The school is “in a verandah in his father’s palace; Gautama Buddha being instructed, with three other boys, by a Brahmin teacher. On their laps are tablets… caged birds, musical instruments, a battle-axe, bows. Gautama, a prince, was given, along with literary education, education in music and military arts like archery. The making of man was regarded as an artistic and not a mechanical process. Indeed, the aim of education is to develop pupil’s personality, his innate and latent capacity. The academic curriculum has never been all that schools and colleges offer to their students.
Often a range of other classes and activities are available to students in class routine and even after school. These are referred to as the co-curricular activities and they are mostly voluntary for students. Examples would include sports, musical activities, debate, Model United Nations, community service, religious study groups, charitable fundraising, Young Enterprise projects, military cadet activities, drama, science clubs, and hobbies such as gardening, crafts, cookery and dance. Co-curricular activities prepare students practically for the future.
CBSE refers to Work Experience, Health and Physical education, games, painting, music and art education as Scholastic subjects. Then why importance of these subjects is negligible as compared to Mathematics, Science, Social Science and languages? But, most of the teachers teaching in various schools have no idea about art education, games and other similar subjects. As a result, there are unplanned and un-interesting instructions in the classroom because the teacher has no clue or inclination towards these subjects.
There is no plan, criteria or syllabus in schools for these subjects. If you ask an art teacher who has studied art – whether a tree is green or purple? They would say colours show moods, depends which kind of painting you are making both colours could be used. Other teacher who has not studied art would rebuke students and make them colour the tree only brown trunk and green leaves. CCE activities are also a point of discussion amongst the teachers. Cutting and pasting pictures from somewhere is the most common activity done as a part of CCE.
Bloom’s taxonomy is taught as a part of B. Ed. education but not implemented. Without effective activities children are not able to create, analyze, solve real life problems, express and innovate. They are scared to take risks and make decisions. If co-curricular activities are coupled with CCE activities then both important aims can be achieved. In-service teachers should be taught to integrate activities of Health, Physical education, games, painting, music and art, craft or dance in their lesson plans.
Teachers should know how to include available resources in their everyday lessons but, because teachers are not trained to include co-curricular activities in everyday classroom teachers are not able to use these periods effectively. Most of the teachers are not even aware about what kind of activities could be done in the class, directions and purpose for doing an activity are not clear as a result the main aim of having these activities is defeated. These activities do not need report card to certify because they prepare you for life and not merely for a forthcoming competitive exam.
Education requires concentration. Children are thrilled; the day they know they have a routine breaking activity or sports period or even if they get to cut paper, fold paper, sing a jingle, share a joke etc. The activity has to be planned well and then executed. The main concern is that teachers do not use their creativity to build activities according to the level of students. We have to teach students to learn instead of studying, do useful work instead of hard work and develop self-discipline instead of discipline, work voluntarily instead of assigned work*.
This can be done only when teachers are trained to do so. According to the changes brought about in CBSE curriculum, changes should be brought about in B. Ed. curriculum. Everybody encourages practice of Yoga. But we do not realize even if students sing they are practicing kind of yoga. They regulate their breath, concentrate and think creatively. They try to create a balance between their bodies, mind and attain self-enlightenment. This is healthy and ensures that students are exposed to practical tasks, not just what is taught in class.
Kids don’t come to know how much time they pass while they get lost in their hobbies. Schools cannot make Painters, Sports persons, Dancers etc. but they can help kids to decide their field of choice. The joy of creating something gives happiness. Concentration in a particular activity is like meditation which relaxes students from repeated reading, writing and arithmetic activities. The happiness children get from playing instruments, helping others, dancing or running makes them lively.
Most co-curricular activities are physically ctive, getting the student out from behind their desk and making them try new things. All those things which break the monotony of class routine are welcome by kids. It could be an action song, small classroom game, managing the school garden, painting a poster for school competition, modelling clay etc. It teaches students to work in groups, think, take responsibilities, develop social skills, soft skills etc. Schools make infrastructure available to teachers but teachers have no clue how to use it. For example IT infrastructure.
In olden days, education systems included Martial arts, drawing, singing, painting, sports and debate etc. as a tool for gaining wisdom, insight, concentration, compassion, mental piece, creativity, stamina etc. For example Buddhist mandala serves as a tool for guiding individuals along the path to enlightenment. Monks meditate upon the mandala, In service teachers when given duties for club activities they are clueless to the new tasks assigned. Even if they know one form of art concretely, they can teach it to students as a part of education.
Teachers should concentrate on learning one form of art during their B. Ed. education. When teachers learn one form of art, they will not have to run to Art or Dance teacher every now and then for small ideas. Among the teachers many problems can get solved, school functions can be organized in a better way. Art teachers can get more time to complete their art syllabus in classrooms. In service teachers should be asked to plan activities with their lesson plans. Currently, it is observed that cut-and-stick pictures related to the topic is the most common activity done by teachers.
Education must therefore promote and nourish as wide a range of capacities and skills in our children as possible. The gamut of such skills include the performing arts (music, dance, drama, and so on), painting and crafts, and literary abilities (weaving, stories, wielding language to portray different aspects of life, a flair for metaphorical and poetic expression etc. ). Also, skills as diverse as some children’s special capacity to bond with nature – with trees, birds, and animals-need to be nurtured.