Sunday, January 27, 2008

Learning to Liberate

Basics of creativity are still the same. Young kids at Akanksha Foundation (working on making education a pleasant experience amongst less previleged kids at Pune) could learn the deft knife movements on car papers to create these beautiful paper bags. Sonali, the volunteer teacher at this center just showed them this once and kids could pick up the skill in no time. It was amazing to see then the body of work around Japan, kids could generate and learn. No amount of class roon teaching, not even digital lessons would have helped this unless they immersed themselves in creating charts and props and interactive games on Japan.
In a path breaking step, this foundation wrote to schools around the world to join this initiative make kids of their school to become pen pals of Akanksha kids. It was amazine to see schools world over responding with zest to this call. Soon the letters were flowing across the borders. It was not emails, mind you, but hand written real emotion filled letters. I think there are some basics which are not going to go away. Teaching and learning- education over all, has some basic goals- as Krishnamurthy says- "to liberate". Unless education liberates the mind, there is no education. When we were conducting design research on an education portal for a world software giant recently, we found that how Indian kids are passively busy with tuition classes, hobby classes (forced by parents), TV watching and home-works....there is not time for time for SYNTHESIS....Parents are busy, so are kids. Every one wants to be the topper of the class and at the same time, speak smartly in the gatherings....Race to the top begins early in the childhood, leading to very very fragile nervous system by the time child grows up to become the citizen of the country. Education system in India needs an overhaul. Overhaul towards a more open, playful, interactive and real experience based learning. When will schools learn this. When will parents learn this?