Encouraging a Growth Mindset | The Key to Resilience in Exam Times

 I hear and I forget, I see and I retain, but when I do something, I remember it for life!

Do I fear the examinations?

Am I far away from preparations?

Hard work and perseverance will bear the fruit in the end,

How to work for exams as per the latest trend?

My fears and worries are clouding my mind,

Will I ever emerge and strive to find…

a perfect plan to sustain during the examinations?

The fear of examinations is not new and just hearing the word ‘EXAM,’ creates havoc in the minds of many. Not only the children are exam scared, but also the adults. Multiple studies have shown that the fear of examinations is detrimental to growth and thus hampers the development of the human mind. Human cognition is restricted to situations which are threatening or intimidating and the human brain is capable of repressing and suppressing emotions related to fear. The solution to combat examination fear is not to evade them but to embrace them head-on and that’s what we teach to our students at Manav Rachna International School Ludhiana, one of the top schools in India.

Most of us will vouch for the fact that we all have faced the examination fear sometimes or the other in our lives! The trauma that the human brain goes through at the mere sound of the word ‘examination’ is unexplainable. Racing hearts, palpitations, jittery legs, butterflies in the stomach,, and irregular breathing are the symptoms related to examination stress. If such symptoms are dominant throughout a life- span, it may hamper the development of social and interactive skills.

At Manav Rachna International School Ludhiana, the best international school in the city, the focus is not on testing the students on what they learn through the books, in fact, it is the testing of their comprehending and grasping skills that in such a coveted manner that the students don’t even realize that they are sitting for an examination. Classroom observations, hands-on activities, real-life problem-solving, field trips, and competency-based testing are a few ways of testing the levels of the students. Comparison between the students is never drawn and the prime focus remains only on building a healthy competitive spirit amongst the students.

We all are blessed with unique personalities and different characters but if we talk about mindsets, they can be categorized into: fixed and growth. A fixed mindset is ‘believing in your qualities to be the superior most and no one is better than you.  Encouraging a mindset that is resilient, progressive and liberal is the primary focus at MRIS Ludhiana. The students achieve the desired results with a fearless approach. They do not get perturbed when they face the examinations, instead, they embrace the ‘examination time’ as the testing time to fill gaps between teaching and learning. They can sustain themselves because of exposure to ways and and methods which help them in becoming responsible and diligent citizens of a society that takes pride in excellence.

When a toddler enters the campus of MRIS Ludhiana, recognized for being the best CBSE-affiliated school in Ludhiana, a bond of love is established and also incepted at the time of admissions that blooms through his journey in the school. It is not that we educate just the enrolled students, but we focus on uplifting their family and society at large. The long-term association that is built over the years is cherished throughout their lives. The parent- teacher connection is strong and focuses on the holistic growth of the child. The way the junior-most school members get engrossed in the activities conducted by their teachers is remarkable. Leaving the laps of their mothers and the comfort zone of their homes is not easy but they all do that beautifully, the underlying reason being: a friendly, conducive and learner centric environment.

Children at an early stage of life are not well prepared to sit for a formal pen and paper test, thus at Manav Rachna International School Ludhiana, there are no formal examinations for the students of Early Years to Grade IV and they face a formal testing system only when they reach Grade V. It’s not that till that time, they are completely ignorant of classroom teaching, rather they grasp things on their own pace. Innumerable worksheets, spell genies, activities, outdoor play, projects, field trips and classroom observations help the teachers gauge the progress of their students. Their assessment reports are shared from time to time with their parents during the ‘Parent Educator Connect.’ The teachers file all the sheets and relevant documents for their students for future reference and perusal. Students with symptoms of ADHD, Dyslexia, Learning Disorders and Autism are identified at primary stages with the help of a school counselor and customized teaching strategies are adopted. The needs of these special children are catered to with a lot of care and support, thus, enabling them to tackle life challenges in a better way.

Manav Rachna International School, Ludhiana is a school with a difference because of the fact that it has a myriad range of subjects which are taught but not essentially tested. Maker Shala and Media Shala are two such subjects which actually deal with ‘hands-on-learning’ for the students of Middle School, without the hovering fear of a formal pen and paper test. Maker Shala primarily focuses on project-based work, wherein the students are exposed to a plethora of projects. The students of MRIS Ludhiana have won many accolades in the inter school competitions held at some very reputed schools of the country. Media Shala provides a platform to the students where they can hone their skills in web designing, photography, video recordings, debate, public speaking and so on. The incorporation of such skill subjects aid in the growth and development of the students in the fields in which they are interested in.

The senior segment of students may opt for any skill subject of their choice like Food Production, Introduction to Financial Markets, Travel and Tourism and Financial Literacy. These subjects are not tested like the rest of the subjects but on the basis of the understanding of the skill they have opted for, thus resulting in interest-based learning which proves to be beneficial in encouraging a growth-oriented mind set of our students. Not only this, but also there are regular counseling sessions which are scheduled for the students on a regular basis. These sessions are a part of the curriculum which renders support to the students who feel deterred from certain real-life situations. Innovative tricks and tips to be exam prepared are often shared with the students to keep examination fear at bay. A resilient mind can bring the best results not only in academics but also in real life hardships thus, MRIS Ludhiana, the best school in Ludhiana, aims at encouraging its students to be composed and buoyant. Many workshops to highlight the importance of eating healthy, staying active, saying no to peer pressure and gadgets are often conducted in the school campus for the students. As responsible educators, it becomes imperative to dissuade the parents of our pupils from constant nagging. Students tend to get lured to vices therefore need constant monitoring and hand holding. At MRIS Ludhiana, the educators and teachers work in collaboration for the welfare of all the children and the progress and problem areas of the students are discussed frequently between them.

One of the best schools in the city, MRIS Ludhiana with its wide range of learner centred teaching approach. The educators here adopt differentiated teaching strategies to suit the requirements of their students. The fact that each child may have multiple intelligences is well recognized and enhanced by the educators. Aptly said, to weather rough weather, the foundation of the building has to be strong. The very foundation of a resilient mind is set in our students at the very onset of their association with formal education. Learning happens on its own without any conscious effort on part of the learners, primarily because of hands-on-learning and differentiated teaching approaches. In the secondary classes, the students are prepared to face their board examinations by giving them extensive practice of ‘Competency Based Questions,’ as suggested by CBSE. Subjects like Music and Art are incorporated in the curriculum and the students are free to choose them as optional subjects in Grade XI. Innumerable sample question papers, practice questions and assignments are shared with the students before they sit for their examinations. The subjects like Science and Maths which are commonly presumed as tough are taught using a wide range of digital tools which involve interesting class- tests, quizzes, videos and related games. Various experiments in the well-equipped laboratories of the school are conducted. Exposure to a multi-faceted and student centric learning approach imbibes a resilient and encouraging mindset in our students!

We may not be able to control the storm, but we can surely adjust our sails to brave it!’