In a conversation with my daughter I was telling her how I can't seem to stop watching a show I didn't enjoy till I reached the end. She very conveniently said “Just leave it and watch something else.” Something as simple as this got me thinking about perseverance. The story from our childhood, of a king hiding in a cave, as he observes a spider and learns the very important life lesson - Try, try till you succeed immediately came to my mind. Is it that our kids have too many choices or they are used to instant gratification or is it that they don't see the point in struggling or a mix of all of these? As per the noted researcher Carol Dweck, persistence is one of the main skills that predicts success, in later life. The Resilience to persevere in the face of challenges determines ones ability to adapt to difficult and stressful situations and as we well know life is r iddled with challenges. Albert Einstein, the most acknowledged intellect of all times said, “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.” Then how do we as educators, teach our children these important skills as they grow up in today's ‘microwave culture’.

Providing life skills-based education from a young age helps students prepare for life after school. The key is not to treat school life as preparation for life but as life itself. Respecting students' views and emotions, being active listeners involved in all areas of their development is crucial.

At Gitanjali, we focus on helping students develop life skills that prepare them for their future. The skills they learn at school help deal with different situations, grow emotionally, socially and intellectually. Some of the strategies that we consciously use to help students deal with the challenges and rigors of life are –

  • 1. Struggling and finishing the task at hand leads to building self- confidence, independence and perseverance. Teachers give children the space, time and encouragement to complete tasks on their own with the teacher mentoring them.
  • 2. Praise is a powerful tool when used for real accomplishments can lead to increased motivation and self-esteem. However feedback and praise should be used carefully for optimal results. Praise should be honest, sincere and immediate. A conscious effort is made by all teachers to praise process and effort not IQ or skill.
  • 3. We constantly challenge our students to do better by giving them tasks that stretch their skills and get them accustomed to facing difficulties and solving them with ease.
  • 4. Teachers create a classroom environment where students feel safe and are comfortable taking risks, problem-solving and making mistakes. They help students see problems and failures as opportunities to try again, learn and grow.
  • 5. Since the parents and school work as a team, parenting sessions on over parenting/ helicopter parenting are conducted. Parents are reminded of the importance of struggle and developing independence in their children.
  • 6. Teachers model being persistent by sharing incidents from their lives. They also read books and watch videos of characters who overcome challenges. Assembly presentations and book reviews of strong protagonists are encouraged.
  • 7. Teachers try innovative teaching strategies that students can relate to and motivate them to learn. Differentiated instructions ensure that every student in class feels empowered to do better. Helping students understand that there is always scope for improvement will encourage a growth mindset.
  • 8. Educating children on the importance of following civic rules both in and outside of school helps children be more considerate of others and think about the greater good of the community. It also lays the foundation of the thought that we need to stick with certain processes though they may not yield immediate results.

The world is changing at a rapid pace and we can't predict what the future holds for our children. Today they can just click a button and learn something new. AI enabled search engines like Chat GPT are making inroads into the classrooms. So, how do we ensure that children understand the importance of learning and enjoy the process and not just look at the end result? One of the best ways in which teachers can help children grow into successful adults is to become their biggest cheerleaders. A teacher's belief in the ability of her children has a far reaching impact. Therefore the best gift we can give to our students, as educators, is the passion to pursue their interests, confidence to try their best, the ability to face challenges and the skills to overcome them with grit and determination.

Mrs. Madhvi Chandra is the Principal, Gitanjali Devshala and Associate Director, Gitanjali Group of Schools, Hyderabad. With a specialization in child psychology and around 25 years of experience she has been instrumental in the development of the pedagogical approach and methodology used at Gitanjali Group of Schools. The Gitanjali Group of Schools have been consistently ranked among the top schools in India by Education Today and other organizations year after year. She shares some of the best practices that she has found to be beneficial in her experience at Gitanjali.