Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Teacher getting taught !

I had a wonderful experience the last week which I would love to share. I teach Geography at "Kaliyuva Mane". As you might already know, the school is based on the principle of freedom. Children have freedom to think and ask questions. It is a free school and most of the kids are rural dropouts.

But that seems to be a blessing in disguise.
The most crucial asset that any human has is his intellect. Unfortunately, most of the schools in Indian educational system believe that education is merely transfer on knowledge from book to mind.

Sometimes it is not even transfer of "knowledge", but transfer of a few sentences. This is in my view the biggest tragedy of India. This seems to be the root cause of all issues facing India. We have stopped questioning. We have stopped thinking.

Coming back to my experience at "Kaliyuva Mane", I was teaching Geography to a bunch of kids who will take up SSLC exams in a year. No, they are not in 9th class! Surprised ? Well, that is the uniqueness about this school. Children are divided into groups based on their current knowledge and there are no classes as such. Children learn, learn and learn. And take up SSLC exams in one go! So, I was teaching "Aravinda" group about "rivers of India". I was telling them that there are two river systems, North Indian & South Indian, and the usual stuff. And that the Northern river system is perennial, Southern is not, etc. When I mentioned about South Indian rivers getting dried up, pat came a question, Mahesha asked "Anna(Brother), why not connect the two of them?" !! I was dumb stuck. Before I could recover, Narayana interrupted with "Dumbo! don't you know? South India is at a height." !!

This is precisely what all great learned thinkers, scientists & policy-makers at the highest level are debating about ! They call in "Interlinking of rivers". These kids were having a similar discussion here. This incident removed all doubts that I had on the relevance of Alternate Education that Ananth sir of Divyadeepa preaches. We need children to think & this is what will make India a knowledge society. Not the 3G iphones or gphones that "dudes" and "babes" might show-off. This creativity needs to be encouraged & nourished. And only then can we hope to have a prosperous, peaceful & happy society!

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