November 29, 2017

Is teaching mandatory?

Every child naturally starts learning from his/her environment. Starting from birth, any child learns to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, walk, learns the primary language of his home, learns to do most of the house hold activities by just observing how his mother/father is doing. Every parent would definitely experience at least once in their child's young age,  that AHA moment, where, they realise that their child has picked up something even without being taught about it specifically. True?

Yes. Learning happens naturally. Where there is intentional living, heartful living, learning is bound to happen naturally.

As with most of the things that the child has managed to self-learn, the child will continue doing so with very little effort from the parent(just facilitate or guide) if the environment is set so. But, starting from when ABCs, 123s and other so called 'subject-related' matter is introduced at school, the parents and teachers, both begin to feel the pressure of whether the child would be doing whatever was supposed to be done. Every adult has her own targets to meet. But, unfortunately, this kind of set-up doesn't work for a child to learn. A child learns best naturally, when they are set free, when they are not bound by rules and restriction, when they are not confined to a specific place, specific time to do certain things and many other factors.

Recently, I heard a 4 year old saying to her friend 'Let me teach you, this is how we do it, and then you can do it that way'. Why should children be 'taught' only in a particular way. When you use the word teach, it is kind of, one tells and other follows. When both child and parent are involved in the process of learning together, the environment is totally changed. The teaching that happened in a monologue accompanied with frustrated replies at the umpteen number of questions that children ask is replaced with conversational set-up where parents learn how to actually learn and the child follows simply the intuition while learning.

To quote an example , DD1 loves to take the lead, form her own questions and solve it or pose question to me for me to answer. It had always happened that way. Once I ask her, 'we are on the third floor, we got down one floor, which floor did we reach now? (we were actually getting down stairs)' and she answers it, I tell her to question me for which she frames the question and knows its answer.

Children love to take the lead. Whether, ample opportunities are provided either at school or home is upto the teacher/parent, which usually does not happen, and cannot happen, because each one has their own targets to meet. The teacher has to finish a lesson in prescribed time, mother has to get the homework done in limited time. Where is the time left for exploration, questioning, learning ?

The one who explains(teaches) a concept understands better than the one who merely listens to what is being told(taught). The one who poses questions is in a better state of understanding than the one who merely listens to answers. For this kind of exploration to happen, children should be given ample time. Rushing things will not lead to meaningful living. Children should be provided with ample opportunities where they are encouraged to question, to learn by self, to be self-motivated to do something.

Mentioning another example, DD1 usually counts adds, subtracts quite quickly. In fact, every child is capable of this if the right environment is provided. By a mere look at dot cards or any objects, DD1 tells out the number. While playing, she plays with toys, sticks, cups, spoons, whatever comes in her sight, she keeps some of them in each room saying, one room is school, one outdoor play, one home and the like. Then, she quickly says, 'there were 5, one is in p room, I had 4, I put 1 in q room, now i have 3. Or, she would count the people at home at any moment and then say, we are 6 right, to which, I talk in my mind 'we are actually 3 here, should I say or just listen to what she says?', and boom she talks fast 'thatha at p place, mamma at q place, naanna at r place, we 3 here at home, so total we are 6, 3 at home and 3 outside home'. My face brims with a huge smile.

If you observe, a child has very powerful intuition and all their learning is intuitive, right from the moment of their birth. The same addition/subtraction when introduced in school, would begin with 'count 4 on your fingers, add 1, count all'. The intuitive learning is clearly replaced with the rote learning.

The joy of learning is lost when living is rushed. 

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