I was teaching Surface areas and Volumes to a 10th-grade student yesterday. Even though she was clear with concepts when we got into solving problems, she was in trouble. Her problems in English once again proved spoilsport. She was not able to interpret the given question and apply it mathematically. This was a recurring theme in her studies. As a Science and Maths teacher, this was not new territory for me. I have seen numerous students suffer because of their deficiencies in English. This is a reminder for all of us. The Language skills that students learn in their primary grades should be given utmost importance. Language skills like writing, reading, and speaking English are a basic requirement for all the other subjects.
Everyone knows about the technological dominance of today’s world. Employment is no different. Technologically skilled people have a better monetary proposition in front of them. This gives the wrong notion to parents about the absolute importance of Science and Maths neglecting other subjects. The selection criteria for Engineering and Science Degrees also don’t consider English skills (at least in India) as a criterion. I feel this must be changed. Moreover, Students cannot excel in their technological dreams unless their English skills are accounted for. Parents need to take the English Language of their children seriously.
Learn it the fun way
I was a suburban guy during my school days. I had educated parents, fortunately. My father would read English newspapers daily. I used to read the sports section of the newspaper and keep it aside. After some time, I started the entertainment section. Only when I entered college life, I started browsing through the entire newspaper. But this habit put me in a good position when I entered the job market. Additionally, I was fond of cricket commentaries. I listened to their description of match situations and gained vocabulary. So, a lot of English learning happened outside the classroom. Later on, I started reading novels. I added non-fiction to my kitty a decade back. Looking back, the starting point was the sports section in daily newspapers. Small start, big result!
Reading can be a stress buster
Parents can help students read based on their interests. Subscribe to magazines of their interest. One will be surprised to see the impact of reading on writing and speaking. Writing will improve as they read regularly. Grammar will fall in place. Students can explore new areas through reading, which may at times, lead to their career paths. Developing reading habits early in life can teach nuances of communication. It’s an art form. In today’s fast-paced world for children, reading about their topic of choice can provide happiness and much-needed breathing time.
A double-shot for Parents
Reading allows you to learn, unknowingly. Reading allows you to chill out. Reading allows you to explore different worlds. Encouraging non-academic reading on a regular basis can produce life-long tangible and intangible benefits for students.