The Telegraph
Thursday , February 21 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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How to say bunkum to boredom in school
- Reputed psychologist stresses on fun element in syllabi to groom smarter students

Ever though of showing your toddler a crocodile’s yawn to teach him alphabets V or A?

If not, it is because you are not Jawahar Surisetti, eminent psychologist, educator and author of the international best-selling parenting guide Mama and Me.

In Ranchi on Wednesday, Surisetti, a doctorate in psychology from the University of Washington, interacted with parents and students on DPS campus between 11.30am and 1.30pm at an event jointly organised by a radio channel and a construction company.

“Stress management”, a popular yet confusing jargon, was something that Surisetti simplified with examples and anecdotes.

The race for marks, grades, percentages and percentiles gives rise to a lot of stress in youngsters and their parents.

Surisetti gave some simple tips to combat stress.

“Deep breathing works wonders. Also, record information from your syllabus in your own voice and listen to it as a lecture. It will keep all those facts in your memory. Yes, list out a proper time schedule for students and practice in those crunch days before an examination,” he said.

When a student asked how deep breathing helps ease tension, Surisetti said: “Your brain functions normally when you breathe normally. When you are tense, your heartbeat increases. That’s when you have to breathe deeply to stabilise your heart and let your brain function normally,” he said.

Surisetti also fielded posers from parents with elan and gave offbeat solutions.

To a parent who wanted tips on restraining his son from watching TV, he replied: “Make TV a tool of education. TV isn’t a bad thing. Forcing students not to watch it may make him stop studying.”

When another parent asked the psychologist how to deal with an argumentative teen, Surisetti said: “Handle your son with love and keep watch on his friends. For teens, they and their friends are always right. They also compete with their peers regarding clothes and gadgets. Be tough where you have to be but with tact. Love them and take care of them.”

Speaking with The Telegraph, Surisetti rued the lack of fun in the Indian curriculum. “Look around you and use entertaining elements to teach your child. When a crocodile yawns widely, don’t you think of the letter A? Why simply ask your toddler to draw lines?” he asked.

On the education system, he said: “Till he or she reaches the age of five, a child should just enjoy childhood. Formal education should start later.”

Any final advice from the parenting guru? “Once your child is 16, make him or her your friend. It’ll be a bond of a lifetime that grows deeper every year,” he said.