Saturday, 17 February 2018

Strive towards Ideal February, 2018

Every Subject of Learning makes human life better and empowered, let it be Science, Mathematics or Language (a system that consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so). These are the basic subjects of learning human education system holds in it. The analytical approach of mind gives the shape to these subjects. Lecturing, Demonstrating and collaborating with peer helps to develop understanding of these subjects through reasoning and discussion. There are methods of learning, which are natural like environment based, growth based, area specific, culture specific etc based on collaboration with the entities around and within us. These methods help in self refection as a major need. Self reflection on the level of outer and inner knowledge, within reasoning and beyond reasoning also come into play through the reflection of body, mind and soul. All the methods need tools which appeal to five basic senses and the sense beyond them. Art Based learning uses art as tool in this process of learning and art integrated learning includes art into learning working on the emotional intelligence, critical observation, creative ability and life skills of the children. Spiritual learning happens through internal search for knowledge which guides the intellect in us. Not only on self and life lessons but also social and world lessons. Story telling has always been a powerful tool to provide knowledge through prose, poetry, vocal, theatrical or becoming a story yourself. The child or human in us likes to relate to the characters, puppetry, theatre, film etc are mediums of experiential learning. Music touches the sense of hearing both sensually and spiritually. Fine Arts like painting or sculpting gives the experience of touch, vision and abstraction.  Metaphoric representations and Parables have always been the best way to touch the human heart which have been used as tools in most of the spiritual scriptures. We can give up the subject division but should never give up the constructive method of art, music, storytelling, games etc because learning is always connected to methods content can be infused into it. I have been observing the impact of humanizing education through alternate methods of thinkers like Jiddu Krishnamurthi, Rabindranath Tagore, Al Ghazali or Ibn Sina or Sufi Mystical Methods, Yogic Methods of education which have tried to show the deeper you go the possibility of true knowledge reaching you is higher or it is possible you end up in the superficial layers of truth or worse in the fundamentalist literal approach. The  kind of philosophy you choose in education can make a powerful impact on body, mind and spirit or leave you with the illusion of knowledge which is surrounded by ritualistic approach to learning, rote methods of education, materialistic perspective of knowledge and worse lack of persuasion and further seeking. Why didn't the major texts in the world come in the form of dull prose or equations why did they take the art's route of poetry and storytelling as in Quran, Psalms, Bible, Torah or Buddhist Parables. What we consider the mainstream education method today are nothing but a way of cutting the creative person inside and making all the same. Cutting diversity of thoughts and souls to one common path. Let it be the Western Education of Industrialization or Religious Methods of so called Religious Institutions whichever faith they belong to. Tribal Culture has been different to the farming culture and the modern industrial culture, the alternative method serves best as an option for the child to learn from and excel in the areas of interest and internal qualities they are born with. Gurus or Ustads or Teachers of all methods in the past used the alternative approach, though the eternal content and truth might be similar but all the children have different ways to approach it. If you cut a poet's romanticism and force him to be scientific in approach you will create more of one kind of machines which we keep calling humans. The above scenario is not only bad but very destructive. I always hoped to keep the education constructive and sustainable not destructive which is void of satisfaction, this hope allowed me to go deeper into not only the arenas of education philosophy but also into myself and my religious text. As Education makes future of this world, I see the storytellers and artists are as much needed to create more and more efficient systems as scientists and this might create satisfied societies in all subject areas whatever the child chooses to pursue. They can only choose when they are polymaths at the entry level of primary, secondary and higher secondary education. What will be the society when we see there is only one truth and people are just the seekers of it through different viewpoints. The teachers will become more efficient with these approaches of integration because they would be internally compelled to keep learning and being creative in their approach to satisfy the children's questions. The teachers should be compelled to be polymaths themselves and this will not only change how the children grow but also how the teachers impact the people around them. I am sure you will call me an idealist but if not approached from an ideal viewpoint no other view point can be reached. Because Ideal itself means "a standard to strive toward". I will strive towards it and keep hoping you will accompany me in this striving towards that standard.      

by Nuzhath M Syed                                                                                         

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