For long years, the classical authoritarian model of instruction has dominated the classrooms in the country. The top-down approach of delivering the lesson to the learner as a product of conceptual deliberation, thereby creating a ‘make believe’ situation has silenced the seeds of curiosity right at its fetal level. The ‘instructional model’ handed over by the ‘industrial society’ as the linear progression towards the attainment of a goal, has forbidden the learner either to introspect, analyze, question, debate or challenge the inputs of knowledge. Any such action was dealt with with strong hands of authority and created the much avoidable fear psyche in the learner. The road map to a process of rote learning did serve the ‘mass management’ process denying them any opportunity to either communicate or articulate their freewill to give an expression of one’s life process or creative instincts.
The result of such an approach over the last few decades has done a lot of damage to the possible growth of the human intellectual capital alongside its trigger to enterprise and productivity. It has also promoted a kind of ‘learned helplessness,’ self-pity and a sense of defeatism among people who had to fight with disciplines of learning which were not conductive either to their aptitudes or interests. The burden of forced knowledge restrained the learner to fall in line with mediocrity. It really led them to a life which invariably did not give either satisfaction or happiness. The huge waste of expenditure in providing such an education and the resultant wastage in national economy has been compromised to ensure some political and social advantages.
The right of any learner to be his best can never be denied. The right of any learner to pursue his ambition through choice of disciplines of learning can never be suppressed. The controls exercised by the family and elders to make the young learners to fall in line with some celebrated conventional thoughts and practices, due to their own inadequate understanding of learning dynamics has imprisoned the learner into a prison of mediocrity.
With several national policies in place that is ushering India to a global prominence in several fields, it is time that the policies relating to education also empowers the learners to move from instructional learning to inspired learning.
Inspiration is indeed a positive force that acts from within. It provides the much-needed energy for action. It flutters the wings of the thinking caps to make you alert and agile so that you can respond to the needs of your soul to see the better self in you. Inspiration is a feeling that comes from one vision, one sound, one music, one appreciation, one belief and one sense of wonder and from one ‘Aha’ experience. Inspiration unfolds the belief system of our capabilities and puts our breath into a marathon race till we sense the goal or achievement. Inspiration facilitates us to discover ourselves on a continuous basis and demonstrate and influence the world of what we are capable of and what others could. Inspiration helps people to defeat the defeatist suggestions crawling up from the negativities that make periodic noise to find a place in a peaceful and performing mind! “Inspiration often appears when you least expect it. Therefore, cultivating inspiration may require allowing it to occur naturally through immersing yourself in nature, visiting new places, or being around inspiring people” says Psych Central magazine. However, a positive climate to get inspired is essential.
It is important to let our children believe in themselves, their capabilities, their competencies and their pathways for achievement. It is important for the education system to position the learning environment which inspires learners to understand the glory of their existence and the immense potential they have in the treasures embedded in a world blessed by Mother Nature. “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working,” said Pablo Picasso
The National Education policy has taken cognizance of some of these challenges faced by the educational community and tried to address them. It has underscored the importance of the freedom of the learner. It facilitates the learner moving from instructed learning to inspired learning. How can schools move in this direction? Here are a few points to consider:
1. Acknowledge the freedom of the learner.
The freedom of the learner is not just the freedom of mobility granted in terms of space and time. It is the freedom given to the learner to pursue one’s curiosity, longing, inner call and intuition. It is the freedom to access and deal with knowledge and skills that one aspires for and learns from whatever source one can access. The schools are NOT the only platforms where facilitation is provided for safe and steady access towards this goal. Yet, it is one of the most powerful platforms.
2. Move away from ‘instruction’ to ‘facilitation’ and mentoring.
The role of the teacher in a classroom is fast changing. Playing the role of a ‘co-learner’ the teacher must be a facilitator and mentor the learner to design and follow his own path and pursuits towards expansion of knowledge and skills. The must happen at the individual level, in a non-competitive environment and with positive and progressive support so that the learner always feels ‘the winner of the game.’ This spirit to make the learner a winner gives him motivation and inspiration all along his futuristic journey. No learner fails in learning, only the levels of achievement vary!
3. Encourage ‘self-learning.’
“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is” says Isaac Asimov, the noted science fiction storyteller. Self-learning opens several vistas of the human brain and promotes a researching mind. It sets in place a searching and a researching mind. It confronts the learner with problems and seeks his intellectual competence to solve them and make decisions. It unravels the universe of competence that lies inside without celebration. “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you” said the American Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-learning helps in battling against all odds to make breakthrough towards the intended goals. It helps in accepting defeats and moving ahead with a sense of courage, confidence and conviction.
4. Provide a positive climate.
It is important to provide positive energy in the learning climate so that learning is comfortable, stress-free, accelerated and the learner feels inspired by what he does. Any negative comment that defeats the learner from whatever he pursues. A word of encouragement, a word of acknowledgement and a word that helps him to move forward is necessary for inspired learning. With a positive climate energy and the emotional content for achievement multiplies several times and the learner learns to scoff at situations that pull him back. An inspired individual starts putting life into every second. “It’s not the years of your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” said Abraham Lincoln
5. Give opportunities for participation and experience.
In the absence of opportunities and isolation, the learner continues to stay put in one’s own shell instead of reaching out to demonstrate one’s talents and competencies. Many with a sense of enterprise tend to hide behind the curtain as they hesitate competition and do not want to be on the stage without an invitation. Every learner needs to have opportunities to participate immaterial of the outcome or the feedback on their participation. A single opportunity may be the trigger for them to see the world beyond themselves. A single clap from the audience when the performer is on stage might change the entire course of life. They get inspired. Their talents gush out like a stream which has found its way to move ahead.
Somewhere I read “Dear Teacher, your job is not to take the horse to the pond to drink water, but your job is to create a thirst in the horst so that it automatically goes to the river to drink water.” Inspiration creates a thirst for further action. With the NPE opening the floodgates for creativity and individualized learning in classrooms, it is important that we do not miss the bus.