“My son tries to read each and every billboard be it in Hindi/English on his way to his grandmother’s house.” says the father of Anurag Raj; a student of Mindspark Centres for the past 18 months. You can hear and see from the father on this video.
We are a proud species. We rejoice when we achieve something and more so when our children attain heights.It is a feeling of victory when our child takes admission in a good school, when we see our child excelling in herclass, when we see her being appreciated. But nothing can describe our pride when someone asks her a question (we assume its tough for her) and she not only answers it correctly but also gives a logic behind it. Isn’t that the whole thought behind education, tuitions, good school, good grades – that our child is ‘learning with understanding’? A lot of factors contribute to this trait in a child mainly:
- Being Inquisitive – This is a trait she picks from her surroundings, parents and peers. The more she is answered in a satisfactory manner, the more she would be curious to learn new things.
- Learning atmosphere – Its not just the school where a child learns. She is learning every second of the day through her observations of human behaviour and surroundings.
- Exposure – Exposure to new learning measures apart from text books.
At Mindspark centre we have children coming from surrounding urban slums. 75% kids are going to government schools while majority of others are studying in affordable private schools. These kids have a rare exposure to the above 3 factors. For us it’s a challenge not just to equip them with right knowledge but to also inculcate the feeling of ‘Why we need to learn’. Hence for us it’s a feeling of accomplishment when we see our children learning and working hard to understand concepts, therefore bridging the gap between their actual levels and class grade. This obviously doesn’t happen overnight,despite what most parents of low-income neighborhoods want. While in school it takes a complete year to get promoted to the next grade, its not the same in our centre. Here a child learns and progresses at his speed and aptitude. There is no defined/fixed period to promote him. The only criteria is ‘has he learned and understood the topics of that grade’ and ‘can he apply them in day to day life’. None of this is at the discretion of staff. The promotion to next level is supported by some very strong data and systems. To elaborate and emphasise on this point we would like to share one such story of Anurag Raj.
Anurag’s family has been a resident of Nehru Camp, a slum in Govindpuri for past 3 decades. Anurag goes to a close by Government school and is also studying in Mindspark Centre, Govindpuri since December 2012. When he joined our centre his basics of whole number operations were very poor. A simple mixed digit addition, Example, 148 + 73 would take him a lot of time to solve as for him it was not just addition of 2 numbers. He had to comprehend the concept of Place value and carry over along with adding up the numbers manually which posed as a huge challenge. At that time he was in class 4 in school. We took his screening test to determine his actual learning level for Maths and Language. The result was quite disheartening. A child who has been promoted for 3 consecutive years in school only knew some concepts of grade 1. One should know that there isn’t just one case like Anurag, instead there are many many such kids owing to current education system where children are being promoted every year by default. There is no actual analysis of whether or not they learnt anything. In simple words, all kids pass and none fail till they reach Class 9. In this process many parents and children neglect the importance of learning in initial years of schooling and realise it only when the up gradation to next class becomes dependent on the marks they score. But this wasn’t the case with Anurag. Elaborate discussions took place with Anurag’s parents (as is done with every parent) to make them considerate towards their child’s real learning levels.Anurag’s father first recognised where his child was lacking and then emphasised that we are free to teach him the way we want, we can demand any help or cooperation from them and that he wants to see a difference in his kid even if its gradual and not immediate. This was quite different from what parents usually demand. We are more accustomed to hearing parents demanding immediate result without real understanding of their child’s current status or suggesting that its ok to resort to punishments because that is how kids learn.
Anurag hence began his classes from Level 1 for both Maths and Language. Now a child can move towards higher levels in 2 ways –
- If he clears a quarterly test of his current level and scores above 70% in the next level as well i.e. he appeared for Level 1 test and scored >70%, he was then given test of Level 2 and he scored > 70% in that case his current level would be updated to Level 2
- If he completes all the topics of his current level successfully and is then promoted to next.
In the table below is a summarised progress of Anurag over each Level Test. He worked very hard during his Mindspark sessions, asked doubts everytime he was stuck, made best use of offline classes and ensured that he was upgrading a level every 3 months by understanding the concepts of that grade in detail. His progress is not just limited to Mindspark. This change was reflected in his school result as well where he proudly says ‘ Didi! I stood first in my class this year’ and offers you a candy.
In the above table –
- Class – means his school grade level.
- Langauge Level (LL) and Maths level (ML) are the one’s he achieved post tests.
- Gap in LL and ML depicts the gap between his school grade and Mindspark level.
- Highlights in yellow – show that child is now at same level in Mindspark as his school grade.
- Highlights in green – show that child is 1 level ahead in Mindspark with respect to his school grade.
His growth through levels depicted in graphical format below –
In the above graph – his class progress in school is on yearly basis (as shown in blue line). In case of Maths he progressed one level in each quarterly test uptill the month of November 2013 after which it took him 6 months to progress to next level i.e. 6 which is also his current school grade. In language his growth has been linear with respect to quarterly tests.
Anurag has not just grown linearly in his studies but also in his personal development. He has progressed from a shy kid who wouldn’t talk to anyone to an ever smiling kid who participates in each and every competition and wins most of the timeJ He wants to become a doctor when he grows up so he can help others. His father is very happy with the progress and shared some Mindspark moments that he noticed–
- “He cannot stop talking about Mindspark centre after coming back home.”
- “He fights with us to skip outings with family just so he doesn’t miss out on one class.”
- “During PTM he makes sure we get ready and reach centre way before time just because his teachers emphasised on importance of reaching timely.”
These are some of the very proud moments for the Mindspark centre’s team.