Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Melissa Maria, Principal, Global Indian International School, SMART Campus Singapore as a guest contributor at Womenlines! Melissa has shared her insightful thoughts on how responsive teaching can ease out nuances of school hopping-
My friend’s 7-year old nephew just started his new school after migrating to an African country. After being holed up at home in India for nearly two years, he finally got the chance to experience physical schooling. To her relief, the child took very well to the new environment. Instead of spending hours in front of his computer playing games, he started enjoying outdoor sports and borrowing library books to read.
New faces, new friends and new ways of doing things did not deter him at all. In fact, his teacher said he was much better than his classmate who is so shy, that she chooses to sit, eat and play by herself. I was pleasantly surprised at the nephew’s behaviour and wished that more children develop an attitude like that. But, this is a rare and unique case.
Many children find themselves changing schools mostly due to the job demands of their parents. They are uprooted from their home ground and replanted in new soils and expected to flourish almost immediately.
But, for the children, it’s not that easy. School hopping often sends students deeper into a shell of self-doubt and self-conscious behaviour which makes it really hard for them to find their footing. A new environment leads to demands of adjustment which may be too much for a child to manoeuvre. This is where the teachers need to step in. As the first point of contact for the child, teachers need to be sensitive to the child’s needs and show an immense depth of understanding. Kudos to the teacher who is willing to let the shy girl take her time to adjust to her new surroundings, rather than pushing her to mingle.
On the other hand, kudos also to her for allowing my friend’s nephew to spread his wings and fly, explore newer grounds and try out new things. But, apart from accommodating their personalities, teachers and schools can also go the extra mile to let the child blend in the new environment. They can assign a buddy to new students, who will show them around, help them get acquainted as well as catch up on their syllabus.
Teachers can observe the child and customise the learning process to suit their behaviour – assign more or less homework depending on the learning speed of the child, or encourage them to participate in activities outside the classroom, based on their interests. Most importantly, teachers can be patient and sensitive to the child’s needs, and allow them to take their time to begin the new academic journey.
This will definitely allow children to feel less intimidated by the changed scenario, adjust better to a new culture and develop an open and accepting attitude. Parents can also show the same support to give the child space and time to grow.
As adults, we need to make them feel safe. Allowing them time to blossom, and encouraging their attempts at adjustment with positive reinforcement, is the best support we can give them.
Principal, GIIS-SMART Campus, Singapore
Educator| Award winner| Experienced traveller|
Animal lover| Passionate Dancer|Interest in Organic gardening
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