Dr. Nivedita Ganguli, Principal, DAV Ahmadabad, is all that a student might ever need. With a Ph.D. (Emotional Intelligence, Stress and Job Satisfaction) and gold medal in MA (Psychology) in her kitty, she holds a vast experience in training and development. Her award list too is exemplary. To list, she has won Dr. Zakir Hussain ‘The Great Teacher Award’ from CSRL, Certificate of honour for her achievement as a school counselor in 2012-13 by CBSE and Expressions India, among many others. She also is the author of Journey towards Awakened Life and Changing Perspective Changing Life both of which have been highly successful and helpful to the readers.
Other than all the certificates, awards, and books that she has authored, the most prized possession she has is the love of her students, their parents and teachers.
We recently got a chance to have a word with her, talk about schools and students’ overall development, and what we learned from her was an eye-opener. Here’s an excerpt:
Q1 Lifestyles have changed a lot. Parents too. Do you find the changes positive.
A1 The lifestyle change is creating lot of problems for mental health of the family. Most of the parents have unhealthy eating pattern and sleeping pattern. This is creating problem in their mental and physical well-being. Thus, the present lifestyle needs to be worked upon seriously so that there can be happy family.
Q2 These changes aren’t limited to parents. Life of a teacher too has changed a great deal … Teachers today are blamed of emotional, mental, and physical abuse by parents. So, were we being abused by our teachers? Or are the laws making the teachers be too lenient?
A2 According to me, no one has the right to hurt dignity of any human being. Thus, law is creating a check that any adult should not vent out own frustration on children. But teachers need to empower themselves in managing students with positive approach, creating an engaged classroom with activity based learning. Otherwise, it would be difficult for the teachers to teach today’s children who are so apt and savvy with technology.
Q3 Students today are committing suicides for failing in exams, for not getting 99% marks, for not clearing their choice of competitive exams. Why are students losing patience and spirit so easily? How can parents and teachers help them retain it?
A3 I feel that the stress of the parents and teachers pass on to the students. A small child does not know what is 1st and what is 10th. But the reaction that they see on parents face or the words they hear creates emotion of happiness or sadness. It is a tragedy that we focus on results and not on efforts. The more we focus on results, the stress would be high and life happiness index would go down. But the moment we focus on effort, stress would go down and the happiness index would automatically shoot high.
Q4 As a teacher and then a principal of a successful school, please advise the parents reading this on how to not lose temper while making kids understand things.
A4 They need to first train themselves to be peaceful. Until and unless they are not peaceful with themselves, they cannot be peaceful with their kids. Second, they need to focus on not to react while they are angry. They need to take out some time to settle down their anger.
Q5 The real world today is the virtual world. Kids know a lot more about gadgets than their parents. Children are hooked-on to social media; crimes happen. Even the most involved parents are clueless of such activities. How can parents, along with teachers, keep children safe?
A5 The only solution is love children and be more engaged. There are many families where there is only mechanical communication; there is no sharing of feelings. Such things compel children to create a world of their own. There should be some quality family time … away from TVs, computers, mobile phones, etc.
Q6 On the flip side, children don’t only suffer these crimes but also commit some. How can parents, guardians, teachers identify such children?
A6 Each adult should be engaged with their children. If they get engaged in sharing emotions, listening to the kids, allowing them to vent out their own feelings in non-threatening atmosphere, we can save our kids from entering into committing crime.
Q7 You being a school principal and psychologist, why do you think there’s a gap between teachers and parents?
A7 I think each one is getting into blame game rather than focusing on children’s positive development. Parents should be invited to share their skills and talents with the kids, there should be lot of joint venture with the parents which would help the children in their holistic development.
Q8 How can that be effectively bridged?
A8 Each one should focus on this mantra question: “What best I can do and how we can help each other?” rather than focusing on blame-game “Whose fault is it?”. If each one plays one’s own role in positive manner, there is no question of any gap, and thus any bridge.
Q9 Since technology now offers instant communication, can the gap be bridged by what technology has to offer?
A9 Technology can be used in a positive manner. The work of children can be uploaded in website, the development of each child can be shared by the parents that would enhance the ‘feel good’ factor and reduce anxiety. The stress can be reduced by sharing notes, etc.
Q10 Though parenting and teaching are tough and there are many concerns on both the sides. However, a common one that both the sides share is sexual education.
A10 I feel that we should be open to educate the children to respect themselves and understand various aspect of sexuality from right perspective. If we don't speak about sexuality, they would enter into several wrong traps.
Q11 For effective teaching, does a teacher need to know parents as well as kids?
A11 Certainly! There is no way out. Once a teacher knows about kids and parents, then only they can help the child on basis of individual needs.
Q12 With all the pressure from schools, parents and students have started preferring home-schooling. Do you think it’s helpful for both teachers and students?
A12 It varies from child to child. But I think that if properly trained teachers are available who can teach with compassion, we should not deprive any child of the social development.