Today’s age of disruptive technology, and its abusive use by children, is creating a pressure of constantly performing well, which is leading to increased stress levels among schoolchildren. (Recently, a 23-year-old student committed suicide in Mumbai and posted the act on Facebook Live.) Here, educational institutions, especially schools, can play an important role in tackling the issue of hypertension and stress by creating stress-free learning environments.
Apart from their regular job of teaching, teachers must act as facilitators who can help students open up about their problems and concerns. Teachers should also engage in unbiased interactions with students. This helps in detecting the issues, if any, before these aggravate.
For example, the daily lesson plan can be designed in a way that it is interactive and engaging. Assignments need to be relatable and interesting for the little ones. Project-based learning can help boost creative thinking among students and innovative teaching methodologies can be introduced to promote out-of-the-box thinking.
Often we forget it, but physical fitness is an important requisite for today’s fast-paced life, and if one is physically healthy, achieving mental fitness becomes easier. There is a need to encourage children to play a sport of their choice which can make them learn sportsmanship and also make them mentally strong. Hobby clubs can act as recreation centres to engage children in activities that interest them the most. Activities like creating sculptures, community services like helping the underprivileged, spending time at old-age homes, etc, can have a tremendous humbling impact on students.
Workshops on acts of kindness, ethics and discipline should be organised to help students develop finer sensitivities in early childhood. Schools should hold parenting sessions on anger management, gender equality and sensitising the society to the needs of a girl child, how to motivate children before exams and reduce stress. Special sessions should be designed for the students on topics like teenage issues, exam preparedness and community consciousness.
The author is co-founder & executive chairman, Global Indian International School (Singapore)