To be a holistic leader, we must sharpen our values and be a real change agent to bring in positive changes in our surroundings. For this, we need conducive learning environment in order to hone our skills and be feature ready for challenges. This is only possible if delivery mechanism of courses is updated to adapt holistic learning.
As a child, during elementary years, we learn many things while playing outdoors and indoors. As we grow (in primary years), our focus is narrowed towards learning in the classrooms. We are attuned to concentrate on our scores. This leads to change in our perception i.e. instead of education for knowledge, we insist on education for ranks and grades. As we progress further to middle school, most of our intelligence starts being quantified in grades and numbers. If a student is a topper then they are expected to be more intelligent than the others who are probably good in areas like, sports, arts, music, etc. but academically may not be at par. Students by and large get into the categories and are judged on how successful they will be in future. So what can be done to avoid this vicious circle, where talent and intelligence are not judged purely in terms of grades?
Free from results
Attention level for the students in same class varies. Some students can grasp the information immediately, whereas, few may need more examples or a different way of explanation for the same topic. It is almost an impossible task for a teacher to ensure after completion of a chapter that all the students might have understood the content. From past many years, exams are set as a parameter to know if he/she got the knowledge to get promoted to the next grade or level in respective institution. In the entire process, system insists on rote learning but the broader perspective of the world around us is independent of such learners. There are many instances when talented students despite of weaker academic records have done exceedingly well in their respective careers.
Character over intelligence
Imagine a world full of only intelligent people who are street smart and are ruling corporate, politics and other socio circle around our lives. They all have intelligence, but are surrounded by self-centered values. For example, it takes intelligence to plan a crime or create weapons for mass destruction but the character makes all the difference in how that intelligence is used and for what. History says, Germany-based leader, Hitler, tried to crusade the world, which led to Second World War. He had a strong army with extremely intelligent commanders, who helped Hitler to conquer many territories. Whereas US President, Barrack Obama (Can take example of St Mother Teresa), has a strong personality with good character and is intelligent leader. He might not have been successful in spreading peace around the world but he didn’t initiate any war either. The difference between Obama and Hitler is about character and how they influenced the world.
Pathway to university
World’s top most universities offer admissions not only on the basis of aggregated marks scored by an individual; they prefer a student with well-rounded qualities. Any good school, which believes in holistic education forms a strong foundation for students to get an admission in Ivy League colleges. More than streamlining student’s university profile, they also make them future ready. For example, the Singapore-based Global Indian International School has developed a framework for teaching and imparting education to all the students on the basis of nine key areas and call them as Nine Gems. These Nine Gems includes Leadership, problem solving skills, drama, sports, and academics, among others.
The framework has been a successful model in imparting holistic education in the school. In the past 10 years of offering International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), the school has got six IB world toppers. In 2016, the two IB world toppers, Rasika Kale and Amitesh Sivaraman exemplified what holistic education is all about. Rasika is a trained dancer and have given various performances at school level and have worked closely with teachers to participate in community integration. Even Amitesh is a trained violin player and has been performing on stage from an early age. These two toppers break the mould of an ideal topper (assumed). Both the students were involved in various activities and still managed to excel in the exam. Due to their strong student profile, both got admissions in world’s leading colleges in UK and Singapore even before their results were out.
In order to have success for all the students, we must strive to preserve and amplify their natural wonder and curiosity to help them reach their full potential. It is important that they all get ample of opportunity to flourish in a diverse and vibrant community of teachers, who are also leaders. We believe that emotional growth for each student is equally important as academic achievement. This will help in making them compassionate and engaged world citizens.