Education

What is Education? John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdone in their book Re – inventing the Corporation said, “The job of education is to prepare students for life, a large portion of which is work. Yet here is a profound mismatch between what the wok place needs and what the schools are providing.” The system of education invented during he Industrial Era is proving horrendously inadequate for today, and will definitely be useless for the Information Era of the 21st Century. The 3 “R”s of old viz. Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, as they are made of the be – all and end – all of Education, they have become synonymous with Remedial, Repetitious and Rote. The fundamental building blocks of old have to be augmented with the 3 “R”s of the new era, viz. Thinking, Learning and Creativity (TLC), referred also to Tender, Loving, Care an element most essential to good education. These are concepts proposed by a system that see man only as an entity in this materialistic world and misses out on the role of education to him as an individual with social, moral and spiritual aspects that make him a complete human being. Therefore a forth element of Education in Human Values that build moral foundation has to be added if the society is to live in peace in the years to come. The need for this 4th dimension of Education is well summarized in an epilogue, a note from a principal quoted in Dr. Haim G. Ginott’s book “Teacher and Child.” “I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness: Gas chambers built by Learned Engineers, Children poisoned by Education Physicians, Infants killed by Trained Nurses, Women and babies shot and burned by High School and College Graduates, So I am suspicious of Education, My request is: Help your students to become human. Your efforts should never produce Learned Monsters, Skilled Psychopaths and Educated Eichmanns. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more humane.” Dr. Jum Sai, World renowned Thai scientist, who successfully designed he landing device for Viking now spending all his time on Human Value Education, says “The purpose of education is o achieve peace and happiness of human race. These can be achieved only if our children grow up deeply rooted in concepts of Love, Peace and Justice.” A Different View Education is NOT Preparation for Life, but it is Living Itself. Let us train our children to Enjoy everyday of their lives as they grow up with us in our homes and schools. Let them not miss out on the good things of childhood with dreams of chasing a mirage of the future. The future will take care of itself if we train them o make he best use of their TIME and TALENTS here and now. Literacy Vs. Education All literate men are not necessarily educated. All educated me are literate. The concept of real education is not only the filling of brain with information, but to train the social, moral, and spiritual aspects of ma which makes him a whole man. There are many literate men in this world who are very conscious of their RIGHTS but do not care for their DUTIES. They are ready to do anything to get to the top, even if it means walking over the dead bodies of his fellowmen. Our animal nature with unending wants, greed and with he principle of the jungle viz. survival of the fittest, we twist our tongues to ruin the reputation and fair chance of our neighbor and even go to the extend of literally killing our fellowmen to reach our greedy goals. Where did we develop this tendency? Man eater tiger cubs reared and brought up along with lambs did not learn and develop its supposedly innate killer instincts. If this is proven, do you think human infants are born with innate tendency to hate, cheat and hurt other human beings? Or do you think they learn all such habits like the good ones from older children or from us adults? Story of the child who stole a pencil from school and the parents’ reaction to it. “I could bring one from the office store.” Role Model of Parents. Children imitate their parents and teachers. They also consider tem infallible. For example, reading habits of children is directly proportionate to the reading habits of parents. Similarly on every good and bad

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habit children follow our example. Having analyzed all these factors, let us now turn our attention to the need of the hour, viz. how to develop in our children the modern 4 R’s viz. THINKING, LEARNING, CREATIVITY AND CHARACTER. 1. THINKING . Repeated test results on today’s working adults, and secondary school children, prove great weakness in all areas of thinking, logical reasoning, problem solving ability and inferential reading ability. We have come to this sorry state of affairs because of our overemphasis on MARKS (scores) in all examination systems. This has forced our children to deed on their mechanical and rote memory faculty to learn by heart all the contents and reproduce in examination to score high. Hey forget most of what they remembered this way soon after he examinations. Our schools today tell our children a lot of WHAT to learn and provide very little guidance HOW to learn. There are many ways to train our memory ad thinking abilities. One of the ways is to get children to ask WHAT, HOW and WHY on everything they learn. This helps to relate and compare and understand the subject rather than photocopy o record like in a floppy disk. Thinking is the ability to synthesize and make generalizations, to divide into categories, to draw inferences, to distinguish between fact and opinion in order to analyze a problem. Edward de Bono said, “Thinking has to with the way information is arranged and rearranged to make decisions, solve problems, create opportunities and raise human potential. Thinking is the most fundamental and important skill. Like all human skills, it can be learned and developed. Information is no substitute for thinking and thinking is no substitute for information.” In a world with over abundance of information, there is a danger of being buried under it, if we do not learn to think and sort them and use them to our advantage. Researches in St. Xavier’s

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University, New Orleans, and Totowa New Jersey have beyond doubt proven that developing thinking ability early in children improve their skill in Maths and Science significantly. To quote Nat Gancola, superindent of school, Totowa, “In our view critical thinking and ability to solve problems are the most important skills we can give our youngsters today.” 2. LEARNING (Life Long Learning) Most parents today force their children to take up either Medicine or Engineering or Accountancy without any consideration to the Aptitudes or Interest of the children. Most parents do not recognize the simple fact that Intelligence is inherited from with reference to their physical appearance; we do not hesitate to compare our children with other children when it comes to their intellectual performance. What we really need to do if we want our children to be successful in life is to inculcate in them love for Life Long Learning, a habit of curiosity, looking for new knowledge to keep up with the changing trends at least in areas related to their professional commitments. This can be done only if we parents set an example of we ourselves continuing to read and learn our lives. In advanced countries many college classrooms are filled with adult learners who are changing careers to keep up with the changing times. In India, Kerala has set a shining example by drawing old

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people in to free class rooms and making the state the most literate in India, and one of the best literate in the world. If today you find so many Keralites in the Middle East, the root goes back to 1957 when the Government ordered compulsory education for all children from five years of age. Children were given healthy lunch in the school free to attract children from the farms and the markets. The fruits are today. 3. CREATIVITY (Anthropreneurship) In today’s and tomorrow’s world it is the IDEA man who will have an edge over his fellow workers. Can Creativity be taught or learned? Yes. Categorically Yes. Early in life let the child be exposed to things around him and be allowed to explore them without fear, unless the item is likely to hurt the child. Encourage their questions of curiosity. Do not ask them to shut up when they ask questions that irritate us or we do not know the answer for. Least we can do is to show him how and where we can find the answers. He then picks up the clue and looks for information in future on his own. (Three year old asks why shadows have no color?) As they learn teach them to compare, differentiate, sort, group, etc. Also teach them to challenge the rules, critically examine the existing rules. If they show tendency to fall out of love with our rules of thinking, encourage them, as long as it does not trespass on to ethical and moral issues. Teach them to enjoy jokes, and crack jokes. Many a creative ideas have originated from jovial and funny situations. Research also indicates soothing music and exercises of relaxation and meditation encourages creative thinking. Many US schools today teach children to close their eyes and observe silence and mentally rehearse the activity they are going to do. This exercise like in case of Olympic athletes has proven to be very effective in improving their creative ability in all their academic and non – academic work. In fact the 4R’s of Los Angeles Public Schools today are Relaxation, Reflexion, Re-creation and Renewal. Creativity develops self-reliance and anthropreneurship. We need to develop men and women who are anthropreneurs who will create opportunities in life for themselves and employment for others. Instead of producing people who will stand in line for jobs, let us produce those who will seek out new avenues to create those jobs for the world. 4. CHARACTER (Moral Education) This is an old saying “If wealth is lost nothing is lost, but if health is lost something is lost and if Character is lost everything is lost.” It may sound like a mere joke to us moderns who care more about our materialistic gains at any cost and forget that our fellow men too have the same desires, goals and rights. We were not born with the negative ways; we have developed them instead of developing the positive things that Dr. Jum Sai speaks about. If our children pick up trends of jealousy, anger, hatred, prejudice, deceitfulness, we need not blame the society or anyone else except ourselves. (Child plays happily with even the venomous snake until we till him to hate it or fear it.) We have to develop the entire human child and make him more humane with a deep conviction in the providence of God and a commitment to the fundamental human values of love, peace and justice. Unless we set our example to our children to pick up this 4th R also along with the rest of the R’s we will have a world full of criminals who will kill each other instead of helping each other to make a happy and peaceful world in our old age.