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Principals Diary

Impress your management with the task list in principals diary. An Exclusive Diary especially designed for Principals / Directors / Head of Schools / Coordinators / HOD's

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August 2018
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  1. Volume 2 Month 6 Day 21 – NON-COGNITIVE AREAS OF LEARNING


    1. Introduction

    1.1 All-round development of the personality is the ultimate goal of education and, therefore, the learning experiences provided in the school should contribute towards the achievement of this end. Accordingly the expected outcomes of learning cannot be limited only to the cognitive domain; it is necessary to delineate learning outcomes expected in the affective and the psycho-motor domains also. In contrast to cognitive aspects, non-cognitive aspects cannot be specified as tangible terminal behaviours, since they comprise elements of personality which manifest themselves in interest, attitudes, personal and social behaviour and value systems. That these form integral part of the set of outcomes expected to be acquired every individual completing the basic education programme is well accepted. It is also recognized that unlike learning outcomes in the cognitive domain, those in the non-cognitive domain, particularly the affective characteristics, cannot be specified in terms of minimum levels. Nevertheless, the need to imbibe certain basic values as part of the process of growing and learning at the primary level of education cannot be questioned. In fact, primary level education provides an ideal setting for this purpose as children at this level are at a plastic age and the experience provided to them at this stage can have a more lasting impact in moulding their personality.

    1.2 Before embarking on the specification of non-cognitive aspects of human personality which every child should be facilitated to acquire through schooling, it is necessary to clarify two points. First, the exercise carried out here is confined only to the affective domain, and the psycho-motor domain has. consciously been kept out of the purview. It is considered that specification of psycho-motor abilities are closely linked with such curricular components as work experience and physical education, and demands more elaborate deliberations and independent treatment. Secondly, the affective characteristics discussed in this report do not constitute a comprehensive list of all possible learning outcomes in the affective domain. This delimitation is deliberate. The qualities which are explicitly mentioned here are only indicative of the areas which require every school to make conscious efforts for organizing relevant learning experiences. They suggest the essential aspects of personality development which need to be consciously pursued as part of all educational programmes, formal as well as non-formal. It is presumed that the list will be extended and adapted at the micro-level in a need-based manner.

    2. Specification of Non-Cognitive Areas

    2.1 All specifications of minimum or essential areas of learning have a a normative basis. This is particularly the case with respect to specification of outcomes in the affective domain. It is, therefore, necessary to identify the appropriate normative base adopted here for deriving the specifications and adapting them in the empirical context provided by daily life experiences and needs of the children. In the National Policy on Education, 1986. The NPE-1986 national values enshrined in the Indian Constitution which have been further explicated in the National Policy on Education, 1986. The NPE-1986 specifically highlights the need for promotion of values such as India’s common cultural heritage, egalitarianism, democracy and secularism, equality of sexes, protection of the environment, removal of social barriers, observance of the small family norm and inculcation of the scientific temper, The policy calls for strengthening a world view which treats the whole world as one family by motivating the younger generation for international cooperation and peaceful coexistence, education should foster an awareness of the equality of all by removing “prejudices and complexes transmitted through the social environment and the accident of birth”.

    2.2 Keeping the above policy directive as the board guidelines the committee recommends that every school should make conscious efforts to develop certain essential affective qualities in all the children, which are eventually below, Those have been identified as the key qualities which would eventually contribute towards personal and social growth as well as national development.

    (i) Regularity and punctuality: These values manifest as appreciation for and sensitivity to the value of time and time-bound commitments. Significance of this in every aspect of life and progress needs no special mention. For instance, the children have to develop a habit or style of living where regularity in attending the school daily and on time becomes a part of their natural course of action and are not carried out through external persuasion or coercion of any kind.

    (ii) Cleanliness: This refers to the basic attitude that an individual develops towards his or her environment. This attitude manifests in terms of the child’s personal habits of healthful living and keeping the personal self as well as the immediate physical environment in a clean condition. This obviously is another key quality which has a direct bearing on the learning experiences provided to the children during their early life at school and home.

    (iii) Industriousness/diligence: This does not refer so much to the particular actions the children should do, as to the value they should attach to achieving their goals through hard work and perseverance. It is the inculcation of this quality which prepares the children to undertake goal-oriented tasks, pursue them with patience and complete them in a time-bound fashion.

    (iv) Sense of duty and service: this manifest as willingness to sacrifice self-interest for the welfare of others while performing one’s dudes without any feeling fear or favour. It is to create in the growing child a sense of empathy and readiness to render help voluntarily to neighbours, peers, handicapped, old people, and so on.

    (v) Equality: Acceptance of the proposition that all are equal irrespective of caste, creed, religion or sex requires inculcating in the child a basic mental disposition to view the relationship of self and others in an egalitarian framework. The school experiences should nurture such a view in every child so that he or she grows into an adult carrying a sense of belongingness to a community of equals, each sharing a common set of rights, responsibilities and obligations to the society. The ultimate goal is to help the children move towards a global perspective cutting across the barriers of linguistic, racial, regional, cultural, religious, social and economic differences.

    (vi) Cooperation: The value of working together to achieve common goals needs to be imbibed in all children through appropriate experiences of working and living together inside and outside the school. The mutually interdependent nature of human life at local, national, and internationals has to be brought home to the children so that they realize the need for cooperative effort. This should of course be done in a careful manner so as not to jeopardize the sense of independence, individuality and spirit of competition in the child which are equally important.

    (vii) Sense of responsibility: Developing a sense of responsibility can be seen as the readiness of the child to face difficulties and problematic situations with commitment and conviction while performing various tasks. This requires building in the children a positive self-image and confidence in their personal capabilities.

    (viii) Truthfulness: A quality expected in every individual is the basic urge to be truthful in his or her dealings, in every aspect of work and life. This value is so central in determining the behaviour of the child that it permeates all actions giving them the stamp of legitimacy and authenticity. It is essential that in the school and at home children are properly guided and enabled to develop the strength of mind to subject every idea and action of theirs to this criterion.

    (ix) National identity: Developing a sense of national identity should be a prolonged and consistent process of inculcating in the minds of the children a sense of respect for the national symbols, and reverence and concern for upholding the basic values enshrined in the constitution. This is not developing a blind loyalty to a set of prescriptions but an enlightened understanding of the commonly accepted framework essential for national unity and integration.

    3.Development of Specified Qualities

    3.1 Development of specific cognitive capabilities can largely be seen in correspondence with particular subjects of study in the school curriculum. But this cannot be applied with regard to development of qualities in the non-cognitive domain. Objectives in the non- cognitive domain do not lend themselves to be specifically attached to any particular area or subject of learning; rather they are related directly or indirectly to every learning experience provided in the school. Also, while the school will occupy a place of prime importance in developing these qualities, family and community will continue to play significant roles in helping the children internalize these qualities and making them a part of their personal life style. This makes the task of the school with respect to non-cognitive domain a complex and difficult one. Some suggestions are placed here regarding the role to be played by the school, and the parents and community in facilitating the children to acquire the key qualities when they undergo primary schooling.

    3.2 Role of the School

    The school is the place where children are introduced to acting with understanding, where behaviour and knowledge are integrated and reflected in their actions. It is the school which in course of time moulds their attitudes, interests, likes and dislike towards various objects, individuals, issues and problems they are likely to face in their life. Thus, the characteristics of the child passing out of a school is moulded by the kind of curricular inputs prescribed and the way they are transacted in the schools. Needless to say that the schools have to make a conscious effort to organize the learning experiences in such a way that the children acquire desirable cognitive and non-cognitive characteristics in a balanced fashion. As is often pointed out, cognitive objectives have come to dominate the activities in our schools, invariably at the cost of non-cognitive objectives. It is essential that concerted and conscious efforts are made to organize such learning experiences that develop in the children at least the minimum set of outcomes in the non-cognitive domain.

    With respect to the specific role to be played by the school in the process of developing the non-cognitive characteristics four important aspects need to be highlighted.

    (i) School organization: The qualities of punctuality, cleanliness, sense of service, cooperation and so on are, to a considerable extent, absorbed by the students in an informal manner from the immediate environment provided in the school. Therefore, it is essential that these factors are effectively reflected in the way the various activities and the physical setting of the school are organized and maintained. For instance, if the school surroundings are kept unclean, or the school activities are organized with a gender bias, it is most unlikely that children develop values of Cleanliness and equality of sexes in their own lives. Thus, utmost attention is to be paid; for designing the organizational structure, physical setting and learning processes in the school so that ‘school’ as a whole becomes a powerful instrument facilitating the inculcation of various qualities in the non-cognitive domain.

    (ii) Teacher: It is a well-established fact that a major means through which affective qualities are acquired by children is ‘observation and imitation’ of adult behaviour. Teacher, willy-nilly, is a model that students in the early stage of education tend to follow and, therefore, every teacher bears a great responsibility in his or her personal presentation and external manifestations of attitudes, work habits and styles of living. Teacher should not be seen only as a transmitter of knowledge and skill but also as a trend-setter for the youngsters through personal behaviour inside and outside the classroom.

    (iii) Curricular inputs: Even though, to a great extent, non- cognitive characteristics in the affective domain are caught rather than taught, learning experiences in different subject areas have a significant role in shaping the attitudes and interests of the children. It is necessary to have great care and caution in selecting appropriate curricular inputs and properly transacting them in the classroom. For instance, wrongly chosen inputs in language lessons may develop the requisite cognitive abilities but instill undesirable linguistic, regional or racial disposition in the children. In appropriate choice and inept treatment of social studies content may, instead of developing a sense of national identity, lead to divisive thinking in the children. Similarly, right kind of attitude towards environment and personal hygiene are more likely to develop when supported by a proper knowledge base. Thus, curricular experiences are to be selected with adequate attention to their potential for developing not only the cognitive abilities but also various non- cognitive characteristics in the children.

    (iv) Physical education, work experience and art education: While the prescribed curricular activities in scholastic subject areas such as language mathematics, environmental studios may have the potential to develop outcomes in the non-cognitive domain, the emphasis in these is more likely to be on the cognitive outcomes. In contrast, certain areas of school activities such as physical education, work experience, and art education offer more flexibility, freedom of organization and opportunities for natural and creative expression and thus hold greater potential for moulding outcomes in the noncognitive domain. These areas people the children with opportunities to more freely explore, experience, and interact with their physical and social surroundings and help them realize the values of natural respect and cooperation, dignity of labour, sense of achievement and identity, and so on. Unfortunately, with increasing curricular load in scholastic subjects coupled with book-centred and examination- oriented teaching, schools have been paying scant attention to learning experiences in these areas. It is necessary to reverse this trend and ensure that these areas are given their legitimate place in the total scheme of activities in the school.

    (v) Co-curricular activities: Apart from the various prescribed curricular activities, every educational programme at the first level should have adequate scope for organizing several co-curricular activities and experiences. These activities provide ample opportunity for inculcating various personal and social characteristics in a free and natural context without the constraints of transacting prescribed curricular inputs. It is unfortunate that the potential of co-curricular activities for achieving all-round development of the personality of the children at the primary stage is given very little importance.

    3.3 Role of Parents and Community.

    As has already been pointed out, learning outcomes in the affective domain cannot be directly related to any particular set of curricular experiences provided through a formal process. Acquisition of these qualities continually take place through informal experiences inside as well as outside the school. The role of parents at home and the community in this process of informal learning is significant. In an ideal situation, the home, the community and the school ought to play a complementary and mutually reinforcing role. But this does not always happen in actual practice. It is not unusual to find parents and community members also equating schooling with cognitive learning with least concern for a balanced personality development of the children. Further, it would be wrong to expect the school to accomplish more than what it can, particularly with respect to development of non-cognitive outcomes. There is no alternative but to view the task as a joint responsibility of school, home and community and it should be our endeavour to facilitate greater interaction among them towards this purpose.

    The school can seek active cooperation of parents and the community in promoting this aspect of learning. For instance, Parent- Teacher Associations can play an important role in this regard. Periodic interaction among parents, teachers and educational administrators of the area can go a long way in setting the tone of the educational programmes to give due emphasis to non-cognitive aspects of learning. The efforts have to multi-prolonged which should reinforce the efforts of the school in developing an ethos where a balanced emphasis on all aspects of learning replaces the current practice of over-emphasizing cognitive outcomes.

    4.Assessment of Identified Qualities

    4.1 When conscious efforts are made by the school to inculcate certain qualities, it also becomes necessary to evaluate the students and ensure that the students are actually acquiring these qualities. But this is complex task and poses a number of questions which cannot be answered with any finality. The school and in particular, the teachers should be adequately made aware of these problems and equipped to tackle them tactfully.

    4.2 Unlike the cognitive outcomes, affective qualities do not lend themselves to be effectively assessed through paper-pencil tests. The teachers will have to depend greatly on personal observation of student behaviour and infer about the satisfactory development of the qualities. Teachers need to be properly oriented to carry out such observations. A related problem is that non-cognitive outcomes are not as tangible as cognitive outcomes are and they are not to be measured with precision indicating the amount of the quality possessed by the children. This makes the process of assessing the non-cognitive outcomes essentially judicious and to some extent even subjective. This lays a high premium on the capability of the evaluators that evaluation of students is not influenced by their own personal preferences and prejudices. Thirdly, non-cognitive outcomes can at no stage be considered as fully developed and, therefore, they cannot be referred to as terminal outcomes at any point. They have always to be seen in terms of ‘degree of satisfaction’ by the evaluator with respect to the manifestation of different qualifies in the behaviour of the students. In a way, non-cognitive aspects of learning will perpetually remain as part of a process of development and change in the students’ personality rather than being the final product of specific inputs and processes. Fourthly, the overt behaviour observed by the teacher is functional and contextual, and can, at times, be misleading. For instance, a child may succumb under unwarranted pressure, and threat, and may behave against his or her own will and conviction. Also emotional qualities are such that they are never manifested in isolation and it is for the observer to discern the qualities and draw inferences. It is essential that evaluation of non-cognitive aspects is a periodic and continuous affair as one time observations and references can lead to wrong judgement of students.

     Archna Sharma


  2. Volume 2 Month 6 Day 15 – Tools for creating ideas

    ·        Absence Thinking: Think about what is not there . ·        Art streaming: Keep creating until you get through the blocks. ·        Assumption Busting: Surfacing and challenging unconscious assumptions. ·        Attribute Listing: Listing attributes of objects and then challenging them. ·        Brainstorming: The classic creative method for groups. ·        Braindrawing:... Comment

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