Schools are busy with various inter-school competitions at cluster level in August. Vijayanagar (Bangalore) cluster has 22 schools. Shree Bharathi Vidyalaya (SBV) in Vijayanagar, Bangalore, was founded in 2002. It has about 790 students, including the toddlers in prep classes. Some much older schools in its cluster have a few thousand students. But, SBV has the following achievements to its credit:
- Athletics: 12 first prizes, 8 second prizes and 4 third prizes.
- Games: 5 first prizes and 5 second prizes.
The school is champion in its cluster, both in higher primary and high school levels.
Department of Public Instructions, Karnataka, conducts annual cultural and literary competitions, named Pratibha Karanji . This year’s cluster level competitions concluded last week with 35 events. The students of SBV have won 26 first prizes, 8 second prizes, and 1 third prize. They are the champions in all the categories of competition.
We asked the students what makes them excel in these events year after year. Distilling scores of innocent answers, the reason is coaching with compassion. The teachers and parents do not pressurise the students to win in the competition. In cultural events, the students choose what they like, write their own script, rehearse and compete. They get encouragement, help, and guidance from trusting and loving teachers. The students enjoy every moment of the events.
This is very different from Amy Chua’s Tiger Mother approach, who coached her daughters for strict compliance, and very close to Totto Chan, The Little Girl at the Window, which talks about Mr. Kobayashi’s school with a difference.
If we could coach our students with compassion in academics too, that would be a refreshing change. Parents, teachers, education department, and the society in general, coach for compliance in curricular studies. When students enter a sports field, we say, “It is OK if you don’t win.” Before they leave for exam hall, we say, “you have to score centum.” Children suffer huge stress, running between school and tuition classes, listening to advices and reprimands from teachers, parents, and other ‘well meaning’ elders. We can’t expect them to enjoy studies under such stress. Can we reduce our expectations and add a dose of compassion?