Friday, March 13, 2009

My learning…………….

I was not sure who will teach me what, how and why in my life in the past in even now. Why I am saying means I read an excellent piece in India-Seminar which bring some interesting questions and thoughts in “learning, edification, adult, child etc”. 

For example consider Sonia Kadyan article

  • “Throughout my education, the only thing missing was learning. I didn’t know where its limits might start. Maybe we learn to gain praise and appreciation from adults or to show-off to fellow learners. It may include the knowledge of everything, but from an adults’ perspective. 
  • I truly believe that the only place where one learns nothing is the school, and even if one does learn something there, it will be questioned sometime in the future,  
  • After schooling, whenever I was at a social gatherings, I simply stood silently, waiting to be commanded because that was what I had learnt in my school, i.e., to shut my mouth, do as I was told, and not use my brain. 
  • I don’t think that one can be such a bad learner that one fails to learn even 33 per cent of what is taught in 365 days and may fail again if given one more span of 365 days to learn it again. Surely it makes one doubt the things required to be learnt and definitely the person involved in teaching it. It is not a child’s fault if she frequently fails to learn a concept, totally alien and meaningless to her. 
  • I was permitted by the school authorities to go and sit in room number 8, class I-B, roll number 37. I was handed over to some adults called ‘teachers’ who appeared to be mentally and physically sound. I had to call them ‘madam’ or ‘sir’ depending on their voice and the kind of clothes they wore, though they had the right to call me the way they pleased. I had to respect them no matter how much they humiliated me. 
  • Going to school, carrying all the knowledge tools in my bag, still remains a mystery to me. I wonder why I had to go to school if all I had to learn was in my school bag itself. Teachers simply read to us from books and took tests; wasn’t this something any child can do once she masters literacy skills? As far as comprehension and implication of a concept are concerned, these were never valued by any teacher. 
  • Everything was funny and strange at school, like eating only when the bell sounded, opening a book to read a piece of given knowledge only when the clock said or the teacher demanded. Some of my classmates would cry hard, wanting to go back home as if they had come to school at the cost of their ongoing top secret inventions. I disliked those long assemblies in the morning. I remember sweating profusely, about to faint on a hot morning, still praying, eyes closed, to someone whom I had never known and whenever I opened my eyes I found the teachers standing by as if I had just finished worshipping them. After one week, my actual class teacher came to me, held my ear and pulled me to I-B, shouting that it was there that I was supposed to sit and learn
  • Then began my journey to be an ‘ideal student’. An ideal student is one who listens the most, questions the least, and never shows individuality.......... 
  • All I did was to wake up early at the cost of my wonderful dreams and thoughtful imagination, walk into a scary building, sit there, stuck to the place allotted, continuously staring at the teacher in order to convey that I was listening to the nonsense syllabus articulated by her. I would sit there for six hours, six days a week, waiting with all concentration for the last long bell that would convey the end of yet another dull part of the day. 
  • How could I risk my life simply to know the school building fully, when every time one tried, one faced the highest probability of meeting a heartless devil given charge of keeping children inside their allotted cells?.......... 
  • Recess used to be the most threatening time of the day when adults went out of sight, to their caves, leaving children free to be on their own. This was the time when students, who pretended to be passive, adult-operated machines became active and alive – leaders, followers, enemies, explorers and social workers. I hated recess as it required me to show off my hidden potential to amaze other children and gain entry into their world. But how could I betray the adults? I chose to follow them and preferred sitting motionless at my place. I was practicing to turn myself into a mindless robot working on their demand. 
  • In the very first grade I was made to believe in my inability to do anything on my own. There I found out that there is one teacher while there are forty students; the teacher can’t possibly give time to all of them but all forty students must give all their time and everything to that teacher. 
  • Once my Hindi teacher asked us if we could recall all the Hindi consonants in the right order. At once I looked at the floor, hoping that she wouldn’t see me. I was lucky as her eyes fell on a boy. What a brave boy he was; he questioned her if she herself knew all the consonants. This was enough to bring out the devil in her. All she could think of in retaliation was to shout and punishing him for having dared to question her knowledge. In the end she left us speechless by reciting all the Hindi consonants in the exact order. I wonder why it matters if one can utter the alphabets in the correct order or even know them while one is not allowed to speak one’s mind, think what one wants, or say what one feels”. 

PS: I have never carried a bag, water bottle, even some time the authorised books, no uniform but walked 20 Km daily up and down by side seeing the farm field, mountain, men at work, cattle field till grade 12 with my mind. But I was asking myself what is the purpose of learning, why one should learn all which are learned by adult, etc. It took another few years to understand these questions.

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