Beating barriers

Many under-privileged children learn Western music at the Coimbatore Music School. Every year, the teachers come across so many students dedicated to music. Their success stories are a great learning experience. I remember a girl in our school who appeared for the exam of Royal School of Music, London. She was a talented recorder player, but had difficulty understanding English. I asked her how she would understand the questions. She told me she would figure out the question by identifying some words. ‘If I see words such as ‘classical’ or ‘romantic’, I will know the question is about the period of music’, she said. The sheer determination these children display moves me.

S. Umarani

Trustee and teaching faculty, Coimbatore Music School

Winning Hearts

Love is the best teacher. In my 30 years of teaching Karate, I’ve learnt that if you give children respect and care, they will obey you. Some children are lazy to get up early in the morning and come for classes.

Their mothers whack them and they come crying to class. I go to their houses the next day, just tap them on their shoulder, saying: ‘Ennada Kanne’, and urge them to come for classes. They happily do. You can tame a child through order, but get him to listen with love. As a child, I have been hit by my teachers. But that is an archaic way of teaching. By being friendly with children and being one of them, you can win their hearts and help them achieve their dreams.

K.M. Abdul Subhan

Karate master

Special moments

During theatre workshops in schools, our team experiences endearing moments with children.

Once, a school principal told us that a child with a border line case of learning disability would be joining our class. And that she would require special attention. She entered the classroom and sat in a corner, away from the other children. Then, there was magic. One by one, each child went up to her and urged her to join them.

Children can be so empathetic and caring. They are also non-judgemental, unlike adults. They are very sensitive to such behaviour from adults. They can easily sense when a person shows preference. It makes them uncomfortable. But, once you let them out in a free, open atmosphere, you see them bloom.

Archana Dange

Head of Operations, Helen’ O’Grady Drama Academy (Tamil Nadu)

Point to ponder

Children who ask too many questions are frowned upon in conventional classrooms. But I don’t believe in it. Our teachers encourage children to ask as many questions as they want to and urge them to find out answers through group discussions. Some of the questions the little ones come up with are eye-openers. For instance, during one session, we were teaching them about the Roman and Arabic number systems. We told them the Arabic one is more popular and that the Roman system has turned archaic. A student immediately shot up his arms in the air and asked: ‘If the Roman numerical system is so jaded, why am I learning it?’ These questions urge the teachers to think about present system of education. Moreover, children’s straight-forwardness and innocence touch you.

Santhya Vikram

Founder, Yellow Train Grade School