One of the biggest myths which is a major determinant of the structure and ideology which forms the scaffold of our education system is the assumed need for directed instruction. The one belief Children need to be TAUGHT snowballs into the entire system of standardized teaching, rote learning, testing for recall, studying for marks, assessing academic success for college admissions and attaining a job; underlining our understanding of ‘an educated life’.
A layman’s wonder led me to question (unscientifically and informally, of course!) random people, educated and uneducated (in our sense of the word), to assess their expertise and success in their current fields of engagement; farmers, teachers, counselors, drivers, businessmen, artists and the like only to realize that there was absolutely no difference in expertise/ skill in their field to their status of education. The best teachers were led by passion and internal motivation, the drivers who knew every road of the city had no education, no man with the highest degrees knew crops and seasons like the farmers. This is not to say that education is of no importance. There is ample research to show education has a direct correlation with the overall quality of life, BUT learning does not always take place in classrooms.
This line of questioning also made me question myself on how exactly am I using the concepts I wrote papers on and scored what some could say fantastically well year after year. Only to realize I only knew how inertia is formed in words on paper but no real clue what it looks like in action or how I can use it in my daily life.
Maybe we get the inquisitiveness from our status as primates; we as a race are driven by curiosity and passion. As long as that fire is kept alive, learning will never see the end of the road. Maybe smoothening our edges on this belief can help change the face of ‘learning’ as we know it. De-standardization and non-directive learning might as well be the key we have long been looking for. For, if not pushed and probed to fall in line, children have the capacity to unveil the purpose of existence and the internal drive required to ace life.
By Neeti Singhal – Educational Specialist