We started a new journey; Vijay Chahriyar from IIT Delhi is teaching us human-centred design. Till now it has turned out to be the most productive course for me – as he connected us to people who are working for the grassroots. It’s usually a late realisation in everybody’s life; we keep reading stuff in our rooms, and we tend to evade human interactions or take people and environment around us for granted.
We try to limit ourselves inside closed spaces. We read articles or books, but instead what one should do is to engage in lively conversations with people out there in the real world. I mean, most of us happily read about endemic of a leper in and around our social spaces in books and research papers, and we keep ignoring the colony living nearby where there might be real humans suffering from this deadly disease.
We, humans, are walking books; our interactions are as rich as scholarly papers.
Our professor took an alternate road to teaching.
The historical, institutional, deeply wired dominating pedagogic methods demand a lot of physical hard work from us. We qualify as good students if we produce lots of assignments in the form of oppressive outputs like PPTs and academic papers. He gave us freedom; freedom to learn or grasp things like the way we wanted. He even went on to say that we can produce our final assignments in the form of street show, a Qawali, or any other possible output. We were also shown a Canadian short film with the title: The Necktie.
The protagonist was completely lost in the world of responsibilities, job and performance. He had a monotonous, programmatic lifestyle whereby he had to reach his office strictly on the time, sit on the desk for hours and then again walk to his home. He had a passion yet his mindset didn’t allow him to pursue that. He wanted to be an accordion player and eventually, he mustered courage and followed his passion.
All our life we tend to work on the dreams or desires of people who don’t understand us, who just want material output from of us, or to put it politely, who expect us to be independent and self-sufficient. Their intention may be to help us or make us independent, but as it turns out we lose ourselves in picking their aspirations as our life projects.
Not only do we suffer entire life, but we destroy our identity.
Vijay sir, unlike other instructors, gave fewer PPTs. He thinks this method constitutes the most oppressive form of pedagogy. As a matter of coincidence, I have been reading Pedagogy of Oppressed, which basically has this underpinning thought that our educational setup had rendered the whole population of students to mere passive recipients of knowledge. A species which is asked to remain shut until the PPT is finished. To include my experience: it is highly cumbersome to remain utterly fixed to a lecture when PPT is used as a method of instruction. Student fakes seriousness masquerades attentiveness to appease teacher, a knowledge seeker does that to maybe get good grades, but it never helps the root cause of that PPT being there in the first place, and that is to enlighten, to add value.
All said we were, after three days, introduced to the world of PPTs again. This time it was full of philosophical, intellectually enriching stuff. There were only four slides, and it was about how to go about various incidents that happen in our lives.
The mantra reads EASE, whereby ‘E’ stood for enjoying the process, ‘A’ was about to accept what is currently unpleasant, ‘S’ meant to sip the inner silence, and ‘E’ meant to evolve to integration at the level of being.
This article was first published on Anant National University Blog