Every student is a different personality, and so there are different teaching methods which can be customized to match their capacity to learn. Some learn with flow and get adjusted to find their own way to learn. Some stumble, loose the track and thus require proper support. This case study is about a boy who spent long period of his teenage in a “blank period” when he never touched a pen or a book. He lived in urban area and was from good financial background. Disturbed family background shadowed his focus and was thrown out of the educational tract. Time to time encouragement from teacher and family, metamorphosed an emotionless, confused, hesitant boy into bold, confident, sensitive and versatile person. The family and peer group also was guided to help the boy to come again into the main stream. There were dramatic changes in the overall behaviour of a boy.
Nowadays, rapid and profound social change has deeply affected our present-day classroom teaching-learning process. The teaching and teacher role is also more difficult and with many new challenges for the future. In today’s scenario teachers can play potential role for positive transformation in student’s overall development.
The paper is focused primarily on his cognitive, emotional, social and behavioural development. It intends to study how a teacher can play major role in this transformation.
Key concepts: Metamorphosed, Transformation, Teacher’s role
In the present scenario of globalization education is the key for most of the problems. Globalization though unavoidable like a cyclone, is churning the various areas of social environment of developing countries. Speeding urbanization has caused turbulence in the social and cultural set ups. As a result some people could adjust themselves with this flow and could achieve path of education. While many could not keep up their pace with the required change, were dragged and were left behind shattered.
This is the case study of a teenager whose family was swept away along the tide of urbanization. With no fault of his. He was thrown on an island of negligence, remained isolated from society, in a dormant condition, waiting for a miracle to happen. After pre-planned strategy this adolescent boy who was less than a labour level was transformed into sophisticated qualified software developer.
1. Personal background When Dev was brought to the teacher he was 19 years old. Disturbed mental condition could be noticed by his withdrawing body language. He had not taken pen in his hand for four and half years except for signing and writing list of electrical item while working in an electrical shop. Due to separation of parents, not only his childhood was stolen away but also he was sent to an exile – a hostel for studies. No family member to visit him or support him in this new atmosphere, ill-treated by hostel owner, he became rebellions and was rusticated. He was finally brought to a relative’s house but had to undergo physical and mental torture. Finally when his mother started earning, had a separate residence, he started living with his mother and grandfather. After which mother realised that he needs special attention to be accepted by the society... Education was a distant dream.
2. Family Background Parents always had turbulent relationship. So they separated soon after his birth. Mother initially was dependent on her father financially. After getting the professional training she got the permanent job when he was 18 years old. Grandfather (maternal) at home who also required some mental support. There was less interaction with relatives due to parent’s disturbed family relation.
3. Students description He was always healthy 19 years old boy and was physically fit when he came. There was no disciplined routine as he lived in diverse conditions in various households with different types of households, with different type of related/non related people. Body language was the reflection of his confused and doubtful mind.
4. Students Placement Though he studied earlier up to 9th standard, it was difficult to place him in 10th standard directly as there was huge academic gap in between accompanied by disinterest of him and others towards his academic development.
5. Academic Needs Long and deliberate observation was needed to decide the activity to be given to him after his long period of academic hibernation. His first and foremost need was to start from the basic, may be from primary level.
6. Social needs In past five years he hardly had meaningful interaction with other people. Due to lack of proper education and negligence from family, he had to work as a labourer. Suddenly when he came to teachers house, it was his first exposure to the society. He needed social acceptance.
7. Behavioural Needs Whole family (Dev, mother and grandfather) was living together first time. They needed acceptance by to society as a family. Dev needed interaction with society. With teacher, other students (of whom he could consider some as friends). He needed to observe others talking, interacting, so that he may imitate and learn from them.
Dev came to the teacher on July 20th, 2006. He had no connection with studies from April 2002 to July 20th, 2006. A huge lacuna in his mind was apparent through his body language. Eyesight was showing un-trust. He had come to the teacher unwillingly, leaving his comfort zone. Teacher could feel his question through his voice, “What worth am I?”. “Do the other people value me?”
First challenge was without asking him about his past; make him feel comfortable and to have dialogue. Also to develop the confidence in him what worth he is.
Secondly to find out his strengths and weaknesses.
Family’s positive involvement was required for fulfilling the required goals.
Teacher did not ask him questions about his past. Required information about his past was known through his mother. He was asked what he likes to do? He just gave confused smile. She wanted to give him some easily achievable goals. Then teacher asked him whether he can draw. He said “Yes”. There was a Higher Secondary Biology book on the table. So teacher gave him a drawing paper and asked him to draw a plant cell diagram on it. Mother leaves after that. He took 3 hrs. To draw a good diagram and labelled the various parts neatly. Teacher appreciates the diagram and the neatness too. Dev looks happy and little confident. He looks at the diagram again and again. After a long period of educational gap he had drawn something from textbook, devoting so much time. For next 4 days he was asked to draw & label, different diagrams. Slowly he started talking, at least answering the questions asked in one word Yes/No. Simultaneous interaction was there with mother about his feedback about the learning experience after he goes back home.
Teacher could observe that Dev is drawing the diagram with interest. Dev Confesses that he never knows that he was so good at drawing. He is coming in time everyday showed that he is finding it interesting. That was hope for teacher as well as student that it was a great start. We could expect continuation further. His body language changed. He started looking bit confident.
As it was initially found that drawing was one of his strengths that were used to communicate with him. And same strength encouraged him to come out of his comfort zone at home.
Family had positive effect of his start and that positivity again pushed him further. Co-operation from mother and grandfather was good.
It was necessary that Dev talks freely about his likes and dislikes. Also, his expectations from teacher and his expectations from himself.
He was not willing to interact with other students due to his age gap and also due to split family.
What should be the next task to be given to him after successful drawing session which went on for a week?
To bring him back in the process of education it was necessary to know what level of writing can be given to him.
It was necessary to motivate him not only to stimulate but sustain the interest in learning.
Every exercise needed to be given in extremely small units.
There was need to change the exercise given to him or else it would have become monotonous. He was asked to solve grammar from grammar book “Wren & Martin”. Simple tasks like prepositions, conjunctions were given to solve. He found it easy and solved it with fun. He was pleased with reward of appreciation. His mother was informed to appreciate him at home for his good performance. She was also instructed to give weekly report of change of behaviour if any.
One more strategy was used here. Simba, the pet in teacher's home was introduced to him in first week itself, who befriended with Dev immediately. Dev was given recess in between to play with Simba, to give him a treat, so that they bond together.
Second week ended with mere positive results. Dev became more confident. Teacher told him that he has done the grammar assignment and he can do very well in grammar. He could regain confidence in writing as well. This grammar writing exercise, though very simple for his age, was helpful for further plan of action. He was smoothly trying to come out of the comfort zone. Teacher could feel that he was slowly started trusting the teacher.
As he was introduced to pet dog Simba, Teacher found that it was first time he experienced the unconditional love of the dog. That became the attraction for him to come to learn willingly in time.
Dev needed constant boosting/encouragement for regularity in coming to class in time. Though he started solving grammar further, it should not have become monotonous and boring. It was time to take him in confidence to explain him about his short term and long term goals. New tasks were required before he goes into stagnant mood. There was no interaction with other class children yet. Proper planning was needed to allow him to interact with other children who were younger to him but studying in higher classes.
He continued solving grammar further and at the same time strengthening earlier lessons. He was told that he was very good in writing and memorizing so he could now write Xth standard exam externally. He was not willing to go for regular classroom due to age gap. As he became ___ with simple lessons of grammar, he was asked to teach them to other students of the class. His duration of the class increased to 6 hours and he was allowed to take Simba for a walk. He was asked to write his life history.
As he was given long term goal as XI th examination, that was hope for him to come to the level of other students of his age, His first interaction with other class students was through grammar teaching which he was __ but others were not. That came as boost for Dev, other students saw him from teacher angle. Dev became free and started talking freely with teacher and other students. After writing about his past, bitter experiences, he became freer.
Though comfortable with learning lessons of Xth, his mothers complaints were about his behaviour at home. As his history was the world of broken & scattered family, shattered hearts, meaningless life, he never knew what the family mean & what the ideal social behaviour was. He was bossy at home.
Teacher increased dialog with Dev. Without disturbing the privacy of the family, it was important to ask his views and expectations from the family. He was convinced to take care of grandfather as he required mental support. Mother was asked to plan and handle his behaviour so that he becomes calmer at home and they have good interaction. He was given new task that was to demonstrate in the science practical classes, to help teachers team to conduct experiments. He spent most of the time with the team of teachers.
This strategy came as a boost as he started looking towards himself as a teacher and other students from teachers angle. His approach towards surrounding changed dramatically. He learnt the practical skills very fast than expected. He understood that it is education that fulfills your need, personal, social. He started studying sincerely. He was suddenly so occupied that his behaviour at home too changed.
The case study of Dev is a long journey of transformation of a boy who was almost invisible in the society suffering alone and as if lost hope of any rescue from the marooned island. Journey ended in a fairy tale style, giving hope to many such children in the society.
This is the example that shows how meticulously planned short and long goals, search for high performance, encouraging child for creativity and innovation can change his world. This case study reveals how by providing recurrent support and security, by appropriate realistic and practicable planning in teaching can bring drastic change in the learning ability of a student.
A teacher has very important role to present educational model for individual child, as every child is unique. Rigid curricular system along with insensitive society has produced many rejects are thrown out of the regular flow of education. Teacher has power to transform such rejects into respectable, responsible citizens. Dr. Kothari commission (1964-66) states “We are convinced that the most important factor in the contemplated educational reconstruction is the teacher, his professional training and the place he occupies in the school as well as in the community”.
National Policy of Education (NPE), 1986, also clarified the position of teacher is part and parcel of India. They cannot be static but should ready to change their mental attitude in changed circumstances.
William Glasser (1990) urged teachers to act as lead managers rather than boss managers. Lead managers motivate by reinforcing rather than punishing, showing rather than telling, empowering rather than overpowering, emphasizing cooperative work towards shared goals rather than rule enforcement.
Teacher's personality and day to day behaviour can become most powerful motivational tool.
The case study of Dev is a rare case by itself. It needed to be exhibited on larger platform. Large numbers of families are victims of transitional phase of the developing countries like India, from rural to Urban, poorest to wealthier. Most affected in the process are children. Dev is representative of that.
Initially creating feel safe, accepted, enriched and supportive learning environment was of prime concern. Teacher used high-warmth/ no criticism style to start the conversation. Drawing sessions were used in the beginning because imitating is the basic instinct of every human being. Teacher used praise as reward for every small improvement. Slowly he was hooked to praise. Process of education cannot take off without language. So he was given the lessons from grammar book ‘Wren and Martin’.
All the exercise was converted into smaller, more manageable ones. Deliberately chatted in between on various topics to break monotony and most importantly cover up the sociological gap which he missed. Bonding emotionally with pet dog Simba forced him to come before time for classes. Teaching grammar to other students, who were in higher classes but weak in language helped him a lot to gain confidence and have healthy interaction with them. Helping students in science practical classes and spending spare time with teachers developed his speaking, observation, patience and flexibility skills. His general level knowledge was transformed into academic knowledge. His syllabus was simplified to his level by studying each lesson before teaching him. Initially he was reluctant to come out of comfort zone but soon he realised that hard work for education is the only path. He was trusted wholly, so he revealed himself his past, his mistakes and his willingness towards self improvement. Teacher often discussed future plans with him and encouraged him to plan the future goals for himself. He could look beyond the syllabus and learnt the formula that how to gain respect only through knowledge.
Though he was in the class for 6-7 hours, through weekly interaction with his mother, his behaviour with family was monitored. Like most typical middle class mothers, his mother would try supervisory control and grandfather had his own problems.
So, they both needed counselling which was provided under one roof.
Parents play a pivotal role in development of a child. They should recognize the ways for upliftment of the child. They should redefine their responsibly in such exceptional cases.
Distant education or open schools are doing wonders to give opportunity to such slipped off students to come again in the flow of education. The role they play must be underlined in the history of education.
Different strategies were studied, planned and executed for Dev's memorable journey from a labourer like worker to elite group of a society becoming qualified software developer. This was possible because of honest, transparent, sincere effort with the inner urge of understanding somebody’s pain as your own.
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The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Mumbai Image Attribution: Anoop Ravi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]