After a year of my college, life has changed a lot. One of the change happening was that I had learnt to drive. So one afternoon I went to my old school to pick my mother up who was a teacher there. I reached school early and there was time to kill.
So I settled myself in one of the seats in front of a 10th standard classroom. On observing a little, I saw some boys busy in a fight, a bunch of giggling girls discussing something animatedly and a few of the kids engrossed in completing their assignments. Oh! And some were running wildly around the classroom. Suddenly the teacher entered the class. Immediately, they scampered off to their allotted seats and got their books out. Within next half an hour the mood of the whole room changed. A few were staring at the blackboard blankly. Some were passing chits, few were doodling. And one or two were asleep. I, on the other hand did something much more constructive. I brainstormed. The teacher was doing her job, but the purpose of the job was not being fulfilled. More than half of the class was not even listening to her. Why was it so?
Slowly and steadily, as I flexed my brain cells, the answer started coming to me. It was the foundation, the very beginning of education that was at fault. From the very first day these kids had declared studies as boring.
I recalled my kindergarten days in Japan, my very first step into education. For whole two years, I hadn’t touched books. We had no syllabus to follow and nothing to meet as a deadline. Instead, there were pets in the school. Pets of all sorts, geese, rabbit, crabs and what not, to keep us busy. They were not there just for amusement but to help us learn. We were given duties, to feed them and wash them. Even as young four-year-olds, we were given responsibility. There were story readings, activities, and the process of learning was made fun. On weekends, we were made to clean our own classrooms. The kids, teachers and parents, all worked together to make the school spotless. My mother, who is the product of the vigorous form of the Indian education system, was bewildered at the complete absence of books from the two year curriculum. While I was enjoying school, she was worried that I was lagging behind compared to my cousins who were being treated to Indian form of education. The education system there was far more relaxed, realistic and practical as compared to ours.
I continued pondering. When I looked at the classroom in front of me, I wondered if a question were to be asked to the students about what they did in class right after the lecture, most of them will be unable to reply. I looked at those few who were paying attention. The teacher had chosen her favorites and she was concerned with teaching only them. It didn’t bother her that the majority of the class wasn’t listening. They were “hopeless”; the staff room must have declared them. Hence there was an absence of proper connection between the teacher and the students.
A proper interaction is the best tool to work with when trying to click with the students, using the books, only for reference purpose, holding discussions in the classroom, encouraging students to speak up and teaching with the help of practical examples. It is necessary to understand the practicality of the text. Conducting plays and holding discussions. When students live the characters, they understand them better. Connecting whatever they’re studying to the real life would do the trick. Students and teachers need to understand the idea that studies can be enjoyed, if it gets interesting.
I was interrupted in my brainstorm. My mother was ready to leave. As I left I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that came to mind. Rancho’s dialogue from the movie 3 idiots. “In life, never go after success. Go for excellence. Success will come running after you”.