EDUCATION AND LEARNING
A very favourite subject for essay writing in school is ‘My aim in life’. Students of, both primaries as well as middle classes are often given the topic for writing an essay on. The students also feel comfortable with the subject, because they know that writing about what sounds as an ideal aim in life, such as becoming a doctor, an engineer or a scientist would financially secure their future, would make a good essay.
At this stage of life a student is new entrant to the world of knowledge and learning. He is hardly exposed to the vast expanse of the field of knowledge and his own ability and capacity has not been put to any test, for him to be able to decide what is best for him, or in which field he could come out with flying colours. The only test that he is put through is the school exams, which is mainly a test of memory of what has been taught from the textbook and his ability to recall and reproduce it writing in a given span of time.
Obviously the aim of life a student writes about in his school essay is one set by his parents. Loving parents are anxious to secure their child’s future and in this regard they consider good education as the only ticket to socio-economic success in life. They, therefore make every effort to get their child admitted in a good school and then to persist upon the child to pursue his studies to the exclusion of all recreational activities and to do well in school exams.
It is getting good grades in the exams that become the focus of school education and for that matter college education. To this end he is sent to tuition classes, he buys and reads ‘guides’ containing probable questions for the exams and their model answers. The student is goaded to put in long hours of studies cutting upon his playtime. Some parents even go to the extent of administering the child with memory enhancing drugs, which are now aggressively advertised especially during the examination season.
Thus the whole process of learning has become exam focused. A student is evaluated on the basis of the grades he earns in the exams. Such demands made on a school student results in an exam phobia in the child’s mind. On the other hand, the aim of good education gets circumscribed by the limited expectation from education.
The expectation of the parents to do well in the exams which they think land their child with a good job in future is nothing but their unfulfilled dreams. Fulfilling the parents dream creating an undue amount of stress on studies and straining the students intelligence. Pushing them to perform better academically is doing more harm to them than good, because their faculty of creativity is getting relegated to the background.
Childhood is very precious time of life and cannot be wasted for some distant uncertain future goal. This is the time to the world around him to learn new things driven by his own inherent curiosity, to know, to discover, and to invent and go through structured and contrived learning processes. Left to his own instinct the child will be able to discover himself and relate with his world better.
Curbing a Childs playtime for studies makes a child hate studies all the more. Every child is born with infinite potential and the roles of the parents and teachers should be to nurture the potential in the child to its full. A child is not a lump of clay that can be moulded as per the parents’ wishes. He is like a bud of flower that takes its own time to bloom. One cannot hurry its blooming by pulling out the petals. Let a. child bloom in his own time and at his own pace. Let the choice of what is best for him be his own, based on his own feel and the experience of the world around.
Let him say — “I want to be a painter, a cricketer, an actor, a singer or a dancer . . . .”