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Could Your Child Be A Genius?

Een praktische uitleg in het engels over de methodiek en het handelen op de schoolprojecten. Alle methodes en oefeningen worden uitvoerig beschreven in de onderstaande 12 artikelen (geschreven door Aruna Raghavan, correspondent van de beide scholen).

Alternative eduction - by Aruna Raghavan 

Correspondent, Primrose School, Pondicherry

Correspondent, Shikshayatan School, Arasavanangkadu, Tamil Nadu

chetan.jpg (57063 bytes) Most of us believe that geniuses are a very rare breed and only a few children are born with that potential. Not according to the Raghavans! "Many children have the potential of developing genius," according to them. "Every child has far more potential than comes to the surface under normal circumstances. The secret is to create conditions that enable the child to discover and express their full potential."
"Young children have an incredible capacity for learning," says Aruna Raghavan. "They can learn to read multiple languages with ease at a very young age, even before entering school. They can imbibe a wide range of general knowledge just as a form of recreation." Her husband Raghavan adds, "Children can learn at least twice as fast as they normally do in traditional schools without homework, cramming or strain of any type. Learning can be fun for the kids and a way for parents to relate to them positively."

 

The birth of their daughter, Niru, made them search for new methods. They stumbled on the techniques developed by Dr Glenn Doman in the USA, combined them with ideas on education taught by The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and found they worked miraculously with their own child, who began reading voraciously and learning on her own at a very young age.

Doman concluded that the first six years of life are a time when children learn naturally, spontaneously, effortlessly and joyously - as a form of play - and that the more opportunities the child has for learning during this period, the more rapidly he learns and the greater his capacities for learning. The younger the child, the greater the capacity to learn. Every child's natural ability to learn far exceeds what we are tapping, because of the deficiency in our teaching methods. Our present educational methods tap and develop only a very small portion (at best 5%) of human capacity. Each child is a potential genius, with unique capacities. The system should be capable of recognizing this and drawing it out. The programmes are propagated to begin with three week babies and go on till the child is five years. By then, the child was well into reading books beyond his level. But it is understood that the figures may vary.

The Raghavans are not just talking through their hats. They are working practically applying advanced methods of early childhood education to help normal children develop their fully innate potential. Aruna and her husband first became interested in early childhood education in the late 1980s while living in Mumbai. She was a secondary school teacher. He was a Chartered Accountant with a highly successful computer software consulting business.

Eight years ago the Raghavans left Mumbai to set up their own school at Arasavanangkadu village near Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu. Three years ago Aruna guided the launch of Primrose School in Pondicherry and several others since then. All the schools are applying the same basic approach. "The methods we apply in our schools enable even average children to perform way above average, to acquire self-confidence and individuality."

Hieronder 12 praktische artikelen over de Glenn Doman methode op de scholen. 

1. Reading without Being Taught

"And please bring Nirupama with you." That was an invitation to meet Shri C. Subramaniam when he was the Governor of Maharashtra.

Nirupama was our three and a half year old who was taught by us at home : to read and to do math. And through stories, play acting and experiments we also taught history, geography and sciences. Shri Subramaniam had heard of our 'home school' and was desirous of seeing the results. Giving us a few minutes to settle ourselves, he asked Nirupama if she would read for him. Sure. So he picked up The Times of India with headlines that ran 'Queen agrees to pay tax.' She read the headlines and the first para. He then asked her if she knew what tax meant?

"Tax means giving money to the government."

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2. Reading - How Your Child Progresses

Last week we began with a very simple reading program. We continue with it this week. But first :

When we found that Nirupama could read effortlessly, we began with her writing. We found a miracle : she made no mistakes in her spelling. We took on children who had 'spelling problems', and they began to do well too. Why? The answer lay in the method.

Doman is not concerned about which language is taught. Heis concerned with training and honing the skills of reading. The eye and the ear have to be perfected. The eye has to learn to distingush one word from another. That is what reading is all about. The ear has to learn to distinguish sounds and that is what hearing is all about.

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3. Teaching Babies to Read

For two weeks now, I have been talking about our personal experience with teaching our own child and how we use the method with other children. The question that the reader has is: can I teach mine? So, here is an easy step by step programme for your child. The programme holds good for any child who does not go to school or does not know the letters of the language. So, you could begin with a babe 10 months up to 3 years. The rules and application are the same irrespective of the age.

It is always best that Nuran knows a word in context before she is shown the card. If she does not know an ostrich, it is best she is shown pictures of ostrich, before she is shown the word card 'ostrich'. Unfamiliar words leave children cold and inattentive.

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4. Teaching the Five Senses

On his own, without interference from the adults around. A lady told him with great pride that she had not taught her 5 year old anything. The philosopher said, "Madam, you have wasted five years; go home immediately and start teaching your child."

Probably what the philosopher meant was that we ensure that we do not pass on our own likes, dislikes, prejudices and fears to our child. But certainly teach we must. And what do we teach a child less than five?

In the preceding columns here, we have discussed reading methodologies. There is a stage of readiness that a child goes through before he begins. We teach him to use his five senses; to use them well and correctly so that they, in turn, report – developing his intelligence. The more the number of senses used to 'understand' the more complete the learning.

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5. Reading to your child

If reading is a pleasure, reading out aloud is an art. First, there is the choice of material. It should be of great interest to the listener. But more so the book should interest the person who reads aloud. Reading aloud to a child is a pleasurable albeit arduous task. You have to read and reread the book until either the book or you fall apart. You have to read it with the same enthusiasm and fun as you did the first time. And it is no use trying to skip a page or line. I know a mother, wanting to get it over with, skipped two lines of a book. The child cried for two hours. She was exhausted trying to assure her child that she did love the book, that she loved him!. So, when you choose a book, ensure you will love reading it a few million times. What kind of books should they be? Simple stories , word books or information books.

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6. The Beauty of Words

Every language is rich because man is constantly amazed by what he sees around him. It is a hard task to coin words to match the beauty in front. Yet, has man found words. And those words are the adjectives. To teach a child to see the wonder is not enough. It is equally important that we give him the words to express himself. So, we talk to him about adjectives.

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7. Integrate learning

At school here we had Kanimozhi, a precocious child of four and a first generation literate. She learnt with her whole being', giving her a unique prodigious 'memory'. She was like a bird – eager and chirpy. In a few months she outstripped her classmates. It is always interesting to know what makes one better than another in any given field. And so, we began studying her.

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8. Physical Education

Education can be seen as a sum total of four parts : the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. Of them all, the physical is the youngest and the most basic. Physical education is also perhaps the most neglected. So today, I take up two aspects of physical education : hygiene and health.

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9. Poetry and your child

We are all Pygmalions. We like to make, remake, put our heads to a side, shake it and re remake our children. The perfect child is always the neighbour's until it lives with us for a week! If our child loves the rain, then we like dry weather; if our child loves to feel the squelch of freshly watered garden then we like the clean cemented drive way; if we like to drink from the cup he likes to watch the bubble disappear as he slurps from the saucer. In short, our children are a trial to us. Luckily, nobody asks a kid who his trial is. No wonder too. Because, even if not willingly, out of obedience he walks on the cement, but neither for fun nor for love do we ever walk on squelchy mud.

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10. Emotional Growth

Learning is emotional maturing. And learning is not to be confused with going to school!

At best, school stimulates a child intellectually. School provides a child with a knowledge of the world he lives in. That is what 'subjects' are all about. If in geography he is taught about the physical factors that go to make up the planet, in physics he is taught the laws by which the planet abides. If in biology he is taught how life forms, he is taught chemistry to understand the relationship between life forms. (At least that is what 'subjects' are meant to do.) The child's information of the world grows. This is an intellectual stimulation. If teaching stops here, the child comes out without being equipped to understand.

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11. Teaching Science to your child

Some of the best things in life have been given the impossible title 'physics'; and having given them that, we assiduously try to forget they exist. Yet, children discover most of the laws of nature and with great joy. Some of the best things in life begin 'Once upon a time'. Here's a story that you might like to tell your child. Nothing like a story to kindle interest !

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12. Evaluation without Exams

In our schools we have no exams. And every one I meet asks the same questions. How do you mark your children? By percentage? By grades? Do you have unit tests? How do you average at the end of the year? And when I say we have no formal evaluation they look wild with worry. How can you know your children are doing well?, they ask. Often I am tempted to tell them that they don't need their mothers in law to evaluate their daily cooking. Surely the joy with which the family eats and their health are proof enough. However, since analogy as a style of speech has gone out of fashion, I take them through the process.

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