In the child’s initial years at school, parents and teachers together are responsible for creating an environment which is conducive for learning to take place. Evaluation is an integral and continuous part of this process. It is essential that the parent and the teacher are learning about themselves along with the child in the process of evaluation and feedback. Only then does educationbecome meaningful, significant and complete.
For us, a report serves two functions. First, it is a compilation of observations concerning the child as a member of the school community as well as of the classroom. Second, it is a written record of the child’s movement in the learning of the various subjects and activities that have been taught through the year.
In our learning environment fear, comparison and competition are avoided and discouraged as these restrict the child’s spontaneous expressions. Observations that arise from daily contact and interactions are recorded. In order to keep track of the observations periodical jotting down has been suggestedand a record for each child is maintained.
Quite often, concerns based on observations regarding a child’s behaviour or progress in a particular subject or a skill is discussed amongst the teachers who interact with the child. Such meetings provide scope for better understanding of the child. Often the teacher may modify or adopt a different approach and in the process gains an understanding about herself, too. This could be either in the area of teaching a subject or in handling relationship issues. Most often, these meetings happen over a cup of tea or while walking along and talking. Sometimesmeetings are organized for a group discussion which opens up wider issues.
A few months into the academic year parents are invited to meet the concerned teachers individually to discuss the progress of the child. The teachers explain the curriculum and share their observations regarding the child’s involvement in the learning. Observations are made in a tentative manner to allow space for listening and discussion. The child’s attitude, abilities and difficulties are shared. Assistance from the parents in areas of difficulty is planned along with them. Ways of challenging a child physically, emotionally and intellectually are discussed. Approaches and methods to achieve this task together at home and in school are shared too. Generally the observations made by the teacher about the child concur with the parents’ observations of the child at home. In some cases the parents are not aware of some of the traits seen at school as these qualities are revealed only when the child is interacting with thepeer group in school.
The final report at the end of the year includes a close observation of the child’s responses to all areas of the school day—beginning with the bus journey, assembly, classroom, games field, dining hall, art-village and varied peer group interactions. The child is perceived both as an individual and as a team player. Her sense of responsibility and involvement, joy of participation and learning, consistency and quickness of thought processes, quality of interaction and integration are the basis for objective reflection and reporting. The format of the report consists of a broad, general section with aspects of the child as an individual and a specific academic section focused on her aptitude, ability and involvement in acquiring skills.
The day for meeting the parents marks the culmination of the process. Reports are sent early to the parents to allow for a deeper perusal and for views to be shared more specifically and reflectively on the appointed day. It is evident that evaluation, feedback and reporting have a definite place in the learning of subjects based on acquiring knowledge and skills in a methodical manner. However, the question that arises in the minds of teachers working in a Krishnamurti school is: What is the place of this recording and measurement in our relationships with children? Observations of the child can be coloured by opinions if they are not watched carefully. Is it possible to be aware of this constant danger that can deter us from being authentic in our attempt to approachreport writing?
Some illustrative excerpts
General Observations (written by the class teacher)
- Aditya is a cheery, affectionate child who has settled in a new environment as a new student with great ease. He was quick to establish a rapport with his peers once he overcame his general inhibitions and anxieties. He is a happy, joyous child who can be serious one moment and a chatterer the next, and he possesses a naughty sense of humour. He does not appear to have strong attachments to ideas/opinions, but is expressive and direct about what he wants to do. He is generally correct in his behaviour and is able to maintain a personal order. He is friendly and cooperative with all and a responsible and responsive child in class. He however needs continued doses of encouragement to tackle his work, often needlessly, for he has the capacity, but lacks confidence to work on his own. He has been urged to attempt an independent working habit. He has made these attempts reluctantly and has often surprised himself with success.
- Aditya has neat work habits and can be organized with his things. He is generally healthy, but has needed attention in this area. He shows a complete involvement in all class activities, be it academics or games or observation classes.
- It has been a happy interaction with Aditya all through the year and I am happy to wish him the very best for future endeavours.
The programme for E.V.S. was structured for learning to take place through direct observation. Regular walks and projects were planned to enhance this aspect. Recording of their observation was done through drawing and writing. Craft work and stories were integrated with the topics.
- Bhavya takes part in all the activities and projects with interest. She is observant and is able to record her observations in detail. She is sensitive to things around her. Her drawings and illustrations are good and colourful. She took keen interest in the project “Birds”. She contributed many pictures for the wall collage. She can work independently or in a group with the same interest. However, she is not keen to take part in the circle time sharing.
The mathematics programme for class 2 was centred around understanding numbers and number patterns. The four operations, namely addition, subtraction, multiplication and division were introduced. The other topics were—Shapes, Time, Measurement and Money. The maths corner in the open class allowed the children to work independently at their own levels.
- Bhavya is a quiet and a sincere child. She is methodical in her working and is interested in learning. She is quick to grasp the concepts introduced. She is capable of working independently. She is attentive to the task in the class. She has been regular with her class work and home assignments.