Both, the process of research and content of research, demand re imagination as this has to be brought into the experiential paradigm. This means experience based research and not reading based research. Reading can be done but after creating an experiential basis to 'understand' the written matter. The researcher is a learner and not a believer of experts however right they may be. This is important because ultimately the processes happening with in the knower are more important than the 'knowledge' they are dealing with.

It is our work with children that brought about this total shift within our understanding and a realization that educational system needs to be re organized if we want to stop creating clones with Phds. The present paradigm of research on children is based on the premise that children need to be taught and we know what to teach and the only missing link is the 'how' to teach. We also assume that we are capable of teaching children. This is what has been going on from the time modern schooling was established. The question we ask set the total journey. The notions, assumptions, methods, etc

Sadhana village school experience

From our work with children (3 years to 12years) for three years at Sadhana village school we have come to some conclusions that could be of use to people who are truly concerned about the overall development of the child in a natural manner.

We are seeing potential for fresh research to understand the integral nature of the child, integral nature of the content and the way cognitive structures/ process is formed.

The fact is, children want to understand the real world, real contexts of where ever they are located and they are also equipped to understand this within their socio cultural frame work. The real world consists of people, natural and social processes, materials, products etc. It means the children want to know what the world looks like (FORM), feels like (MATERIALITY), what and how they could be in the world (PROCESS/ PHENOMENON). This is the case not only with seeing but other senses also. So the sound of the word is its form- how something is uttered- and the meaning of the word is the hidden element.

Learning is a process that is done by all living beings - like reproduction and digestion- and sustenance of life seems to be its purpose. These are governed by inherited biological rules and the external conditions. Naturally the process and content of learning would also be related to this. This is the primary aspect of learning. The primary cognitive source is the real world as it is and not its explanation. Primary cognitive process is dictated by the biological aspects.

Modern schooling is dealing with secondary cognitive source- language and hence the secondary cognitive tool- reason- gets awakened and developed. Both are in fact good for communication of secondary information, description and is of no use in primary cognition.

Modernity misleads the child in every way by masking the real world from the child. The real world/ natural phenomenon is removed from the experience of the child and is replaced by engineered and miniaturized reality (physical and conceptual) and then the child learns that as the reality of the world. Schools cordon off the world from the child and hence the child is quarantined from true knowledge and creativity. The cyclic, regenerative aspect of life is removed from the experience of modern childhood. They only see the end product and never the process. It is natural then to have more nouns among modern literate people where as the language of non literate have more verbs.

Why to be in the world, How to be in the world and What to do in the world are three fundamental questions that can be used as basic premise in the explorations. Why relates to value- the ethical dimension, how relates to action- the aesthetic dimension (beauty) and what relates to the reality- the cognitive dimension. So all actions are necessarily rooted in value, beauty and truth. Research possibilities based on our observation.

  • 1. Integral nature of aesthetic cognitive structure- which means knowledge process and aesthetic sense are developed simultaneously- in fact value is also an integral aspect. The feeling and shaping is as much part of trying to understand the world through exploration.
  • 2. Children feel contentment and completeness all the time.
  • 3. Non dualistic nature in children- children experience the world as integrated
  • 4. Autonomous learning is part of natures design/ intent.
  • 5. Individual and collective- collective
  • 6. Harmony is natural
  • 7. Feeling of mine is absent, attachment and possessiveness are constructed
  • 8. Self motivation in children
  • 9. leadership and follower-
  • 10. Co ordinated co operation as the way children naturally work together and suborinated co operation is imposed on children by the so called democratic society.
  • 11. Gender awareness
  • 1. Drawing as a cognitive tool to understand and describe the world around. This helps them to observe and describe the world as well as reflect their experiences. Drawing also helps the child to abstract as converting the three dimensionality of the world to two dimension is an act of abstraction. Children's initial drawings capture the essence of things. They move from simple line drawings to three dimension in three stages. In the context of history of writing drawing did occur and may be the child re live the history of mankind in some manner(?)
  • 2. Awakening and Development of co operation in children- children work together provided the condition exists. Children work together neither as leaders nor as followers. Autonomy or respect for each other seems to be the natural tendency.
  • 3. Language development in children in a paradigm of autonomy and self learning. The language is nothing but description of the world as well as the way the world functions.
  • 4. Making, shaping, forming- the need for materials from which children can re make the world
  • 5. Sense of wonder to the immensity and mystery of nature/ awakening of sacredness
  • 1. Senses are the tools that connect children to the outer world and awaken the inner world.

  • 1. First lesson child learns is to take care, to love etc and the first teacher is the mother. So value is being learned by experiencing it.
  • 2. language is not the content nor source of knowledge but a tool for identification, signification, organization, communication and articulation
  • 3. The laws that govern life/ nature is what is called as science and this governs the structure of language. Grammar of language is connected and governed by 'science'.
  • 4. Perception and awareness of the mathematical principles- structure- of nature
  • 5. Real world as primary cognitive source and experiencing as the primary cognitive action and language as secondary cognitive source and reasoning as secondary cognitive tool.
  • 6. There is explicit and tangible content as well as implicit and intangible content- exploration to understand them and child also learns in both realms- explicit and implict.
  • 7. Integral nature of content & integral nature of the knower
  • 8. Reasoning is not a cognitive tool and constant use of reasoning inhibits intuition, creativity, insight etc.
  • 9. Art as a separate subject needs to be re evaluated as beauty is fundamental to all knowledge and so is creativity.