Monthly Archives: June 2017

Education is an On-Going Process

Education is an On-Going Process

Education is the quest for knowledge, and over the years I have come to realise that it is the teacher’s duty to make sure that his or her students perceive it that way. Only when one looks at life as a never ending quest for knowledge can the thirst for learning never die, and that constant growth through constant learning can still be possible. In the end, we’re all students in this game of life.

The process of learning begins from the time a child can be able to perceive intelligible information and make something out of it, and it continues till a person’s last breath. While formal education is imparted through school, and later through college, one must not forget to constantly observe, pick up on signs, and learn from them.

Take for example a tea bag. It gives you the best flavour only when immersed in hot water. Similarly, hardships bring out the best in everyone. Look at a pencil. It writes well when sharpened. It teaches us that we need to sharpen our skills to do well. A cricket game tells us that winning requires team work. A bee shows us how organization can work if you put in hard work.

The clearest example of this can be demonstrated by each and every one of us in our personal lives – we’ve picked ourselves when we have fallen. The learning from all the lows is to understand the root causes for it, and ensure that we’re wiser to tackle a similar situation in the future. I do believe that time heals everything if you allow it to – and if you experience life as a child, constantly questioning, observing, perceiving, analysing and learning.

Learnings can show up in different forms with your relationships with your family and your friends, or your professional relationships with your colleagues, or even through momentary and unexpected instances and interactions. We must not forget that every person we interact with has something to offer that’s different from how our own mind functions. It’s the key to understanding and accepting the world you live in.

A lotus only grows in marshy areas, or a still pond that’s dirty – only from a hardship or unfavourable situation can a beautiful or happy situation arise. There is no happiness without sadness, and no yin without yang. It’s important to acknowledge and tackle all the little hardships and conflicts in your life, so that you can emerge from it and get yourself back to a positive space. While in the game of life, a student must absorb all that he perceives like a sponge, and release it meaningfully by applying it to his or her life. We have lessons to learn every day, if only we keep our eyes open!

Teaching and Learning Depends on the Child’s Personality

Teaching and Learning Depends on the Child’s Personality

It’s important for those with the power of imparting knowledge to be responsible about how they perceive that information. In historian and philosopher Voltaire’s words we can sum that up as, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

As a teacher, I have realised that it’s imperative for a teacher to gauge their student – to understand their personalities, their ability to perceive, their inhibitions; a teacher must be an observer. Only once the teacher perceives their student, can they create a conducive learning atmosphere. For example, teaching method acting to students who are shy can be quite a challenge – it is possible that while an exercise requires the student to impersonate someone (or something – it’s dramatics!), it could come off as an attempt to challenge the student and his skills in front of his peers. He withdraws into his shell. While you thought getting him to speak in public would slowly make him confident, you have pushed him further deep into the rabbit hole. What he needs is attention, and what he’s getting is threats to his personality.

This brings us to the fact that students below the age of 17 are very impressionable, and have very strong views that a teacher is also responsible in moulding. Students in school are also easily and constantly affected by their social circle, and their mannerisms often reflect the same. All these traits influence their ability to grasp and learn – and it’s rather tricky for a teacher to analyse these traits and put forward the ideal solution for each student.

Taking from this, we must understand that each student has a unique perception, and is a unique permutation and combination of different traits. Thus, standardisation in teaching methods is necessary – because it is not humanly possible for a teacher to hold a class for fifteen students, and attend to each one’s needs individually. However, approaching a solution to a problem put forward by a student must be done taking into account the student’s perception of the problem. I thus find it easy to get into the student’s shoes, and try as hard as I can to empathize and provide a rational solution that will be perceived in the most ideal manner by my student.

Right from the moment a child enters Vidya Mandir, and till he leaves those gates, I make sure I know him/her really well. I do not believe in a factory process; I want to invest my time and energy into each and every individual who enters the sacred gates of Vidya Mandir.

Over the years, I have realised that every child has a different capacity to learn – while some may be fast learners, others may be slower or more passive; some students appear more curious while others seem silent, but attentive and aware. At no point do I want to impart education in a manner that only applies to the strain memory of the student. Thus, a creative solution to each problem becomes important. It is important to balance a predefined norm or technique with a unique and personalised method of teaching.

I conclude with the thought that teachers are the foremost opinion holders in a child’s mind – opinions and learnings that find them in their most vulnerable stage and will stay reappear, challenge them, or remind them at later stages in their lives.