Nurturing an Enabling Environment


Nurturing an Enabling Environment: As public spaces, schools must be marked by the values of equality, social justice and respect for di...

Nurturing an Enabling Environment:

As public spaces, schools must be marked by the values of equality, social justice and respect for diversity, as well as of the dignity and rights of children. These values must be consciously made part of the perspective of the school and form the foundation of school practice. An enabling learning environment is one where children feel secure, where there is absence of fear, and which is governed by relationships of equality and equity. Often this does not require any special effort on the part of the teacher, except to practise equality and not discriminate among children. Teachers should also nurture their classroom spaces as places where children can ask questions freely, engaging in a dialogue with the teacher as well as their peers, during an ongoing lesson. Unless they can share their related experiences, clarify their doubts and ask questions, they will not engage with learning. If, instead of ignoring children’s comments or sealing their tongues with strict rules of silence and restrictions on the language to be used, teachers encourage children to talk, they would find that the classroom is a more lively place and that teaching is not predictable and boring, but rather an adventure of interacting minds. Such an environment will facilitate the self-confidence and self-esteem of learners of all ages; it will also go a long way in improving the quality of learning itself. 

 Teachers and children are part of the larger society where identities based on membership of caste, gender, religious and linguistic group, as well as economic status inform social interaction, though this varies in different social, cultural and regional contexts. SC and ST communities, members of minority groups, and women are usually placed in situations of disadvantage because of their identities, and are denied equal access to valued resources in society and participation in different institutions. Research on school processes suggests that identities of children continue to influence their treatment within schools, thereby denying them meaningful and equal opportunities to learn. As part of the experience of schooling, children also receive implicit messages through interpersonal relations, teacher attitudes, and norms and values that are part of the culture of the school. These often reinforce notions of purity and pollution in relation to social hierarchies, desirable qualities of ‘masculinity’ and ‘feminity’, and privilege in certain ways of living, mainly that of the urban middle class, while rendering all others invisible. Children belonging to SC and ST groups, and other socially discriminated against groups such as sex workers and parents with HIV, are often subjected to demeaning treatment in the classroom, not only by teachers but also by their peers. Girls are often subject to stereotypical expectations based on notions of their future roles as wives and mothers rather than enabling them to develop their capabilities and claim their rights. Children with disability often confront insensitive environments where their needs are completely ignored. Schools must be conscious of the importance of creating equitable classroom environments in which students are not subjected to unfair treatment and denied opportunities on the basis of their sex or membership of a caste, tribe or minority group. On the other hand, the culture of the school must be one that highlights the students, identities as ‘learners’ and creates an environment that enhances the potential and interests of each child.

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CLEAR CTET: Nurturing an Enabling Environment
Nurturing an Enabling Environment
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