Once we teachers were sitting in a group and talking about our students in general. Our new term had started and almost all of us had our concerns. One of the teacher complained about her child’s writing ability and that he shouldn’t be promoted to the new class. The boy was disassociated from the class, disinterested in every activity and least interactive.
The description gave me chills and I instantly felt protective towards the boy. It also revealed the shallowness of the teacher’s comprehension abilities. The details of the child brought back memories, I knew the boy and he was already on my follow up list. He was home schooled for a while, got into school at the age of five and was groomed in an extremely controlled environment. He was into school for about ten months and was still unwinding himself.
In the literary world, context plays a vital role. It is important because it connects and creates a relationship with the reader. The writer can communicate her point of view clearly making it easier to understand. It allows the writers and others to be more creative. But context is not limited to literature only; it is crucial in our daily lives as well. In our real world, we experience different contexts. Our first contextual encounter is our home where we grow up. Gradually the extended environment slides in and we accept it, as mostly it’s been introduced to us via our family.
Before schooling, our home is our comfort zone and everything related to our home is normal. At home the parents are not following any guided curriculum but informal teaching is always going on. For children, their parents’ teaching and lifestyle is the ultimate reality and truth.
When the school starts, a child is exposed to a whole new context. Usually the norms and regulations of the school and home are in alliance but sometimes the home and the school are in opposite direction for the kids. I remember a child coming from a strict Catholic family. When October came and the teacher started practicing a performance for “Halloween”, he refused as his family didn’t believe in celebrating this festival. So, the children coming from different backgrounds need time to adjust in the new settings. They might be trained in a different way and for them their parents are always right.
Schools are improving in catering to the needs of their students as well. They are coming up with “real world context”. Karweit (1993) defines real world context as a designed learning for students so that they can carry out activities and solve problems in a way that reflects the nature of such tasks in the real world.
By comprehending our students’ needs we can always upgrade our student centered formal and informal curriculum. We have to understand our children and give them time and space to grow on their own. Despite being judgmental and jumping to the conclusions we can facilitate the learning process of our kids.