How to deal with phobia?
Phobia begins when students are subjected to structured learning L Shailaja Kumar It is said that phobia is an exaggerated version of fear....
Phobia begins when students are subjected to structured learning L Shailaja Kumar It is said that phobia is an exaggerated version of fear. It goes so deep into the system that sometimes it becomes root cause of problems. If dealt with the right way, there is a way out of this 'unfound' fear which remains a nuisance to some and hindrance to most, especially students. Young Hans spoke to various experts and seers to trace the origin of this annoying problem and came out with valuable and worthwhile solutions. Veena Raizada, an innovative educator and teacher trainer, says these phobias for learning itself may begin early in life if young children at the tender age are subjected to structured learning. It turns to get worse when it is linked to assessment for performance. Having served as a Principal for reputed chain of schools for several years she says, admission times, especially for Nursery, is where the seeds of fear are sown. She says enthusiastic parents are eager to demonstrate their children's skills like read, write etc. Competing play schools also add to this by showing off the syllabi covered at kindergarten level, where the focus needs to be on 'joyous learning'. Tulsi, another teacher cum Primary Education expert says competition is something which suppresses and even nips off creativity of the child. This information which remains a burden in their minds is one of the prime reasons for them resisting school. Naturally when someone is forced to do anything against their will, fear and adamant attitude become visible by-products. The most valuable sacrifice one makes here is skills. Savita, an ISC teacher says phobias are subject specific too. Often Mathematics remains a phobia not only for students for parent too. "I often hear parents say, I was very scared of Math as a student, may be my son inherited this? This cannot be ruled out entirely but it is not irreversible either, but it is the fear which parent passes on unknowingly to the child. This works the other way round too; some parents are brilliant in the subject and create that passion in the children too. It is not surprising to see a Math teacher's kids taking to the subject like fish to water". "I have known excellent teachers who turn around fear into love, which are anyway two sides of a coin. Even at plus two stage I have often seen students learning concepts very easily with practical approach" But in general, Mathematics exams are seen as stressful for all. Physics and accounts are other subjects treated as same, says Veena, who sets challenging questions that test the 'logical' half of the brain. For those who have caught this and really 'exercised' their brain Math is genuine fun, but for those who haven't event looked at it with love, it stays away! Veena says gender labels to subjects always baffled her as a student, teacher and principal. "Girls can't do Physics and Mathematics" I was told when I opted for science at school level and going for Physics (Hon) at graduation level was seen as a bold step.(1971). And going for Masters in Physics was a huge appreciation. The situation hasn't changed much since then. "My professional (teaching) career experience as the only female faculty member of Physics even in best of schools has been unique in itself" Sunitha, a child psychiatrist, says there are mild to extreme cases that come to her, most of which are related to exams and performance. One such incident which she can recall is the case of an eight year old, who could not memorise multiplication tables, hence chose to fall sick on the day of Math exam. After many counselling sessions she says numbers scare her because the teacher always used to start the class with, "If you do not pay attention to the class now you will become dull like Shubha (name changed)". Thus, unpleasant experiences at school or even at home can shatter a child's confidence for learning or even for any subject. The second part of the article will be published in next week.