PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION
“My Ideal School! Is it possible, Sarvaa?”
All through dinner, Prachana was deep in thought but gists of excitement made her jumpy. But unlike her usual self, she was too silent that day. Gowri and David kept looking at her and then at each other with some concern thinking what could have happened to her.
Without any warning, she looked straight at David and Gowri with excitement and exclaimed, “I want to start a school!”
That was quite an unexpected expression from a home-schooled girl. Her confused parents looked at each other and asked “What happened? What gives you such an idea? You don’t like home-schooling?”
Prachana smiled at them with full-on excitement and said “That is the point. I want to start a school where even I would like to go and study!” Though not fully convinced, both her parents gave a forced smile. Prachana understood that they were not convinced.
Prachana continued “Haven't you heard some filmmakers say, they want to make films they would themselves like to watch? Right?” David nodded slightly. Gowri was not sure. Both didn’t have a clue where she is getting to.
Prachana concluded by saying “A school that provides the ideal way of learning.”
Her parents were still unsure what she said. But they didn’t want to discourage her. They together said, “Okay, tell us more about it.” They both laughed at the timing.
Prachana said, “Wait. Have some patience. I am still in the process of processing that in my mind. But I am sure there are ways to set some standards.”
She suddenly stood up and ran to wash her hands shouting the famous Cartoon line, “That’s all, Folks… for today!”
Both David and Gowri felt happy that their daughter had started thinking of making a difference for beyond herself.”
The excited Prachana could not sleep for some time. She held the pillow tight and slept off. The grip on the pillow eventually loosened.
The room brightened up and Sarvaa, bending down, slowly pulled out the pillow from her hands so that she could sleep comfortably. Prachana woke up and tightened her grip on the pillow and smiled at Sarvaa saying “I was expecting you. I need your help.”
Sarvaa stood straight and said ‘So you want to start a school where even you would like to enroll.” Then Sarvaa turned to sit on the chair. Then stopped. Prachana nodded still lying down hugging her pillow. He said “Sit straight if you want me to talk. Prachana was surprised how Sarvaa knew that she was still lying down. She sat up on the bed immediately with the pillow on her lap.
Sarvaa said “Listen, Child. A school is all about the Teachers who teach there and Teachers need to be supported by a sensible curriculum.” Prachana agreed by nodding.
Sarvaa continued “It all starts at the age above six and continues beyond age sixteen.”
Prachana said “Yes, Sarvaa. Grade One to Grade Twelve. The formative years in learning. The so-called School Days.”
Sarvaa smiled in appreciation and said, “And the School is supposed to help the children to progress from where the child enters the school to that desired state of mental and physical development.”
Immediately Prachana responded “But then, what I have understood is that School can give only very little in the areas of learning of home language, social interactions, attitudes, community consciousness, and the physical development almost entirely! Schools cannot be credited with any of that, right?”
Sarvaa said “You are right to a certain extend. What they teach in school cannot stand on its own without the natural process of maturation and social living.”
Sarvaa continued “So, what the school curriculum should address is the development of capabilities life skills, knowledge, and information and dispositions like attitudes and values.”
Prachana asked Sarvaa “But how can my school cater to all the skills and all the knowledge and all the information, all the positive attitudes and all the values? Is it not too preposterous to assume like that? Children come to the school with very different capabilities and attitudes.”
Sarvaa said, “That is where the choice of your school comes.”
Prachana countered “But then, I cannot discourage something and encourage something else. That is ridiculous.”
Sarvaa said, “That's where your judgment comes in. You, as an educator, need to have a clear and visible aim so that you can choose intelligently. You need to foresee what the outcome should be for the children. And that functions in three ways.”
Prachana’s eyes brightened. She knew something is going to come, Sarvaa's pearls of wisdom! She waited.
Sarvaa continued “Firstly, observe the means available to achieve the objectives and forecast the hindrances on the way.”
“Secondly, whatever you teach, it should have a proper order or sequence of what and when to teach.”
“Thirdly, find out alternative paths and evaluate and compare their effectiveness to the desired objective.”
Prachana, very happily raised her hand requesting Sarvaa to allow her to conclude what she understood.
She said, “Acting with an aim is nothing but acting intelligently.” They both smiled at each other.
Sarvaa said, “Prachana, you have a long way to go and this is a good start in your desire to make a school that even you would like to be a student.”
Prachana stood up and hugged Sarvaa and said “Sarvaa, as long as you are with me, I will be successful in my mission.”
When she woke up, she realised that she was hugging her fluffy second pillow. She smiled heartily and got up with a clear aim in her mind.
End of Insight #15
Reference : Rohit Dhankar’s paper ‘from Class Room to Aims’ & John Dewey’s ‘Democracy and Education’