It is a simple enough question to many. What should we teach a child? What the child is supposed to learn at that age, right?

If they are 5, teach them numbers, if they are 10, begin with fractions, and no don’t start off with calculus until they are 16! This is saying that every single human being is the same. That he or she should be studying something specific at a particular age; nothing more and nothing less.


Can what is to be studied be determined by age alone? Why do you think the age factor has come to dictate what is taught? (Note that I am not saying ‘dictate what is ‘learnt’’ because learning happens at its own pace whether or not you teach.)

Could it be because the demand was greater than the suppliers of information (in this case, teachers)? If so, we are in luck because information of all kinds is now easily accessible, at least in urban settings. It shouldn’t be too long before the rest of the world gets access to the same. 

Could the culprit then be the industrial age? Well, if it is, then it’s high time that we moved on from the concept of age-based teaching because duh…we have moved on from the industrial age, haven’t we?

Could it be the need for equal opportunity for all? Good point! How come then there is no equal opportunity when it comes to employment? Oh! And wait a minute. Does this also apply to dance and sports and art and music and everything? No? Then why only academics? 

Now, in the grip of the pandemic, the world is pushed to change. When the mode of education is changing why shouldn’t we change our perspective from ‘what should I teach,’ to ‘what does the child want to learn?’



  • Esai

    Really true:) we should not teach them, but we can plan exposures for them, we can direct them instead of teach them

  • Purnima Jha

    It is so true! There is so much obsession around what should I teach my child that we tend to forget about what the child actually need or want.

    As a parent, we want to give our best to our child. Time to question whether our best is actually best for our child.

  • Anuradha

    If parents’ perspective changes from ‘what the school taught’, to ‘what the child learnt’, the schools will also change. Syllabus completion is the only factor for school. I finished my lesson is the only factor for the teacher. Is the child getting good grades is the only factor for the parents. ( Good grades happen with learning but most often it happens because of exact reproduction without learning.) In all this the child and his learning is left in the lurch. Now with the pandemic there is some realisation that syllabus completion is not above the child’s learning. So parents look for the learning in the child and schools will change.

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