“My son tries to read each and every billboard be it in Hindi/English on his way to his grandmother’s house.” says the father of Anurag Raj; a student coming to the Mindspark centre for 2.5 years. Anurag’s family has been a resident of Nehru Camp, a slum in Govindpuri for past three decades. Anurag goes to a close by Government school and is also studying in Mindspark Centre, Govindpuri since December 2012. When he joined our centre his understanding of the basics of whole number operations was very poor. A simple mixed digit addition, Example, 148 + 73 would take him a lot of time to solve as for him. He was in class four in school at that point in time. We took his screening test to determine his actual learning levels for Maths and Language. The results were quite disheartening. A child who has been promoted for 3 consecutive years in school knew only some of the concepts of even grade 1. It should be pointed out that Anurag’s case is not a one-off in his community or any other low-income community in India. Many independent studies and educational interventions have confirmed that there are in fact many such examples of low learning levels among children. One of the major reasons for such a situation is the low quality of education the children receive at their schools. Here, there is no real analysis of whether or not the children are learning. As per the RTE, all children pass through school regardless of their learning levels and none fail till they reach Class 9. In this process, many parents and children neglect the importance of learning in initial years of schooling and realise it only when the promotion to the next class becomes dependent on the marks they score. But this wasn’t the case with Anurag.
Detailed discussions took place with Anurag’s parents (as is done with every parent of children at the centres) to make them aware of the widening gap in his learning levels. Anurag’s father recognised where his child was lacking and then emphasised that we were free to teach him the way we want, and that he wants to see a difference in his kid even if its gradual and not immediate. This was quite different from what parents usually demand. We were more accustomed to hearing parents demanding immediate result without real understanding of their child’s current status or suggesting that it’s ok to resort to punishments because “that is how children learn”. Anurag hence began his classes from Level 1 for both Maths and Language at our centre.
In the table below is a summarised progress of Anurag over each quarterly test. He worked very hard during his Mindspark sessions, asked doubts every time he was stuck with a concept or an idea, made best use of offline classes and ensured that he was improving a level every 3 months by understanding the concepts of that grade in detail. His progress is not just limited to Mindspark. This change was reflected in his school result as well where he proudly says ‘ Didi! I stood first in my class this year’ and offered us all a chocolate.
His growth through levels depicted in graphical format below –
In the above graph – his class progress in school is on yearly basis (as shown in blue line). In case of Maths he progressed one level in each quarterly test up till the month of November 2013 after which it took him 6 months to progress to next level i.e. 6 which is also his current school grade. In language his growth has been linear with respect to quarterly tests.
Anurag has not just grown linearly in his studies but also in his personal development. He has progressed from being a shy child who wouldn’t talk to anyone to an ever-smiling kid who participates in each and every competition and wins most of the time. He wants to become a doctor when he grows up so he can help others. His father is very happy with the progress and shared some Mindspark moments that he noticed –
“He cannot stop talking about Mindspark centre after coming back home.”
“He fights with us to skip outings with family just so he doesn’t miss out on one class.”
“During PTM he makes sure we get ready and reach centre way before time just because his teachers emphasised on importance of reaching timely.”
These are some of the very proud moments for the Mindspark centre’s team.
This article is written by the team at Mindspark Centres in Delhi. The team runs four remedial centres in the low-income communities of South Delhi where the Hindi version of Mindspark is used as a tool to help improve the learning levels of children in Maths and Hindi. For more information, visit centres.mindspark.in. you can also email us at – firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 2001, Educational Initiatives believes in making a difference in education through personalized learning and ensuring that students learn with understanding.
EI has over 15 years of expertise in education, with a deep understanding of child psychology and efficient methods of teaching, based on detailed research and a formidable database of student learning through ASSET.
Our detailed research has proven that children today respond to rote-based questions relatively well, however, they fail to answer unfamiliar or application based questions due to unclear core concepts.
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