning exam time can be a stress-free time. After all, it is said that “no matter how long the storm lasts, the sun always shines behind the clouds.”
- Exams are not be-all and end-all: As a parent, make it clear to your child that while scoring good marks is desirable, even essential, it is not the only thing. Encourage them to spare no effort, and let them know that rewards will soon follow. Often, children are bogged down by the burden of unreasonable expectations.
- Encourage learning on a daily basis: Preparations for a given academic year should start on the day school reopens. It is a good idea for you and your child to keep track of learning on a daily basis and if time is a constraint, on weekends. This can lower the workload considerably and not burden you with the accumulated work during exams.
- Food is the fuel that provides energy: Make sure your child is eating right and not binning it the moment your back is turned. Some children tend to overeat due to anxiety. Not a good idea, as it can make them lethargic. Incorporate fresh fruit, green salads, and boiled vegetables in their diet. Drinking plenty of water ensures fluid balance in the body.
- Ensure they are physically active: Encourage them to spend some time outdoors. This will not only give them a much needed diversion but also plenty of fresh air. The more the oxygen supply to the brain, the more it helps them to think clearly.
- A little bit of recreation: You can even watch a favourite TV program together and also listen to some soothing music. The idea is to make it feel like a normal day, but with a little bit of parental supervision. This can work wonders to the morale of your child.
- Children need parents: It is a great idea to involve both parents, wherever possible, in helping your child deal with the exam-related stress. Always discuss with them about their progress, and find out if they are experiencing any difficulties or problems.
Finally, children are tougher and stronger than we give them credit for. But having their parents by their side gives them superhuman powers to deal with a tough situation.
Good luck every one with your exams!