Personality development for students essential today | Sunday Observer

Personality development for students essential today

Children must be taught to get rid of stage-phobia from the very beginning
Children must be taught to get rid of stage-phobia from the very beginning

Almost regularly we hear educators, politicians and commentators say that our education system needs change. But we rarely hear what parents have to say, despite the fact that they have a clear perspective on the outcomes. It is their children that the system teaches and they have a first-hand knowledge of whether it needs change.

What we hear from parents, however, is the fear whether the education system has groomed their children to face adult life when they leave the various institutes. It is understandable that parents are concerned about the future, and whether their children would secure the careers they deserve.

Realising this, the Government recently started focusing on revising the education structure to suit the changes expected in society over the next decade. The Ministry of Education says there will be 26 vocational subjects for students to learn, under the project, “13 years of guaranteed education for every child.”

With these changes, the school curricula would become more activity-oriented and interactive. Many education related industries have been planned offering technology and tools to make classrooms more interactive.

Personality development

Despite these improvements, a critical area has not yet received the attention it deserves, i.e. personality development of the student. With much competition for higher education, the focus on primary and secondary classes should shift towards developing the personality of the student.

Personality means the qualities which make a person distinct from the other. When such qualities emerge in growing children, it is known as child personality development.

In a world that is fast advancing, it is crucial to make every student ready for the changes. Hence, personality development of the student must be introduced at the grassroots level to bring out the best in children. The student should be guided to develop qualities so that he/she would become socially, morally, and ethically progressive as he grows up tobecome a teenager.

The manner in which schools respond to this is important. If the focus is on grades and marks, there is a possibility that the personality of students would be limited. An ideal school is the one which focuses on both, studies as well as co-curricular activities. It is not important to tell them the answers to the problems; rather they should be taught to hunt for the answers. Incorporating logic in the minds of children would make them smarter and more productive.

The following strategies may help to achieve the overall personality development of children:

Pre and primary school role

The roles played by pre-schools and primary schools play a significant role over a child’s personality development. It is therefore necessary to improvise the method of imparting knowledge in them. Apart from games, organising cultural programs, learning disciplinary tasks, celebrating national and international festivals at school and upholding various competitions, are often neglected. The other is the assessment of children, based on how they interact with the teacher and among themselves. Sports activities which build their presence of mind must be part of the regular activities.

Children must be taught to get rid of stage-phobia from the very beginning.

Secondary education

After a child completes primary education, most of the initial developments would have taken place. But there are certain things which can only be taken care of during the secondary phase. Secondary education teaches children to be self-confident and motivated towards their prime goals. Regular workshops and seminars can be used as a platform to gain and share information.

The ethics taught in school would remain lifelong. So, things such as, valuing life, caring for animals, respecting cultural diversity and religions should be inculcated in their minds.

Qualities such as, humility, politeness and generosity should be taught in special classes of value-education. A period should be allocated for group discussions on various topics which can improve intellectual skills.

Lessons in music, art, craft, yoga and physical education should be given to every child beginning from the kindergarten. Proper nurturing by the school can do wonders to develop the child from an early age.

Life skills

Sri Lankan society and the education system must veer away from its obsession on marks and grades, if we wish to unleash the full potential of youth and allow them to grow naturally, pursuing their inborn talents and interests. A host of common behavioural problems noticed in kids and adolescents can be prevented if the foundation is laid at an early age towards building a holistic personality.

The Personality Development program can focus on life skills such as, (1) Communication and public speaking, (2) Emotional intelligence, (3) Interpersonal relationship, (4) Manners and etiquette (5) Fitness of the mind and body through yoga and meditation,(6) Problem solving and thinking skills (7) Assertiveness 8 Leadership and team work (9) Self-empowerment and time management. The program can also take up issues relating to teenage and adolescent problems which are important aspects of a quality life. The teachers’ training should cover these issues as part of the syllabus, just as much as other subjects, so that teachers are equipped to handle these subjects in the Personality Development programs. The students should also be taught what makes a good leader and the various theories of leadership.