Imagine a classroom where students do not understand the lessons that the teacher delivers in the class! Most of these students are unable to participate in class activities as they do not have the grade level competencies. The Learning Enhancement Programme, which commenced in 2017-2018 in Sikkim, includes Remedial Education as a means to bridge learning gaps of students of Class 9 to remedy this situation. The programme aims to consolidate prior competencies connected to the curriculum of Class 9 so that grade level learning may be achieved. In 2018-2019, while the schools continue to consolidate key implementation processes, teachers are improving transactions in the classroom by working with students to strengthen prior learning through interactive methods that make learning more enjoyable. While the schools still have a long distance to travel till processes and classroom transaction together yield the desired learning outcomes, there are some initial changes in non-cognitive skills that have been observed by teachers.
C. Gurung, Science Teacher, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gyalshing says, “Before starting any chapter, I work on previous knowledge in an interactive manner. When I taught “Cell”, I used paper cuttings to help students grasp the concept.” Research is showing that there are concrete benefits to non-cognitive skills, both in education and labour market outcomes. The World Bank’s STEP survey work, for example, has found concrete payoff for skills such as “grit” (a combination of passion and perseverance), conscientiousness and decision-making in the labour market.
Science Teacher Deependra Sharma of Government Secondary School, Darap says that some of the boys in class 9 did not understand key scientific concepts and were unable to respond in the class. The boys expressed that they felt neglected in the regular classes. The remedial classes, supported the students to understand simpler concepts and these same students became more interested in Science and started responding in the classroom. In Sakyong Senior Secondary School, Leela (name changed), a student for class 9, now responds to teachers’ questions in the class with confidence. In Langang Government Secondary School, Shirin (name changed), Class 9, has started asking and answering questions in class without hesitation. In Senior Secondary School, Pelling, Sandeep (name changed) was arrogant and was keen to disrupt classes rather than participate in them. After the remedial classes, he raises queries related to mathematics and has become interested in the subject. Tashi (name changed), Government Senior Secondary School Soreng had discipline issues and was sent to the Head Teacher’s office for a time-out very regularly. Mr. Narayan Basnet, Head Teacher, Soreng says that the visits to his office have reduced with Tashi showing an interest in Mathematics, Science and English. In Government Secondary School Tumburburg, Teachers Om Prakash Dahal and Shashi Hangma has said that for a group of 6-10 students, reading level and pronunciation has improved and these students are able to read in the regular classes using correct grammar and pronunciation.
Teachers in these schools have started providing additional attention and support to students who have learning gaps and thereby ensuring that their self-confidence increases. When students are confident, they are able to achieve requisite learning outcomes expected of them. Supporting can-do attitudes and continuous praises along with positive feedback helps teachers motivate students which ultimately helps them become academically proficient. Therefore the accomplishment of Remedial Education is that it has built the confidence and motivation of students and have put them on the path to achieving academic success.