Introduction: In this post I have tried to elaborate that knowledge has little value if it does not teach us sensitivity towards fellow human, environment and emotions of other people. Besides, I am advocating that the aim of education should be to initiate thought and encourage curiosity rather than just providing answers .
What is education? In technical sense, Wikipedia defines it as the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. To me, in a broader sense it means, harmonious development of physical, mental, moral , and social dimensions associated with life and educating someone else symbolizes an effort to create the desire in another human being to be a whole and meaningful person .
The aim of Education is to develop a love for learning that remains throughout a lifetime . Sadly, the word education is now limited to academic and technical development that is orientated to train a human to get a job with fat salary. The result and destination has come to mean so much, that in journey, we fail to learn how to process the accumulated knowledge .Education fails to teach us how to make use of acquired knowledge creatively to become a better human and better citizen. It fails to teach us how to react rationally and how to accept things on the basis of reason . It has led to formations of opinion that are not based on thoughts. How correct was Charlote Bronte who wrote “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among rocks. What dominates in contrast today is theory, which declares that “everything from the neck down is minimum wage. Therefore, we have to develop everything from the neck up”.
A casual observation, of the manner in which, an average youth of country talks, drives and reacts is enough to let one know that education has failed us in every possible sense. An observant look at the manner in which primary class children and in contrast senior class children, proceed to their classes after school assembly might tell you , what I mean.
But, The aim of this post is not to elaborate about the state we are in .The issue is what do we do to better this situation ? We , specially the educators and parents have to be self critical in analyzing why the things are the way they are ? In words of Carl Jung : "If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves." As a teacher and parent I have a few ideas that I would like to share.
1.More than words it is the meaning that matters: Let us not limit the ambit of subject ,what I mean can be better explained with example , while teaching concept of circular motion and deriving the formula for banking of roads one can very easily show that why taking a fast or a sharp turn is dangerous and a small talk on importance on adhering to traffic rules for safety of self and others can always be done without disturbing the rhythm. A lecture on thermodynamics can well be merged with global warming and ecology . let us accept that a student these days is not prepared for sermons we should learn to combine sense with the rhetoric
2.Be a benign dictator : I may sound old fashioned but I think the children are too young to decide about what is good or bad for them. As a parent it is a responsibility to teach our children the acceptable code of conduct in a civilized society . A school of thought advocates becoming friends with your offspring and students but I think one should be friendly without becoming friends. One has to draw the line and firmly come down on whatever is not acceptable.It is appalling to see teachers promoting and accepting mediocrity to be popular with naive minds .It is assertion, not aggression or submission that holds the key, an authoritative teacher cannot connect with students and a submissive teacher, it seems, is always trying to win some popularity contest.
3.Nurture your children: every baby that comes into this world is like an angel, pure and innocent .It is the responsibility of every parent to preserve that innocence in the child. A responsible parent has to know the difference between pampering and loving.The thing a child deserve most is your quality time. Home is the first school of every child and mother the first teacher. Influence of parents and their acts leave ever lasting impressions on minds of children .all of us know about famous scientist Thomas Edison who gave us electric bulb and phonograph was categorized as dumb and was rejected by school . It was the commitment of her mother who refused to accept this judgment and taught him at home.On the other hand a mother to obsessed with drugs and violence gave the world a most pathetic serial killer named Henry Lee Lucas. I think the last statement of serial killer Tedd Bundy before the firing squad says it all “Killers like me are no different from your children and your husbands , you continue to spoil their childhood and you will continue preparing killers like me.”
4. Encourage expression : In my classes I generally ask students to tell me their understanding of what is taught to them, from layman’s point of view. How will they explain the taught concept to a person who has no knowledge of physics in five simple lines .This is to make sure they understand the meaning rather than just going through the rituals of manipulating the symbols to derive the formula. I firmly believe that it is the thought that separates a human from a trained animal and there is a drastic need to to encourage that. It is so disappointing that there are hardly any contributors whenever a significant topic is taken for discussion on internet forums and radio .One should learn to show feelings because suppressing them is like suppressing truth. Martin Luther King so rightly said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. This leitmotif “Nothing is going to change” in young minds is so wrong. The fact is things change and they change drastically when minds and hands revolt.
5. Bring the human angle to education: Education for what ? This world does not need more "successful" people .What it needs are more 'sensitive" people who also believe in putting their thoughts into action in their own small ways. What world desperately needs are more peacemakers, poets, painters ,teachers and lovers of humanity . It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane and , these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.
These are just a few things that I could think of I would appreciate if you, the enlighten reader, can educate me a bit more on this.