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One year of learning to Educate



The quest for mindful education can be felt by every individual in the contemporary world. Students across the world experience challenges of access and affordability to education. It is believed that education will emancipate us and set us off towards a better standard of living. The education pundits call it 'quality education'. The disturbing fact in this scenario is when millions of professionals holding qualification from top institutes suffer unemployment.

Hence, the eternal question is -

  1. What is mindful / quality education?

  2. Who can afford this education and how to avail this education?


Experiences

A social practitioner has to be aware while working with people because intervening in social space can be challenged by people, stakeholders. I have been dealing with the complexities of society in the education domain as a practitioner.

So, education undoubtedly holds the capacity to negotiate with one's livelihood as well. Realising the imperatives of education our nation is struggling to make education accessible for all.


Fortunately in the last one year I was able to witness social acceptance of education and how education is perceived in rural India. Located in an educational setup in the lower Himalayas of Uttarakhand, India, I found that the adult literacy gap is very high and a singular understanding prevails around obtaining education which is for better livelihood.


Engaging Children - Learning I

So, engaging oneself with students of elementary age is a conscious art. Also, child psychologists believe that 75% of the brain is developed till age 11 too, so the role of teachers or facilitators becomes very important. The teachers/facilitators are responsible for preparing a firm and diversified foundation of students. In my view, when parents are incapable of providing an environment or surroundings where a child can learn, the role of educators gets intensified. The delivery agents, educators, need to understand the background of the students and accustom their teaching techniques with that of the student’s capabilities. In this way students can be benefitted at the most and teacher-students bond improves as well. Educators can do lesson-planning which incorporates near surroundings of the students. In this way students undergo experiential learning and are easily able to memories the lessons.


One of my lived experiences which students found learnable and enjoyed was learning fractions with the help of an A4 size paper. Below is a brief description of the activity:



पन्ने को बीच मे से मोड़ने पर हमें यह पता चला कि अब यह ईकायी (1) का ½ हिस्सा हैं।




जब हम ½ और ½ को जोड़ते हैं तो हमें ‘1’, ईकायी प्राप्त होती है। इसका यह मतलब हैं कि जब हम किन्ही दो, एक जैसी चीज़ों के आधे-आधे हिस्सों को आपस में जोड़ते है तो हमें ईकायी प्राप्त होती हैं।


With this short example we can understand how the whole classroom turns into an engaging activity where students learn while doing in the class.


Gender Bias -Learnings II

Since men get unquestioned privilege in society we can clearly draw that they get more opportunity to obtain education of any sort. Aware of these complex issues in the society, one has to be conscious while dealing in such domains. Girls are burdened by household chores and are more likely to be married at an early age, it is challenging for a social practitioner to benefit both the genders equally. In my personal experience over the year, I dealt with students of both genders and for the matter of fact that female students have a limited chance to emancipate so, I had to be conscious of any bias being practiced by me favouring a particular gender because it could affect the understanding of the other gender who have been taught that both male and female are equal.


Education as Service - Outcomes

The idea of ‘sewa’, selfless work, encourages educators to deliver passionately in the classes and grow compassion for their students. The educators can also improve learning outcomes by adopting mindful techniques in the classrooms. I too believe that conventional teaching techniques or the idea of enforcing learnings over students is outdated and it fetches poor outcomes too. Educators need to incorporate practices which involve dialogue and give space to students to learn by doing in the classrooms. It is an endorsement between students and teachers where they respect each other's ideas and avail benefits from each other at the same time. I believe a framework of similar guidance can prove to deliver mindful teaching experience and generate sound minds for the society. Also, a friendly bond between teachers and students insinuate behavioural values in the students. The educators can use their friendly bond to talk about social injustice and discriminating practices to instigate feelings of equality and respect in the students.


In my experience this domain has proved its worth repetitively and has become a decisive factor for achieving equality, equal opportunity, empowerment, growth and development.


Written by Guneet Sekhon


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