IDEAL, LONG TERM PROPOSAL & COMPROMIZED, SHORT TERM PROPOSAL SCHOOLS NEED TOBE RE IMAGINED AS A SPACE FOR LEARNING/ EXPERIENCING THE REAL WORLD AND WITH OUT ANY MEDIATION. IT MEANS CHILDREN NEED TO ENEGAGE WITH THE REAL WORLD AND NOT JUST THE WORD. THE TWO PROPOSALS ARE BEING PRESENTED WITH A SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM IMPACT. BOTH PROPOSALS WILL REQUIRE TOTAL RE LEARNING OF TEACHERS/ PARENTS AND OTHERS WHO ARE CONNECTED WITH CHILDREN, TO UNDERSTAND WHY, WHAT AND HOW CHILDREN LEARN THE REAL WORLD.
We propose an integrated / holistic model in education –combining Education for livelihood based on principles of sustainability and Education for Self-discovery, by awakening the inherent qualities based on an experiment- www.sadhanavillageschool.org
All living beings learn. Learning is the natural mechanism to sustain life. So human beings are biologically equipped by nature to 'learn' the world as per its species limitations and requirements.
Children naturally learn the way the world looks, the quality of its materiality and various phenomenon that happens around them. This is the most scientific way of understanding the world (KNOWLEDGE) , sharpening the tools for understanding (SENSITIVITY) and developing the qualities to be in the world (VALUES).
As the child grows the learning tools get developed, processes get finer and content gets deeper. Taking this process into consideration the school is structured to: (1) root themselves to their context -till 9 years (2) explore context -till 11 , (3) learn primary skills -till 14 and (4) pursue vocations of interest after 14.
Awakening and retaining internal Integrity by experiencing and learning the integrity of the world VALUES -(ambience creation)- Emotional rooting.
Children learn to love and care by experiencing it and school's priority is to root the child to the existential values to live in harmony with self- so that there is no psychological conflict, with society so that there is no social conflict and with nature so that there is no ecological conflict.
AWAKENING SENSES -(cognitive tools)- Aesthetic rooting.
As children explore the world their senses gets awakened and gets rooted. PLAY- (cognitive processes) - Physical development and social rooting Spontaneous play is natural to all living beings and is nature's way of developing social skills of cooperation, respecting rules also self initiative intelligence and CREATIVITY.
Children make things to explore possibilities in materials, to understand processes and this develops physical dexterity and ability for innovation.
DRAW THE WORLD TO KNOW THE WORLD - Intellectual rooting
What children draw naturally helps them in keener observation, analysis, abstraction and imagination
Children learn language naturally and condition for articulation- speaking, describing, reading and writing must come from the child. Only this will help the child to master the articulation of their experience.
Learning requires no medium as world itself is the content and language is for communication. Language is to be mastered for the purpose of articulation and communication. Mother tongue should be given primary importance. English is to be taught not as culture but merely as language by localizing the content.
INTEGRATING TRADITION AND TECHNOLOGY
Digital tools need to be introduced sensitively as it tends to become an end in itself and distracts the child from the world.
Repeat the same as in the first stage with reorganizing the priorities.
Learning primary life skills like farming, cooking, healing, basic crafts. Sciences to be learned based on environmental sciences and biology. Connecting tradition and modernity
Choosing subjects of interest for livelihood with possibility for change This model could ensure ecological sensitivity, knowledge diversity as well as individual development with social responsibility.
Education and schooling have become a means to make children learn the WORD.This neither develops their senses and experiential qualities nor allows them to connect to the real world.
PROPOSAL IS TO EXPLORE how to reorganize various 'subjects' and activities so that children are initiated to pay attention to the WORLD .
One can begin with art and related activities. In our work with children at the sadhana village school (july 2011 to August 2014) we have had opportunity to study the drawings done by children (self initiated and un corrected or with no encouragement). What we found was the connection between what children experience, what they play, what they draw and what they speak. Also another important thing we understood is the relation between cognitive development, aesthetic awareness and drawing. It is from this experience that we are saying that children are biologically designed/ equipped to learn the world and if left alone would naturally do this.
So our proposal is to initiate re imagining 'art' among children, train teachers to understand the existential needs and capabilities of children so that they respect and acknowledge various activities that children do, document them and become a true learner.
This applies to all art related activities like theatre, story telling etc.