Story Time Special – Test Buddy Recap

On Sunday, 7 March 2021, a panel made of S2M employees participated in a special program. The purpose of the program was to address strategies to address stress in the pre-exam period and equip parents with strategies to help their children prepare for the exams.

Oh No... Help!
Oh No Help GIF by CBeebies HQ

The event was registration-only for parents with children in the fREADom Live program. We have captured the highlights and the answers given by the panel to questions asked by other parents.

Ms. Roopa Dhawan began the session with a walkthrough of a Study Timetable to help children manage their time. She shared a sample timetable and encouraged parents to allow the children to participate in the process of making the timetable. She also emphasized that the timetable should have time dedicated to relaxing and enjoying activities the children like – hobbies, playing, reading, etc. The purpose of the Study Timetable is to teach the children to manage their time, not for parents to enforce activities of their choice on the children.

Ms. Roopa also encouraged the parents to introduce the children to tools like graphic organizers or mind maps for studying. She also explained a 5 step process to help children answer comprehension questions.

Next came Amrutash Misra’s narration of the story of Moosa’s Son. After an amazing storytelling session, Amrutash explained why it is necessary to stay calm during difficult situations like Moosa’s son did in the story.

Question Answer session with the Panel

Question 1: How can a child continue to learn even while studying for the exams?

Shazia: Learning is not just about reading a book and learning something. Learning happens all the time. You learn while playing, while watching a video and during other activities without realising it. The timetable is important because it creates a time span for children to enjoy their favourite activities. And then, when the child opens a subject book to prepare for an exam, that is study time.

Question 2: It is frustrating when our child does not listen to what we say. How do we handle these situations?

Amrutash: I have a daughter and there are situations like this everyday. This is how I handle the situation. Take a step back and try to see the situation from your child’s point of view. Direct the conversation to a point where you and your child can understand what the other person is saying. Try to explain why it is important for your child to listen to you. Use calming words and try not to be bossy. A bossy tone makes them feel you are ordering them and increases their resistance.

Question 3: At what age should a child start studying independently? When should parents stop supporting the child?

Karishma: This is more about the parent than the child. It actually depends on the parent. It is the parent’s expectations that make parents follow up on the child’s curriculum and their score. A child must be allowed to do thing and make mistakes on their own by the age of 6 to 7. A parent should support the child until he/she reaches grade 4 -5 and then let them be independent. The earlier the child becomes independent, the happier child and parent will be.

Question 4: Why do children under the age of 9 even have to write examinations?

Swati: Exams are treated like a negative thing. However, for young children under the age of 9, the purpose of the examination is different. Children in this age group are taught certain skill sets like:
1. To summarize what they have learnt
2. To recall what they have learnt
3. To use their learning for the next class/grade.
The idea of the examination is not to put pressure on the children. It is to check their understanding of the skills and to help them learn, use and apply these skills.

Question 5: What is the best way for parents to deal with exam preparation for teenagers?

Roopa: Dealing with teenagers needs empathy. Parents need to remember their own teenage years while dealing with teenagers. The following steps would help in dealing with Teenagers.
1. Media Exposure: Consider the multiple media sources and the amount of information that teenagers are exposed to. It is this information that distracts most teenagers from focusing and studying.
2. Physical factors: The teenage phase is a lot about hormones. Parents need to understand what a teenager goes through; they face multiple issues – physical, physiological and mental – that they don’t know how to handle.
3. Give them answers: Parents feel that teenagers are being stubborn and demanding but they are not. They just want answers to certain questions and parents should give them those answers.
4. Achievements, not expectations: Celebrate achievements at every level. Parents get frustrated because the children fall short of their expectations. Do not talk about expectations to the child. Parents need to relate to the child and check whether they have understood the concept they are studying.

Watch the entire video below:

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