Monday, March 9, 2009

Siksha Adhoori II [Education Incomplete II]

I don't know how many of you read my with the same topic earlier ,If not read please do read it here at . These are just some more random thoughts on the way education is visioned among us. I'm not a John Holt to discuss practical proofs of alternate educational system or I'm not a educational activist who've worked a lot in developing alternate education, but as a victim of the current one or the conventional one which is believed to be the best, I have all rights to put my views / voice together. I was pretty disappointed to receive opinion from only one of my friend in my earlier writings which was on Education. Given the fact that quite a few friend of mine are into education, teaching et al., I expected more. Comments apart, lets get into the argument of the issue.....
I remember a conversation which I had with my mom when I was in my class 3rd or 4th [don't remember precisely]. I would briefly elaborate the crux of it. I used to sing [rather remember] most of the tamil movie songs and used to keep singing at home. On that day when I was studying a tamil poem from my book and was reciting the poem to mom. I made several mistakes and she stopped me to point out that I remember movie songs but not this tamil poem which only had 5 lines in it. Without much of a delay I said her that probably I'll remember these lines too if it was presented like a song with some music in it. All I could earn for the comment was an angry look and a few scoldings. Later I also got to hear a few of the songs from my books were composed in some movies / music album [thiruvasagam for eg] is recited by children without any flaws. I hope most of us agree to this fact, but still when we teach [at least I can comment this keeping in mind my fellow volunteers who teach], we still follow the old conventional methodology of black board teaching.
I might not be the right person to write the way of black board teaching is wrong as I don't do teaching myself. I have my reasons for not doing so, but when we are together working for a betterment [I particularly write these lines for my fellow volunteers at AID who are into teaching], what difference are we making in the system by ourselves which we [at least a few I have interacted with have felt] feel not worth it. At the end of the day we still are following the same black board teaching in which we tend to make the children sit in a line, listen to us, copy down what we write on the board, give them home work, shout at them if they talk to thier mates while we teach and also tend to ask them to leave the class or stand up in front of others. The only difference we make is to give some extra love and affection which we didn't get in our classrooms. Beleive me given a class of 80 odd children any teacher would not be able to provide that love and attention to every child. I again stress this that there may be questions araised on me saying that why don't you do it rather than writing?, but friends I have my own reasons for not doing it and to put it clear I don't want to teach seeing the conventional way followed.
I would definitely appreciate if the people who are teaching starts the experiment themself and observe the changes around. At the end of the day why is education?. To make a doctor? to make an engineer?, come on I believe 80 % of the engineers who are coming out with a degree don't know why they are engineers rather the insitution which produces the engineers doesn't know why they produce them. Rather I also get a question in my mind is Education a solution or a problem altogether?
All I could see is Education as a problem rather than a solution, I might not be albe to put this in words at this time as I'm not able to frame up my thoughts rightly with valid justifications but my post on Education would keep continuing and I'll discuss more. For the time being I request my fellow volunteers who teach to think and argue of why they should come off from conventional way of teaching. Meanwhile I'd also recommend people to have a watch at Sikshaantar's Schooling the World movie. My next visit is scheduled to Sikshaantar soon and I'll share my views after my trip there :).

P.S : All the views expressed are purely the authors thoughts and it has nothing offensive with anyothers. People who still appreciate conventional way of teaching is the best are surely welcome to put their arguments..... :). Lets debate!!!!


Kunal Chandra said...

I would say it is a good post but i think it could have been more courageous. Dont be afraid in suggesting more fundamental changes to education one of which is the whole timing thing. The "complete it all in 12 years" model is useless. When physics was being developed Newton and Galileo and Kepler did not tailor it for a 2 year course. They took their own time to discover it and now we want to feed all that into kids just to earn money at a rapid pace. What could be more farce than this?

selva ganapathy said...

:).. right Kunal.... the series of Education Incomplete is yet incomplete... probably with time when I keep writing I might be in a position to pin point issues and talk about it... it might look odd if I discuss something in which I don't have enough of knowledge and my sayings should not be arbitrary :).....

yes I agree with the fact of Newton and Galileo and still we read about people like Edison who were school drop outs :P.....

Aashiq said...

Hi Selva,

Yes, even i see that many times, our ways are exactly same as formal factory schooling. I feel that that is because we volunteers are product of that very system and have experience of only that conventional system. To break away will require far more effort and imagination.

But more important for me is the discussion regarding why and what to teach.
As u mentioned abt factory produced clue less engineers like me, similarily arent we teaching , just to give kids a better chance of employment later in their life ?
Is baisc literacy the only thing that we need to be teaching and focusing on, and does that help in any way ?

Selva, waiting fr ur next post...


Anchit Goel said...

Hi Selva

Nice post and i do agree with your points. But what I would like to say is that things have started changes, these days children in many schools are not taught just by using conventional methods but many innovative ways which include music, toys and games are used to teach the children. I remember in my school a special lab has been setup to teach maths to children, where children are taught maths through practical experiments and modelling techniques.I agree this is mostly confined to the big private schools but things have started to change and government will soon adopt some of these innovative methods into the regular teaching curriculum.

As far as AID-NCR projects are concerned I do think all of us use some innovative ways to teach the children and make them understand things. Last week only, me, puneet, nitin, anshul and munish were planning to buy some musical keyboards to teach alphabets to the children.

I do agree with you that teaching is of no use unless and until children learn how to apply and use their learnings and visualize the same in their real life.

Great Going...Selva..

Waiiting for your next post..


In Serch of ...... said...

partially correct write up with many scattered thoughts :) as per me without any offence :) !!

As per my understanding Volunteers who are teaching are trying their own ways and they learn the innovation with time if they are actually inclined to teach.. atleast I try to make class a fun as well as a disciplined activity.. About the innovation you are talking these are much needed certainly but everything is a target based work here and we need to work accordingly.. And sometime things go monotonous, I agree on that.. But actually speaking how many of volunteers do home work themselves to teach ??? not many ,only few one's .. Volunteers take teaching as an casual activity, they go there and teach anything they know or some basic topics from maths,hindi,english etc..But what i feel teaching requires greater level of dedication and understanding..

If we talk about AID then as per me teaching is not at all "ABCD" and "1 2 3 4" .. For me the Moral values, Hygiene , Stories, Chat , listening to kids ,Drawings etc comes more prior than "ABCD" or "1234 "... If we talk about education system then I agree on a point which i saw on the movie "Schooling the World" send by Abhinav. We are making education as a tool to get good money and to be a corporate servant or slave of industrialization. Present Education is not able to impart feeling of compassion and cooperation .

But yes i would like to say one more thing that we blindly can't blame every aspect of class-room teaching methodologies .Somewhere this system infuses many good quality as well and we are the product of the same ..

So let's make a parallel system first so that present system can be blamed the !!!

Sherebanu said...

Nice thoughts Selva-man!

I think back to elocution, where we held our hands together on our stomach and belted out meaningless (to us, at least) poems without feeling, and then I think back to the old days where everyone quoted Ghalib, Faiz, Kabir without a thought - what have we done to our systems of wisdom?

Keep on with the writing.

Gouri Chugh said...

I remember in Class 5th when we were being taught how to make angles using a D, I made a few incomprehensible figures and wrote obtuse angle below one and A Cute Angle below another. The teacher made fun of me and all the children in class laughed and didn't explain my mistake. This added to my fear of mathematics. Sometimes, i feel what have I learned in a formal school system where I wasted 14 years of my life? Iam still lazy, still indisciplined, still cannot read for hours, still don't remember any history, chemistry, physics or geography that I gulped to puke in exams. The only things that have helped me are my communication and presentation skills. It's not just how things are taught, but what is taught to a child? As Krishna Kumar puts it, "What is worth teaching?" So, education I feel (in the modern times) becomes nothing but a more sophisticated manner of presenting your ignorance.