A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveller who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveller saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveller left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone. Knowledge is wisdom. However, the shortcoming with our current education system is that it befits teaching not learning.
Let’s evaluate our childhood. How did we learn the fundamental things such as how to walk, talk, eat and dress without being schooled or being taught to us? As adults most of what we learn comes from observation, drawing from experiences and in situations wherein we need to apply what we have gathered. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much or what is remembered is irrelevant.
Our current grading system rewards students who are good at memorizing rather than learning. Students traditionally mug things to pass examinations and forget it immediately later. Today, everyone realises and are aware of the fact that most of what is desired from them can be performed by machines such as computers and calculators. Why should children — or adults, for that matter — be asked to do something computers and related equipment can do much better than they can? Instead, why can’t we devise an education system that would focus on those things that humans to better than the machines. Why doesn’t education focus on what humans can do better than the machines and instruments they create?
Rote learning has been the foundation of our current system where students are not encouraged to question, to learn. A lot of digital platforms are challenging the existing status quo with interactive and customized learning for every student. GuruQ, a digital learning platform advocate that every child is unique and need customized learning styles that allow them to progress.
There are many different ways of learning; teaching is only one of them. We learn things on our own, from the environment and from other experiences. As individuals we pick a lot from interactions also (both formal and informal). This two-way sharing enables us to talk of learnings and hear from others. We learn a great deal on our own, in independent study or play. ‘Learning by doing’ is an age-old method learning by trial and error. Long before there were schools as we know them, there was apprenticeship — learning how to do something by trying it under the guidance of one who knows how. For example, one can learn more architecture by having to design and build one’s own house than by taking any number of courses on the subject. When physicians are asked whether they learned more in classes or during their internship, without exception they answer, “Internship.”
When it comes to our educational process, multiple options should be suggested to students. In fact, students could experiment between learning styles to understand what suits them best. They do not have to learn different things the same way. In the end, the objective of education is learning and not teaching so the student must have the flexibility to learn from where she intends to.