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CTET Social Science (SST) Pedagogy Study Notes

SST Pedagogy
Proposed Epistemological Frame
SST Pedagogy
Planning the Curriculum
SST Pedagogy
Approaches to Pedagogy & Resources
SST Pedagogy
Art Education
SST Pedagogy
Health & Physical Education
SST Pedagogy
Work & Education
SST Pedagogy
Education & Peace
SST Pedagogy
Habitat & Learning
SST Pedagogy
Schemes of Study & Assessment

Social Science

The social sciences encompass diverse concerns of society, and include a wide range of content drawn from the disciplines of History, geography, political science, economics, sociology and anthropology. Social Science perspectives and knowledge are indispensable to building the knowledge base for a just and peaceful society. The content should aim at raising students' awareness through critically exploring and questioning of familiar social reality.The possibilities of including new dimensions and concerns, especially in view of students' own life experiences, are considerable. Selecting and organising material into a meaningful curriculum, one that will enable students to develop a critical understanding of society, is therefore a challenging task.

Because the social sciences tend to be considered non-utility subjects and are given less importance than the natural sciences, it is necessary to emphasize that they provide the social, cultural, and analytical skills required to adjust to an increasingly interdependent world, and to deal with political and economic realities.

It is believed that the social sciences merely transmit information and are text centred. Therefore, the content needs to focus on a conceptual understanding rather lining up facts to be memorised for examinations. Reiterating the recommendations of 'Learning Without Burden (1993), emphasis has to be laid on developing concepts and the ability to analyse socio- political realities rather than on the mere retention of information without comprehension.

There is also a perception that not many career options are open to students specialising in the social sciences. On the contrary, the social sciences are becoming increasingly relevant for jobs in the rapidly expanding service sector, and also in developing skills of analysis and creativity.

In a pluralistic society like ours, it is important that all regions and social groups be able to relate to the textbooks. Relevant local content should be part of the teaching-learning process, ideally transacted through activities drawing on local resources.

It is also necessary to recognize that the social sciences lend themselves to scientific inquiry just as much as the natural and physical sciences do, as well as to indicate ways in which the methods employed by the social sciences are distinct (but in no way inferior to those of the natural and physical sciences).

The social sciences carry a normative responsibility of creating a strong sense of human values, namely, freedom, trust, mutual respect, and respect for diversity. Social science teaching should aim at generating in students a critical moral and mental energy, making them alert to the social forces that threaten these values.

The disciplines that make up the social sciences, namely, History, geography, political science, and economics, have distinct methodologies that often justify the retaining of boundaries. At the same time, cross disciplinary approaches that are possible should also be indicated. For an enabling curriculum, certain themes that facilitate interdisciplinary thinking need to be incorporated.



The Proposed Epistemological Frame

Based on the above considerations of popular perceptions, and the issues to be addressed in the study of the social sciences, the National Focus Group on the Teaching of the Social Sciences proposes that the following points be treated as basic for the revised syllabi. (Textbooks themselves should be seen as opening up avenues for further enquiry, and students should be encouraged to go beyond the textbook to further reading and observaion.)

As pointed out by the Kothari Commission, the social science curriculum hitherto emphasized developmental issues. These are important but not sufficient for understanding the normative dimension, like issues of equality, justice, and dignity in society and polity. The role of individuals in contributing to this 'development' has often been overemphasized. An epistemological shift is suggested so as to accommodate the multiple ways of imagining the Indian nation. The national perspective needs to be balanced with reference to the local. At the same time, Indian History should not be taught in isolation, and there should be reference to developments in other parts of the world.

It is suggested that instead of Civics, the term Political Science be used. Civics appeared in the Indian school curriculum in the colonial period against the background of increasing 'disloyalty' among Indians towards the Raj. Emphasis on obedience and loyalty were the key features of Civics. Political Science treats civil society as the sphere that produces sensitive, interrogative, deliberative, and transformative citizens.

Gender concerns need to be addressed in terms of making the perspectives of women integral to the discussion of any historical event and contemporary concerns. This requires an epistemic shift from the patriarchal preconceptions that inform much of the social studies at present.

The concerns related to the health of children, and also those related to social aspects of changes and developments occurring in them during adolescence like changing relationships with parents, peer group, the opposite sex and the adult world in general, need to be addressed appropriately. The responses to the health needs of children and adolescents/youth through policies and programs at different levels are closely related elements of these concerns.

The concept of human rights has a universal frame of reference. It is imperative that children are introduced to universal values in a manner appropriate for their age. Reference to day-to-day issues, e.g. the problem of getting water, can be discussed so that young students become aware of issues related to human dignity and rights.



Planning The Curriculum

For the primary grades, the natural and the social environment will be explained as integral parts of languages and mathematics. Children should be engaged in activities to understand the environment through illustrations from the physical, biological, social, and cultural spheres. The language used should be gender sensitive. Teaching methods should be in a participative and discussion-oriented mode

For Classes III to V, the subject Environment Studies (EVS) will be introduced. In the study of the natural environment, emphasis will be on its preservation and the urgency of saving it from degradation. Children will also begin to be sensitised to social issues like poverty, child labour, illiteracy, caste and class inequalities in rural and urban areas. The content should reflect the day-to-day experiences of children and their life worlds.

At the upper primary stage, Social Studies will draw its content from History, geography, political science and economics. History will take into account developments in different parts of India, with sections on events or developments in other parts of the world. Geography can help develop a balanced perspective related to issues concerning the environment, resources and development at different levels, from local to global. In Political Science, students will be introduced to the formation and functioning of governments at local, state, and central levels and the democratic processes of participation. The economics component will enable students to obser ve economic institutions like the family, the market and the state. There will also be a section that will indicate a multidisciplinary approach to these themes.

At the secondary stage, the Social Sciences comprise History, geography, sociology, political science and economics. The focus will be on Contemporary India, and the learner will be initiated into a deeper understanding of the social and economic challenges facing the nation. In keeping with the epistemic shift proposed, these will be discussed from multiple perspectives, including those of the SC and ST and disenfranchised populations. Efforts should be made to relate the content as much as possible to the children's everyday lives. In History, India's freedom movement and other aspects of its modern History can be studied, as well as significant developments in other parts of the world. History should be taught with the intent of enabling students better understand their own world and their own identities came into being as shaped by a rich and varied past. History should now help them discover processes of change and continuity in their world, and to compare ways in which power and control were and are exercised. Geography should be taught keeping in mind the need to inculcate in the child a critical appreciation for conservation and environmental concerns along with developmental issues. In Political Science, the focus should be on discussing the philosophical foundations that underlie the value framework of the Indian Constitution, i.e. in-depth discussion of equality, liberty, justice, fraternity, secularism, dignity, plurality, and freedom from exploitation. As the discipline of Economics is being introduced to the child at this level, it is important that the topics should be discussed from the perspective of the people.

The higher secondary stage is important as it offers a choice of subjects to students. For some students, this stage may be the end of their formal education, leading to the world of work and employment; for others, the foundation for higher education. They may choose either specialised academic courses or job-oriented vocational courses. The foundation at this stage should equip them with basic knowledge and the necessary skills to make a meaningful contribution in the field they choose. A range of courses from the social sciences and commerce may be offered, and students may exercise their choice. Subjects need not be grouped into separate 'streams', and students should have the freedom to opt for subjects or courses according to their need, interest and aptitude. The social sciences will include disciplines like political science, geography, History, economics, sociology and psychology. Commerce may include business studies and accountancy.



Approaches to Pedagogy and Resources

Social science teaching needs to be revitalised for helping the learner acquire knowledge and skills in an interactive environment. The teaching of the social sciences must adopt methods that promote creativity, aesthetics, and critical perspectives, and enable children to draw relationships between past and present, to understand changes taking place in society. Problem solving, dramatisation and role play are some hitherto underexplored strategies that could be employed. Teaching should utilise greater resources of audio-visual materials, including photographs, charts and maps, and replicas of archaeological and material cultures.

In order to make the process of learning participative, there is a need to shift from mere imparting of information to debate and discussion. This approach to learning will keep both the learner and the teacher alive to social realities.

Concepts should be clarified to students through the lived experiences of individuals and communities. It has often been observed that cultural, social and class differences generate their own biases, prejudices and attitudes in classroom contexts. The approach to teaching therefore needs to be open-ended. Teachers should discuss different dimensions of social reality in the class, and work towards creating increasing self-awareness amongst themselves and the learners.



Art Education

For decades now, the importance of the arts in the education system has been repeatedly debated, discussed and recommended, but without much progress in this direction. The need to integrate art education in the formal schooling of our students now requires urgent attention if we are to retain our unique cultural identity in all its diversity and richness. Far from encouraging the pursuit of the arts, our education system has steadily discouraged young students and creative minds from taking to the arts or, at best, permits them to consider the arts to be 'useful hobbies' and 'leisure activities'. The arts are reduced to tools for enhancing the prestige of the school on occasions like Independence Day, Founder's Day, Annual Day, or during an inspection of the school's progress and working. Before or after that, the arts are abandoned for the better part of a child's school life, and the student is headed towards subjects that are perceived as being more worthy of attention. General awareness of the arts is also ebbing steadily among not just students, but also their guardians, teachers and even among policy makers and educationists.

Schools and school authorities encourage the arts of a superficial and popular nature and take pride in putting up events that showcase song and dance performances and plays that may entertain, but have little aesthetic quality. We can no long er afford to ignore the importance of the arts and must concentrate all possible energies and resources towards nurturing artistic capabilities and creating cultural and artistic awareness amongst the students of the vast and varied cultural inheritance we have. The arts in India are living examples of the country's secular fabric and cultural diversity. They include a variety of folk and classical forms of music and dance, theatre, puppetry, clay work, visual arts, and crafts from every region of India. Learning any of these arts would enrich the lives of our young citizens, not only in their school years but also throughout their lives.

The arts, visual and performing, need to become an important component of learning in the curriculum. Children must develop skills and abilities in these areas, and not treat these as a mere entertaining fringe. Through the arts curriculum students must be introduced to the rich and varied artistic traditions of the country. Arts education must become both a tool and a subject taught in every school as a compulsory subject (up to Class X), and facilities for the same may be provided in every school. All the four main streams covered by the term the arts, i.e. music, dance, visual arts and theatre, should be included. Awareness also needs to be built among parents and guardians, school authorities and administrators regarding the importance of the arts. Emphasis should be given to learning rather than teaching, and the approach should be participa tory, interactive, and experiential rather than instructive.Throughout the years of school, during all stages, the mediums and for ms of art allow childr en to develop both a playful as well as a disciplined exploration of themselves and diverse materials, and allows them to experiment with many forms of expression. Music, dance and theatre all contribute to the development of the self, both cognitive and social. The importance of such experiences during the pre-primary and primary school years cannot be overemphasised.

Language, exploration of nature, and an understanding of the self and others can all be experientially learnt and understood by children through various art forms. By their very nature, the art forms allow all children to participate.

Resources for the integration of the arts and heritage crafts should be available in every school. Thus, it is important that the curriculum provide adequate time for a range of art activities. Block periods of about one hour to one and half hours are necessary, especially where theatre, dance, and clay work are involved. The emphasis should not be on attaining some adult standards or notions of 'perfect art', but on supporting the child's own expression and style through exposure to material, skills and technique, but without overemphasising them. Over the years, teachers would help children to move towards formulating and executing their own art projects independently with dedication and persistence, while cultivating a sense of aesthetic quality and excellence.

In the secondary and higher secondary school stages, the art curriculum may allow children to specialise in some areas of their interest. Along with learning the skills and practising them, children could also at this stage learn about the theory of art and aesthetic experience, which could deepen their appreciation and also help them understand the significance of this area of knowledge. Discussions about popular cultural art forms, different kinds of art traditions (cultural differences) and creativity would also provide them with a perspective on the variety of forms and the development of 'taste'. It is important, therefore, that the curriculum not be biased and judgemental about high or low forms of culture, nor treat classical and folk art forms differently. It would also prepare those who wish to choose an art form for specialised study during the +2 stage, or even consider pursuing a career in the arts.

More resource material on arts education should be made available for arts education teachers. Teacher education and orientation must include a significant component that will enable teachers to include arts education efficiently and creatively. In addition, more Bal Bhavans, which have played an important role in the urbanscape, should be established at district headquarters, and eventually at all block centres as well. These would facilitate the additional teaching of arts and crafts activities, and provide opportunities for children to learn these at first hand.



Health & Physical Education

It is widely acknowledged that health is influenced by biological, social, economic, cultural and political forces. Access to basic needs like food, safe drinking water supply, housing, sanitation and health services influences the health status of a population, and these are reflected through mortality and nutritional indicator s. Health is a critical input for the overall development of the child, and it influences enrolment, retention and school completion rates significantly. This curriculum area adopts a holistic definition of health within which physical education and yoga contribute to the physical, social, emotional and mental development of a child. Undernourishment and communicable diseases are the major health problems faced by the majority of children in India, from the pre-primary to the higher secondary school stages. Therefore, the need to address this aspect at all levels of schooling, with special attention to vulnerable social groups and girl children. It is proposed that the midday meal programme and medical

check-ups be made a part of the curriculum and education about health be provided that address the age- specific concerns at different stages of development. The idea of a comprehensive school health programme, conceived in the 1940s, included six major components, viz., medical care, hygienic school environment, and school lunch, health and physical education. These components are important for the overall development of the child, and hence need to be included in the curriculum. The more recent addition to the curriculum is yoga. The entire group must be taken together as a comprehensive health and physical education curriculum, replacing the fragmentary approach current in schools today. As a core part of the curriculum, time allocated for games and for yoga must not be reduced or taken away under any circumstances.

There is growing realisation that the health needs of adolescents, particularly their reproductive and sexual health needs, require to be addressed. Since these needs predominantly relate to sex and sexuality, which is culturally a very sensitive area, they are deprived of opportunities to get the appropriate information. As such, their understanding of reproductive and sexual health and their behaviour in this regard are guided predominantly by myths and misconceptions, making them vulnerable to risky situations, such as drug/substance abuse and HIV/ AIDS transmission. Age- appropriate context-specific interventions focused on adolescent reproductive and sexual health concerns, including HIV/AIDS and drug/ substance abuse, therefore, are needed to provide children opportunities to construct knowledge and acquire life skills, so that they cope with concerns related to the process of growing up.

Strategies

Given the multidimensional nature of health, there are many opportunities for cross-curricular learning and integration. Activities such as the National Service Scheme, Bharat Scouts and Guides, and the National Cadet Corps are some such areas. The sciences provide opportunities for learning about physiology, health and disease, and the interdependencies between various living organisms and the physical habitat. The social sciences could provide insights into community health as well as an understanding of the spread, control and cure of infectious diseases from a global socio-economic perspective. This subject lends itself to applied learning, and innovative approaches can be adopted for transacting the curriculum.

The importance of this subject to overall development needs to be reinforced at the policy level, with participation by administrators, other subject teachers in schools, the Health Department, parents and children. Recognising this subject as a core subject Health and Physical Education must continue to be a compulsory subject from the primary, to the secondary stages, and as an optional subject at the higher secondary stage. However, it needs to be given equal status with other subjects, a status that is not being given at present. In order to transact the curriculum effectively, it is essential to ensure that the minimum essential physical space and equipment are available in every school, and that doctors and medical personnel visit school regularly. Teacher preparation for this area needs well-planned and concerted efforts. This subject area, consisting of health education, physical education and yoga, must be suitably integrated into the elementary and secondary pre-service teacher education courses. The potential of the existing physical education training institutes should be reviewed and utilised adequately. Similarly, their appropriate syllabi and teacher training for transaction of yoga in schools need to be reviewed and reformulated. It is also essential to ensure that these concerns are integrated into the activities of the National Service Scheme, the Scouts and Guides, and the National Cadet Corps.

The 'needs-based approach' could guide the dimensions of the physical, psychosocial and mental aspects that need to be included at different levels of schooling. A basic understanding of the concerns is necessary, but the more important dimension is that of experience and development of health, skills and physical well being through practical engagement with play, exercise, sports, and practices of personal and community hygiene. Collective and individual responsibilities for health and community living need to be emphasised. Several national health programmes like Reproductive and Child Health, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Mental Health have been targeting childr en as a focus group with prevention in view. These demands on children need to be integrated into existing curricular activities rather than adding these on.

Yoga may be introduced from the primary level onwards in informal ways, but formal introduction of yogic exercises should begin only from Class VI onwards. All interventions, including even health and hygiene education, must rely on the practical and experiential dimensions of children's lives. There may be more emphasis on the inclusion of sports and games from the local area.

It should be possible to organise the utilisation of school space, at the block level at least, for special sports programmes both before school hours and after school hours to enable children with special talents for sports to come here for special training and during vacation periods. It should also be possible to develop these sports facilities so that many more children can avail of these for leisure-time sports activities and engage with team games such as basketball, throwball, volleyball, and local forms of sports.



Work and Education

Work, understood simply, is an activity directed toward making or doing something. It also means making one’s work or capabilities, or both, available for someone else’s purposes for monetary or other forms of return. A number of these activities are related to producing food, articles of daily use, looking after the physical and mental well-being of people, and other activities related to the administration and organisation of society. In any society, in addition to these, two basic dimensions (producing goods and establishing smooth functioning), various other activities also contribute to human well-being, and in that sense are considered forms of work.

Understood in this sense, work implies a commitment to other members of the society and/or community as one is contributing one’s work and capabilities for fulfilling their needs. Second, it implies that one’s contribution made through work will be submitted to public standards of performance and hence will be valued and judged by others. Third, work implies contributing to the functioning of social life as it either produces something that makes life possible or helps in the functioning of society in general. Finally, work enriches human life as it opens up new dimensions of appreciation and enjoyment.

However, we must not forget that children are often socialised into discriminatory practices and values and that adults socialise children within the dominant socio-cultural paradigm. It is important to recognise that both adults and children are socialised in the same way. We also have to remember that work as forced labour is perhaps the most demeaning of all coercions. There have to be adequate measures in place to ensure that introduction of work as an integral part of the curriculum should never lead to a situation where work is thrust on unwilling children, or that the ‘work’ itself is a hindrance to the child’s education and normal growth and development. Routine and repetitive activity carried on for the sake of production or work that is associated with the division of labour based on caste and gender should be strictly avoided. Also, a teacher making children work without him/herself participating in the work is unlikely to achieve the objectives of integrating work with the curriculum. The inclusion of work within the school must also never be used as the justification for the exploitation of children.

Work is also an arena for learning for children, whether in the home, the school, the society or the workplace. Children begin to absorb the concept of work as early as the age of two years. Children imitate their elders and like pretending to do work. For example, it is not unusual to see very young children pretending to ‘sweep’ the floor, or ‘hold meetings’, or ‘build houses’, or ‘cook’. Work as an educational tool is used by many pedagogies. For example, the Montessori system integrates work concepts and skills from the very beginning. Cutting vegetables, cleaning the classroom, gardening and washing clothes are all a part of the learning cycle. Beneficial work that is in keeping with the child’s age and ability, and which contributes to the child’s normal growth and development, w hen introduced into children’s lives can serve to enable children to learn values, basic scientific concepts, skills and creative expression. Children gain an identity through work, and feel useful and productive as work adds meaning and brings with it membership to society and enables children to construct knowledge.

Through work one learns to find one’s place in society. It is an educational activity with an inherent potential for inclusion. Therefore, an experience of involvement in productive work in an educational setting should make one appreciate the worth of social life and what is valued and appreciated in society. Since work defines some achievable targets and creates a web of interdependence, it entails making efforts in a disciplined manner, thus creating possibilities for greater self-control, focusing mental energies and keeping emotions under check. The value of work, particularly skills that involve good finish, are undervalued as a means of achieving excellence and learning self-discipline. The discipline exercised by the material (say, clay or wood) is more effective and qualitatively different from the discipline exercised by one human being over another. Work involves interaction with materials or other people (mostly both), thus creating a deeper comprehension and increased practical knowledge of natural substances and social relationships. All this is in addition to the usual physical skills involved in learning a trade that may be turned into a means of earning a livelihood. The aspects of work mentioned here draw attention to the meaning-making and knowledge-construction dimension of work. This is the pedagogic function that work can play in the curriculum.

Benefits of this nature can be drawn from work only if it becomes an integral part of the school curriculum. Pursued in an academic setting, work carries the remarkable potential of generating new forms of creativity and understanding while opening up the possibility of transforming the nature of work itself. This has become even more essential as in a majority of families in India contributing to household work and family trade is a way of living, but this pattern is changing due to the pressure of school on children’s time and the rampant competition in memorisation of information. Academic activity tends to be imprisoned within disciplinary boundaries. When academic learning and work are simultaneously collocated, there is a chance of greater creativity in academic pursuits as also in the methods and tools of doing work. A synergetic enhancement can take over. That is how efficient hand pumps were designed. High-flying polythene balloons used to burst while going through the extremely cold stratosphere until a scientifically minded worker suggested that putting a little carbon powder in the fabric would help to keep it warm by absorbing sunlight. Indeed, all great inventors were tinkerers who knew a little science. Edison, Ford and Faraday belonged to this category, so also those who invented the first pair of spectacles or the telescope. There is little doubt that much of the traditional knowledge of our potters, craftsmen, weavers, farmers and medical men has come through such pursuits – where these individuals were simultaneously engaged in physical work and academic thinking. We need to infuse such a culture of innovation, curiosity and practical experience in our education system.

However, schools at present are not geared for work as a part of the curriculum in terms of infrastructure or learning material. Work is necessarily an interdisciplinary activity. Therefore, integrating work into the school curriculum would require a substantial amount of pedagogical understanding of how it would be integrated with learning and the mechanisms for assessment and evaluation.

Institutionalising work in the school curriculum will require creative and bold thinking that breaks out of its stereotyped location in periods of Socially Useful and Productive Work (SUPW), something about which all children and teachers are justifiably sceptical. We need to examine how the rich work knowledge base and skills of marginalised children can be turned into a source of their own dignity as well as a source of learning for other children. This is especially important in the context of the growing alienation of the middle-upper-class children from their cultural roots and the central role played by the education system in aggravating and accelerating this process. There is immense potential for utilising the knowledge base of the vast productive sections of society as a powerful means for transforming the education system. Work seen as a form of ‘valid’ knowledge allows one to re-examine the invisibility of the contributions of women and non-dominant groups to what is regarded as valuable in society. Productive work would need to find a place at the centre of the curriculum in order to act as a powerful corrective to the ‘bookish’, information-oriented and generally unchallenging character of school education and, in turn, help relate the latter to the life needs of the child. Pedagogical experience in using work would become an effective and critical developmental tool at different stages of childhood and adolescence. Thus, ‘work-centred education’ is different from vocational education.

The school curriculum from the pre-primary to the senior secondary stages should be reconstructed for realising the pedagogic potential of work as a pedagogic medium in knowledge acquisition, developing values and multiple-skill formation. As the child matures, there is a need for the curriculum to recognise the child’s need to be prepared for the world of work, and a work-centred pedagogy can be pursued with increasing complexity while always being enriched with the required flexibility and contextuality. A set of work-related generic competencies (basic, interpersonal and systemic) could be pursued at all stages of education. This includes critical thinking, transfer of learning, creativity, communication skills, aesthetics, work motivation, work ethic of collaborative functioning, and entrepreneurship-cum-social accountability. For this evaluation, parameters would also need to be redesigned. Without an effective and universal programme of work-centred education, it is unlikely that UEE (and later Universal Secondary Education too) would ever succeed.



Education for Peace

We live in an age of unprecedented levels of violence, with constant threats posed by intolerance, fanaticism, dispute and discordance. Ethical action, peace and welfare are facing new challenges. War and violence occur due to unresolved conflicts, though conflicts may not always lead to violence and war. Violence is one of the many possible responses to conflict. Non-violent conflict-resolution skills could be nurtured and applied constructively to disputes between the individuals, groups and nations. The space for peace education within the framework of National School Curriculum document is compellingly clear in the light of the escalating trends of, and taste for, violence globally, nationally and locally. Education is a significant dimension of the long-term process of building up peace – tolerance, justice, intercultural understanding and civic responsibility. However, education as practised in schools often promotes forms of violence, both real and symbolic. Under these circumstances, the need to reorient education and therefore the school curriculum takes priority. As a value, it cuts across all other curricular areas, and coincides with and complements the values emphasised therein. It is, therefore, a concern cutting across the curriculum and is the concern of all teachers.

Education for peace seeks to nurture ethical development, inclucating the values, attitudes and skills required for living in harmony with oneself and with others, including nature. It embodies the joy of living and personality development with the qualities of love, hope and courage. It encompasses respect for human rights, justice, tolerance, cooperation, social responsibility, and respect for cultural diversity, in addition to a firm commitment to democracy and non-violent conflict resolution. Social justice is an important aspect of peace education. The concern for equality and social justice, which refers to practising non-exploitation towards the have-nots, the poor and the underprivileged and creating a non-violent social system, is the hallmark of education for peace. Similarly, human rights are central to the concept of peace. Peace cannot prevail if the rights of individuals are violated. Basic to human rights are the values of non-discrimination and equality, which contribute to building a culture of peace in society. These issues are inter related. Peace education is thus a host of overlapping values.

Peace education must be a concern that permeates the entire school life – curriculum, co-curriculum, classroom environment, school management, teacher-pupil relationship, teaching-learning processes, and the entire range of school activities. Hence, it is important to examine the curriculum and examination system from the point of view of how they may contribute to childr en's sense of inadequacy, frustration, impatience and insecurity. Also, the need to consciously counter the negative influence of the increasing violence around them, and its representation in the media, on the minds of children, and in its place promote a reflective engagement with more meaningful aspects of living an ethical and peaceful life. Education in the true sense should empower individuals to clarify their values; to enable them to take conscious and deliberate decisions, taking into consideration the consequences of their actions; to choose the way of peace rather than violence; to enable them to be makers of peace rather than only consumers of peace.

Strategies

Ethical development does not mean the imposition of do's and don'ts. Rather it calls for devising means and ways of helping children learn to make choices and decide what is right, what is kind, and what is best for the common good, keeping in view the broader implications for personal and social values.

Children can understand almost everything they hear and see, but are often not able to reconcile contradictions between what is said and what is done. Even a minor disagreement at home can affect children very deeply. A state of permanent disaffection amongst the elders in the house or a disintegrating relationship between parents creates the kind of incalculable fear and depression that is often manifested as aggression a few years later in early youth. There is a need to bring parents and teachers together for more than only academic purposes. The responsibility of development of personal ethics does not rest solely with either parents or with the school.

Ethical development follows different patterns characterising different age groups. During the primary years, children are still exploring their immediate environment and developing a consciousness of their own self. Their behaviour revolves around avoiding punishment and seeking rewards. They form notions of good and bad, right and wrong depending upon what is approved or disapproved by their elders. At this stage, what they see in the behaviour and action of adults prompts them to construct their own understanding of ethical behaviour.

As children grow older, their reasoning capabilities develop. However, they are still not mature enough to question assumptions and norms. Inspired by the need to impress others and validate their self-image as strong and capable individuals, they tend to violate rules. At this stage, facilitating reflection on the basis of rules and norms, restrictions, constraints, duties and obligations, etc., through discussion and dialogue, produces insights into the linkage between the collective good, the value of restraint, sacrifice, compassion, etc., which constitute the moral ways of being.

Still later, as abstract thinking is fully developed, individuals can make well-reasoned judgements about what constitutes ethical behaviour. This may lead to the acceptance and internalisation of ethical principles, which then can be sustained in the long run. Even in the absence of an external authority, ethically mature individuals behave in just and appropriate ways, and understand the basis of rules and, norms, and appreciate how these contribute to overall peace and order in society.

Our earliest and best teachers found stories and anecdotes the best way to get across an important spiritual teaching or social message. Along with this is the universal fact that every child, no matter how dull or uninspired his home life, has something to say, some insight to contribute to a class discussion. The teacher needs to draw out the children, gain their confidence, and avoid using threatening language or hostile body language.

Teaching values has often meant exhortations about desirable behaviour. It has also meant the suppression and denial of "improper" and "unacceptable" feelings and desires. This often leads children to hide their own real feelings, desires, thoughts and convictions and simply pay lip service to moral values and ideals, without making any commitment. Hence the need to move away from mere talk, to a meaningful discussion of experiences and reflections, eschewing a simplistic approach to moral behaviour, and instead exploring and understanding complex motivations and ethical dilemmas associated with human behaviour and actions.

Teachers should make deliberate attempts to infuse and reinforce the importance of peace-related values that are commensurate with the textual material taught in school and the developmental stages of children. For example, teachers can take advantage of the hidden components in a lesson by using appropriate strategies to awaken positive feelings, identifying experiences worth reflecting and, exploring, discovering, constructing understanding peace-related values.


Strategies like questions, stories, anecdotes, games, experiments, discussions, dialogues, clarification of values, examples, analogies, metaphors, role playing, and simulation are helpful in promoting peace through teaching-learning. The teaching and practise of ethics go from the personal sphere to social and community-oriented thinking and then link up with global perspectives. A teacher who is oriented to the perspective of peace can introduce such opportunities for reflecting at these scales, and identifying the inter linkages between them. Teacher education programmes should consider introducing peace education as an optional subject of study.



Habitat and Learning

The habitat is where any species finds conditions that permit it to thrive. Learning is a vital faculty of all animal species. Animals learn about the features of their own habitat by picking up clues as to where they may expect to find food or meet social companions or encounter enemies. For our ancestors, knowledge thus began with the exploration of their habitat. But as human beings' control over the environment has increased, and as people have begun to mould the world more and more to suit their needs, this component of knowledge has diminished so much that today formal education has become largely alienated from the habitat of the students. But as environmental degradation proceeds at an uprecedented pace, we are beginning to realise the importance of taking good care of our habitat. Humankind must, therefore, make an attempt to comprehend its roots, to re-establish links with its habitat, and to understand and take good care of it. In substance and spirit, then the theme ' Habitat and Learning' is equivalent to environmental education.

These significant concerns are best realised by infusing the components of environmental educationas part of different disciplines while ensuring that adequate time is ear marked for pertinent activities. This approach can be meaningfully employed in the treatment of content in Physics, Mathematics, chemistry, Biolog y, geog raphy, History, political science, health and physical education, art, music etc. Actvities constructed for life situations become a meaningful means for the engagement of learners. Rainfall, for instance, exhibits intricate variations over space and time. Data on such variations are available and can be used to promote many interesting activities in Physics and Mathematics. In Physics, simple experiments may be devised to visualise patterns of flow of fluids over uneven terrain, as well as to demonstrate how the ascent of air leads to cooling and precipitation and descent to the opposite effects. In Mathematics, a careful analysis of data for a longer period, say, 50 years, on decline in rainfall provides excellent possibilities for projects relating to data representation, visualisation and interpretation. Likewise, effluents from sewage treatment plants can form meaningful raw material for a variety of projects in chemistry. Besides, schools could work with panchayats, municipalities and city corporations to document biodiversity resources and associated knowledge. Schools can take up projects in Biology addressing specific issues of interest, such as the occurrence and utilisation of medicinal plants or the protection of rare and endangered fish in a body of water. People's representations of the environment and its specifics (animals, forests, rivers, plants etc.) through various forms of art, music, dance and craft illustrate their understanding of biodiversity. Such an understanding is also linked to the life of members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities as they often depend on natural biodiversity resources to sustain their livelihoods. Recording such knowledge is part of the mandate of preparing of people's biodiversity registers, and students can fruitfully be engaged in projects on the preparation of such registers. Projects assessing the nutritional role of wild plants, which provide important nutritional supplements in the diets of tribal communities, can be worthwhile components of health education. Likewise, preparation of maps of the immediate environment, documentation of environmental History, and analysis of political issues related to the environment may be made part of projects in geography, History and political science. Conflicts over water at the local, state, national and international levels offer a rich source for designing a variety of activities and projects connecting these descriptions of knowledge.



Schemes of Study and Assessment

The word 'school' all over the country by and large refers to Classes I to X, extending to class XII in some states, while in other states Classes XI and XII are regarded as pre-university or junior college. Some schools also include two to three years of pre-school classes. The breaking up of schooling into four 'stages' extends far beyond mere administrative convenience. From the point of view of curriculum design and teacher preparation, these stages have a developmental validity. Seen fr om a stage-wise perspective, curriculum thinking and school organisation can overcome problems created by the current preoccupation with 'monograde' classrooms as being the norm, with rigid application of age-based grouping of children, and class-wise teaching and learning objectives. Single and two- teacher primary schools could be reconceptualised as a learning group with different abilities and learning needs rather than as 'multigrade' classrooms requiring time- management techniques. Assessing children for what they have learnt could also then take place over a longer cycle of years spent in school, rather than as yearly requirements spelt out for each class, in hierarchical progression. This would allow more respect for children's pace of learning. Schemes such as the Minimum Levels of Learning (MLL) reinforced not only the rigid adherence to year-end outcomes, but also allowed for these to be further nar rowed to lessons. Describing the characteristics and concerns of the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in stages allow syllabi, textbooks and learning resources, and for teachers to plan for children's development and the gradual and cumulative deepening of abilities, competencies and concepts.

Early Childhood Education

The early childhood stage, until the age of 6–8 years, is the most critical period when the foundations are laid for life-long development and the realisation of full potential; research shows that there are 'critical periods' at this stage for full development of the brain's potential. The formation of later attitudes and values as well as the desire to learn are also influenced at this stage, while lack of support or neglect can lead to negative consequences, sometimes irreversible. Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) requires that young children be provided care, opportunities and experiences that lead to their all-round development — physical, mental, social and emotional, and school readiness. A holistic and integrated perspective views the health and nutritional needs of children as integrally related with their psychosocial/educational development. The curriculum framework and pedagogy for ECCE must be based on this holistic perspective, taking into account the various domains of development, the characteristics of children at each sub-stage, and their learning needs in terms of experiences.It is well known that children have a natural desire to learn and make sense of the world around them.

Learning in the early years must hence be directed by the child's interests and priorities, and should be contextualised by her experiences rather than being structured formally. An enabling environment for children would be one that is rich in stimulation and experiences, that allows children to explore, experiment and freely express themselves, and one that is embedded in social relations that give them a sense of warmth, security and trust. Playing, music, rhyming, art and other activities using local materials, along with opportunities for speaking, listening and expressing themselves, and informal interaction are essential components of learning at this stage. It is important that the language used in early education is one that the child is familiar with in the immediate environment, while an informal multilingual classroom would help children to comfortably adjust to the early introduction of a second language (English) and the medium of instruction from Class I onwards. As the children who come under the purview of ECCE are a heterogeneous group, ranging from infants to pre-schoolers, it is important that activities and experiences for them are developmentally appropriate.

Early identification of disabilities assessment and the provision of appropriate stimulation would go a long way in preventing the agg ravation of disadvantage on this account. The caution would be against pressurising children into the three R's (reading, writing and arithmetic) and the early introduction of formal instruction, i.e. against making pre-schools into training centres for admission to primary schools. In fact, the suggestion is that ECCE cover the age group 0–8 years (i.e. so as to include the early primary school years). This is in order that the holistic perspective of ECCE and its methodologies (all- round and integrated development, activity-based learning, listening and speaking a language before learning to write it,contextuality and continuity between home and school) can inform learning experiences of children throughout the childhood stage and lead to a smooth transition into the elementary school stage.

The ECCE programmes present a picture of plurality, with government, non-government (voluntary sector) and private agencies providing a variety of services. However, the coverage of these programmes is extremely narrow, and the quality of services provided is variable and largely poor. A vast majority of children, especially those belonging to poor and marginal groups, are not covered by early care programmes and are left to fend for themselves. Pre-school programmes range from those that subject children to a dull and monotonous routine to those where children are exposed to structured formal learning, often in English, made to do tests and homework, and denied their right to play. These are undesirable and harmful practices that result from misguided parental aspirations and the growing commercialisation of pre-schooling, and are detrimental to children's development and motivation to learn. Most of these problems derive from the still 'unrecognised' status of ECCE as a part of the mainstream education system. Polarised services both reflect and perpetuate the multiple overlapping social divides in our country. The deep gender bias and pervasive patriarchal values in Indian society are responsible for the failure to recognise the need for cre'ches and day-care facilities, especially for children of poor rural and urban working women; this neglect has also had an adverse impact on the education of girls.

Good quality ECCE programmes have a positive impact on children's all-round development. This in itself is reason enough to demand that all children have a right to ECCE, and it is hence unfortunate that the 0–6 age group has been excluded from the purview of Article 21. In addition, ECCE is also seen to have critical linkages with enrolment of children in schools and learning outcomes. To provide ECCE of equitable quality to all children, it is not only necessary to vastly enhance the funds committed for this purpose, but also to address through different strategies the five basic dimensions of quality, namely, developmentally appropriate curriculum, trained and adequately rewarded teachers, appropriate teacher-child ratio and group size, infrastructure supportive of children's needs, and an encouraging style of supervision. While there is need for decentralisation, flexibility and contextuality in these programmes, there is also an urgent need to evolve appropriate norms and guidelines and set in place a regulatory framework so that children's development is not compromised. Capacity building at all levels in relation to the plurality of roles that different functionaries play, as well as fair wages, must also be ensured.

Elementary School

The period of elementary school (from Class I to Class VIII) is now also recognised as the period of compulsory schooling vide the constitutional amendment making education a fundamental right. The beginning of this period marks the formal introduction of the child to reading, writing and arithmetic, culminating in the introduction of the formal disciplines such as the sciences and the social sciences towards the end of elementary school. This period of eight years is one of tremendous cognitive development, shaping reason, intellect and social skills, as well as the skills and attitudes necessary for entering the work place.

As the effort to achieve UEE is stepped up, the elementary school classes now cater to many children of school-going age coming from diverse backgrounds. Plurality and flexibility without compromising on standards need to become the hallmark of education for this period. Education during this period must be of an integrated character, enabling children to acquire facility in language and expression and to grow in self- confidence as learners, both within and outside school. The first concern of the school is on the development of the child's language competence: issues related to articulation and literacy, and the ability to use language to create, to think and to communicate with others. Special stress is needed to ensure that there are maximum opportunities for those who wish to study in their mother tongue, including tribal languages and linguistic pockets, even if the number of students is small. The ability of the system to promote and nurture these options, along with working out mechanisms to ensure that future options remain open, should become a marker of its ability to provide for quality education. To achieve this, there must be a creative and concerted effort to maintain the multilingual genius of Indians and implement the three-language formula. While English may be taught during this period, it must not be at the expense of learning Indian languages.

The development of mathematical thinking, beginning with learning numeracy and moving towards the enjoyment of and facility with more abstract ideas, needs to be supported with concrete experiences and work with manipulations. It is in the early years, up to Class IV, that efforts at diagnosing learning difficulties and addressing remedial work in language and mathematics must be directed. Such concrete experiences are also essential in the introduction to the integrated study of the environment through which children's intuitive knowledge of the world is integrated into school knowledge. Over the years, this study should move towards a more disciplinary approach, but with integrative themes, within which there are located opportunities to develop concepts and learn the vocabulary and methods of the discipline.

The study of arts and crafts is essential for developing not only the aesthetic sensibility but also for learning how to manipulate materials and developing attitudes and skills essential for work. The curriculum must expose children to practical life skills and work experiences of varied kinds. Physical development through sports activities is also a must. A variety of activities at this stage of schooling should be made available, including participating in cultural programmes, organising events, travelling to places outside the school, providing experiences to develop socially and emotionally into creative and confident individuals sensitive to others, and capable of taking initiative and r esponsibility. Teachers with a backg round in guidance and counselling can design and lead activities to meet the developmental needs of children, thus laying the foundation for the necessary attitudes and perceptions towards the self and the world of work. They can also provide the needed support and guidance to children belonging to various strata of society for their sustenance through the elementary school years. The approach to the whole curriculum should be process oriented rather than outcome oriented. All these arenas of development should be made available to all children. Care must be taken to ensure that the curriculum does not reinforce stereotypes about preferences, choices and capabilities of different groups. In this context, the gradual inclusion of vocationally oriented skills as a part of exposure to work would be an important aspect of an inclusive curriculum.

Secondary School

Secondary school is a period of intense physical change and formation of identity. It is also the period of intense vibrancy and energy. The ability for abstract reasoning and logical thinking emerges, allowing children the possibility of deep engagement with both understanding and generating knowledge beyond the here and now. A critical understanding of the self in relation to society also emerges during this period.

The courses at this level generally aim at creating an awareness of the various disciplines and introduces students to the possibilities and scope of study in them. Through such engagement, they also discover their own interests and aptitudes and begin to for m ideas on what courses of study and related work they might like to pursue later. Such needs could be effectively met by guidance and counselling interventions of an organised nature with the support of trained teachers and professional counsellors. For a large number of children, this is also a terminal stage, when they leave school and begin acquiring productive work skills. Those for whom this stage becomes terminal on account of socio-economic circumstances need opportunities for learning creative and productive work skills while the system as a whole moves towards universalising secondary education. Providing access to libraries and experience in laboratories is essential, and hence there must be a concerted effort to ensure that all children have access to such facilities.

These two years are shadowed by the spectre of achieving respectable 'board examination' marks in this examination since this will determine future options. Schools often proudly state that they finish the entire syllabus for Class X by the end of the first term, and spend the rest of the year (two terms) on revision, so that students are well prepared for their examination. Class IX of this stage, and later Class XI, are sacrificed for the same reason. This preoccupation with the examination, and its deleterious effect on learning, needs to be reviewed and challenged. Is it worth wasting a year of perhaps the most fruitful period of a child's life in such non-productive engagement? Is it not possible that by pacing learning more evenly through out the year, we may serve preparation for the examination itself in a much better way? On account of the examinations, many other curricular areas, especially sports and arts, are also compromised. It is necessary to ensure that these areas are protected, and also that a serious attempt is made to institute meaningful experiences of work during this period.

Most boards in the country offer limited or no optional courses in this period; two languages (one of which is English), Mathematics, science and social sciences are the typical examination subjects. In this group, the courses of Mathematics and English, which are responsible for the 'failure' of a large number of students, need to be revisited and redesigned. The policy of declaring pass–fail in the whole examination, and the meaning of the 'pass mark', may also need to be reviewed. Related issues are discussed in Chapter 5, in the section on examination reforms.

A few boards also encourage students to choose an optional course from a range that includes economics, music and cookery. Such options could be increased, and the possibilities of substituting the more traditional disciplines with these options could also be considered. Vocational options could also be introduced. Many such vocational options may arise from the world of productive work in the local community. For example, auto maintenance in garages, tailoring and paramedical services offer possibilities f or collaboration to create meaningful vocational courses; school boards could accredit such learning and thereby also recognise the many sites of learning that are situated outside school. In our country, many vocational stream courses have deteriorated in their quality, and hence are unable to provide students with meaningful work- related knowledge and skills. In many cases, these courses have degraded into routine credentialing courses, and make no distinction between learning to do a job versus learning to get a job.

Higher Secondary School

The status of the academic and vocational streams at the higher secondary stage needs to be reviewed in view of the continued preoccupation with and influence of the board and entrance examinations, and in view of the continued privilege given to the so-called academic stream and the failure of the vocational stream to take off. During this period of two years students make choices based on their interests, aptitudes and needs regarding their future life.

The possibilities of choosing optional courses of study for exploring and understanding different areas of knowledge, both in relation to one's interest and one's future career, is integral to this stage. Exploring disciplines and approaching problems and issues from rich interdisciplinary perspectives are possible at this stage. There is a need to allow for such investigations to take place between and outside the 'subjects' chosen for study. Most boards of study offer a variety of subject areas in addition to the compulsory language courses. There is a concern about the formal or informal restrictions that operate to narrow the choice of subjects of study for students. Several boards restrict the combinations in the form of 'the science stream', 'the arts stream' and 'the commerce stream'. The CBSE does not restrict the possibility of combinations that students can choose, but in view of the increasing popularity of some combinations of subjects of study, and also because of a perception of status of subjects in relation to each other, many such options are now foreclosed to students. Further, universities also need to review their admission criteria as they currently restrict admission based on the kinds and combinations of courses studied at the +2 stage. As a consequence, many significant and meaningful combinations of study, such as, for example, Physics, Mathematics and Philosophy, or Literature, Biology and History, are closed to students.

Recent trends of schools tailoring their classes to medical and engineering courses have led to an artificial restriction on the courses they offer in school, arguably on grounds of popularity and timetabling. In many parts of the country, students who want to study the arts and liberal subjects are left with very few options. Schools also discourage students from opting for unconventional combinations, often on account of timetabling considerations. We believe it is essential to keep all options open for students. In case there are not enough students in a school opting for a particular subject, schools could consider working out arrangements with other schools in the neighbourhood so that they could employ a resource teacher together. Such resource teachers could also be employed at the block level to teach such special subjects that would not otherwise be available in a school. School boards may also consider a more active role in promoting subjects and streams of study.

The courses offered at the +2 stage need to be alive to recent and current developments in the disciplines, as new knowledge areas are carved out, disciplinary boundaries shift and multidisciplinary studies develop. To allow students to engage with areas of study that are growing in importance within the disciplines and fields, courses could also be designed to offer optional modules, rather than trying to cover everything and packing courses with too much information. For example, History could have an optional module to study either Archaeology or World History; similarly, Physics could offer the options of Astronomy, Space Science and Rocketry etc.

Under pressure to 'cover' vast syllabi, many important aspects of learning such as practicals and field trips, and ways of learning such as reference work, project work and presentations, are not fully utilised, to the detriment of overall learning. Well -equipped laboratories and libraries, and access to computers, are essential, and all efforts must be made to ensure that schools and junior colleges are well equipped with such resources.

The vocational stream originally was meant to address the needs of those who would enter the work force earlier than those who would enter the professions via the traditional academic streams, or those who would pursue study and research. We recommend infusing productive work as a pedagogic medium for knowledge acquisition, developing values and multiple skill formation at all stages of education, including the +2 stage. Given the developmental nature of this stage, guidance and counselling by trained professionals must be made available to children. Interventions to enhance self/career awareness, career exploration and planning are also essential. Besides, this stage coincides with adolescence, a period in an individual's life that is marked by personal, social and emotional crises created due to the demands of adjustment required in family, peer group and school situations. The provision of these services in schools would help create the support system required to cope with increasing academic and social pressures.

Open Schooling and Bridge Schooling

Beginning with the National Open School, open school boards, which have begun to function in a few states, now are able to provide much more flexibility and options for students. The range of subjects they offer is wide. With more flexibility in examination taking, and the possibility of credit transfer from other boards, open schools have been able to provide a more humane approach to the process of certification. Knowledge about and access to open schools could be more widely disseminated along with efforts to address misconceptions regarding equivalence with other board examinations. By scheduling these examinations closer to the dates of other board examinations, it would also be possible to ensure that students do not lose a school year.

Bridge courses are conducted widely in many parts of the country to enable children who are out of school to study in programmes and become integrated into classes suitable to their age. In the medium term, it is essential to have well - conceived programmes that are able to meet this curricular objective. Anything less than this would exacerbate the deprivation that these children have already suffered, and constitute a flagrant disregard of their rights. Rigorous research and development of the pedagogy and materials required for such programmes to succeed, stringent implementation norms and provisioning of facilities, as well as continued academic and social support for these children after they have been placed in school are essential.

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