Rajesh Rengan, who stays in Boston, visited the school and interacted with teachers and students of 1st to 4th. Made valiant efforts to speak in his American accented Hindi. Rajesh talked about the differences in the education system in the US and in India. Most students enter schooling late in the US. As a result, his son will finish college at the age of 22. Whereas Rajesh had finished his college by the age of 20. The focus in academics is more on understanding and less on memorization, to the extent that students are not even expected to know their tables. However, as a parent, Rajesh has ensured that both his kids are good with tables. Grades are not given too much importance. There is a lot more that happens in extracurricular. Music is compulsory. Aditi, Rajesh’s daughter, plays the piano. Sports in India is usually something that you play on the road and in the gully. In the US, it’s more organised, possibly why they end up with more Olympic medals. Individual sports are given a little bit more importance. Aditi is a good athlete – she is on the State running team. His son Rohan, rows for Purdue University. There is not too much homework from grades 1 to 4. Even the homework that is given is more conceptual, something related to building stuff. Or an interview with parents. Or a comment on the politics that is happening in the US presidential elections. Students are also asked to make a lot of presentations in class. All of these result in good communication skills. An average US student is much better in communicating than an average Indian student.
Komal talked about the activity based learning that is practiced at Peepal Tree. Rajesh wanted to know from Nishi what activities we are doing which involve teamwork. Nishi talked about games. Rajesh’s suggestion was that we need to get more project work done. This inculcates a good team spirit. Nisha talked about the challenges the school faces. Homework is always an issue. Parents often consider it to be too less or too much. We still have to find a Goldilocks territory for HW. Another issue is about participation of kids in activities like drama. Every parent wants every kid to be on stage. Logistically, not possible. Rajesh’s suggestion was that we should plan for multiple events. And some kind of rotation. One more idea that he gave was to have a school choir. So that the entire class can sing together. Nisha would have had some experience in her church about these things. And it may be a good idea to have a choir on our annual day. Another suggestion from Rajesh was to have a standardized format for a PTA meet.