“That’s what makes death so hard — unsatisfied curiosity”
We are all born explorers. As a child, we are curious to discover and understand the world around us and we are immersed in the little things we do. We play and explore, and as a result, we learn, we break and we create. This is the process of learning about the world and figuring out our place in it. We sometimes struggle in the process, but it’s fun. We are completely immersed and engaged.
How often do we see a very high sense of immersion and engagement in our schools, where kids just want to learn and discover new ideas about the world?
How often do we see today that kids want to stay back for longer periods in their schools or learning spaces for the reason that they are having immense fun in learning and discovering, for the reason that it’s satisfying their natural curiosity?
How often do we see kids having insightful and aha moments while learning, and bursting with joy at these times?
How often do we see kids going back home from their schools and eager to share what they learnt or discovered with their parents, siblings or friends?
How often do we see kids spending time creating something with their own ideas?
How often do we see kids raising questions, engaged in debates and conversations with their teachers and peers, about ideas and concepts they are learning?
If the answer to any of the above questions is anything less than ‘Mostly, ‘Always’, or ‘Everyday’, something is wrong. We are robbing children of the joy and motivation of lifelong learning.
The way formal education has developed over the years has made learning seem like a burden upon children, or anyone for that matter. One big systemic reason (or merely a justification which many people give) for this has been the mindset of training or preparing the kids for the future, so that they can become useful in the society, and create economic value for themselves and for the world.
That seems reasonable and doesn’t look very mean, but there are two big problems with this.
- We, as human beings (and most particularly kids) learn things not because they might be useful later, but because they interest us now.
- Even if we were to fall into the trap and accept the economic agenda of education, the current education is quite outdated in that respect.
The second point discussed above is generally agreed upon by a lot of people. But that’s the lesser issue. It’s a matter of time that we will start seeing a shift towards more relevant skills, which are useful in today’s world.
The bigger concern though is that, for the vast majority of kids, learning is not exciting, and the classrooms not the happiest spaces.
Why does the Love for Learning which each one of us is born with, die out slowly?
I will soon be sharing some of the reasons and observations why this happens at a classroom level, and how we can build a culture where learning is joyful, and not merely disguised under the veil of possibly useful outcomes.