Guiding Light of The Month

It is the harmony of boundless Love, Love victorious over all suffering and all obscurity. By this law of Love, Thy law, I want to live more and more integrally; to it unreservedly I give myself. And all my being exults in an inexpressible Peace. - The Mother

What Education Means to Me

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” - Leonardo da Vinci. ‘Education’ - This is a word that can initiate a spirited discussion everywhere. Educationists, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, poets, writers, artists, teachers and parents have expressed their views on this important topic with authority. Students of all ages – babies, toddlers, teenagers and adults are impacted by these views and theories.

As a teacher and school principal and more importantly, as a parent, I have taken a keen interest in the principles and practice of education for the past four decades. Education is the process of complete partnership between the teacher, student and parents. Unless all of them are in good sync with each other, the objectives and outcomes would be in disharmony and thus results would not be as successful as desired.

A mother is the child’s first and most important teacher. The first five years of a child are the most crucial in his life – the natural curiosity at this age aids learning at a fantastic speed. The child’s brain is like a sponge which absorbs all inputs it receives. Numerous experiments conclude that it in this stage that the most important seeds of joy of learning can be planted. Children can even learn three to four languages in early childhood with ease!

A study conducted in India showed that only 56% of the teachers believed that the education system was efficacious in making an impact on the life of the learner. The implication is that a considerable proportion of the teaching force in India believes in this. Perhaps it is a crucial time to ponder over holistic education. All-embracing holistic education helps to lay the foundation for learning and development throughout life. While subject-related knowledge is necessary, it is important for parents and teachers alike to remember the significance of fun activities in enhancing the joy of the learning experience for students. If the teacher can trigger a spark of interest in the students, the rest is easy.

It is vital for us to realize the importance of helping children imbibe values and life skills all through their schooling years. In my school, I encouraged my faculty to draw up a ‘Values’ curriculum that spanned from pre-primary to senior classes. This was not taught as a separate subject but was inter and cross-disciplinary. Integrated in all the subject classes and even the activity classes like music, art, physical education and library - all the teachers reinforced the value of the month through simple yet powerful activities. Thus, we laid the seeds of values like sharing, caring, respect, independence, humility, peace, tolerance, cooperation, honesty, unity, happiness, etc. in the fertile minds of our students in a fun and creative way. Positive feedback from parents, teachers and students on the impact of this programme encouraged us to strengthen it further.

I conclude with the words of J. Krishnamurti: “Right education should help the student, not only to develop his capacities, but to understand his own highest interest.” - Dr. Anju Aditya

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