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Re: PM Manmohan rings the school-for-all bell, late as always

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  • Aaditto
    Hello everyone, Satish, thanks for posting this link to the Economic Times article - it is a brilliant piece that delineates some of the fundamental lapses in
    Message 1 of 38 , Apr 11, 2010
      Hello everyone,

      Satish, thanks for posting this link to the Economic Times article - it is a brilliant piece that delineates some of the fundamental lapses in the way that today's 'consumer oriented' society is thinking and acting! And it certainly has very strong bearings to the choices in education.

      I have joined this forum recently - and it has been a real pleasure to be interacting with like-minded people!

      I began my teaching career at a Krishnamurti school, about 13 years ago. When I joined that school, I had only a vague idea about JK's ideology. At the school I voraciously read up every book I could find written by him - as he made perfect sense!
      However, in a very short while, I found out that the institution itself was practicing almost the direct opposite of what Krishnamurti was saying! It was constantly trying to deify him, put him up on a pedestal - and thereby, lose sight of the most important and fundamental aspect of what he was saying - 'think for yourself'!

      Similarly, I have myself been a student at Viswa Bharati - and again, that institution today embodies everything that is exactly the opposite of what Rabindranath Tagore had tried all his life to establish.

      Each one of these great thinkers, J Krishnamurti, R Tagore, B Russell, J J Rousseau, Rishi Arobindo and so many others, have consistently tried to show us how impregnable systems, rigid laws and structured institutions are a total detriment to genuine learning, indepth enquiry and the nascent human miracle called curiosity - which is perhaps the most remarkable trait of being human!

      And yet, we are ever more entrenched in our petty greed... for 'security' that can never really be, for 'money' that is only a nebulous idea representing wealth... and for power!

      Over the years, as I have been pondering over the overarching reality of today's misdirection, the one thing that seems like a fundamental lacking in today's attitude towards life is a genuine understanding of the 'self' - a true matrix of Spirituality.

      For the 'post-modern' generation 'Spirituality' has become only a hollow shell, represented by the plethora of RELIGIOUS groups alone - groups who, in my opinion, actually perpetuate those very issues which are eating into the core of humanity... greed for assertion, superiority and power.

      However, if we look at the word radically, with a 'clean slate', all it should stand for is, the ART/ SCIENCE OF UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRIT OF THINGS.

      Only if and when society is somehow able to reevaluate Spirituality from such a perspective are we going to make any real headway in changing society for the better...

      The SPIRIT of water is to FLOW... the SPIRIT of fire is to BURN...

      Similarly, each of us have a unique spirit within us, just as we also have a collective SPIRIT as human beings... I think we desperately need to find ways and means to RECONNECT with that SPIRIT!

      Cheers!
      Aaditto

      --- In alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com, Satish Natarajan <satish_en@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear Aaditto,
      >
      > Thank you again for this well written note.  Some of the dialogues about education in this forum has always been around these points about education.  The present conditioned mind looks at education as acquiring skills of various kinds both mental and physical in order to be able to do whatever we do in a more efficient manner.  For many education is merely a tool for survival tomorrow or a comfortable life tomorrow.  There is no difference between a rural parent or a highly educated "sophisticated" parent. 
      >
      > Education does not mean anything if one is not able to flower into a beautiful being, where the flowering is becoming aware of oneself and in that awareness one is able to experience the oneness with the whole creation.  This is what even JK was conveying in all his dialogues on living and education.  We cannot look at a skill as an end product, by the acquiring of which we become 'fit' enough to live. 
      >
      > The learning that happens in the rural environs is continuous, nobody is taught, but just being with the action, participating in the process one learns not just the mechanics of doing things, but even the subtleties of the process.  We currently live alternating between village environment and Bangalore, but the learning that happens in the village environment is tremendous, especially on agriculture and simple processing of food (like growing and extracting toor dal, extracting oil from castor etc) which skills we have learnt from old village women. I indirectly work with small and marginal farmers in remote villages in Karnataka through our NGO, where we see some of finer seed saving skills, animal rearing skills etc slowly dying out because the older generation do not find people "fit" enough to transfer this knowledge. Some of the elders, by observation, have even told us that those children that go to the schools to acquire modern education are
      > becoming alienated from us.
      >
      >
      > Even the corporates are know finding the uselessness of the education system. The article below in Economic Times is a reflection of that.
      >
      > http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/features/corporate-dossier/Organisations-have-stopped-hearing-the-customer-except-through-market-research-agencies/articleshow/5776335.cms
      >
      > Thanks again for starting this dialogue and bringing in new perspectives.
      >
      > Regards
      > Satish
      >
      > --- On Sat, 4/10/10, Aaditto
      > <aaditto@...> wrote:
      >
      > From: Aaditto <aaditto@...>
      > Subject: [alt-ed-india] Re: PM Manmohan rings the school-for-all bell, late as always
      > To: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Saturday, April 10, 2010, 8:48 AM
      >
      >       Hi,
      > My response to this posting and a few others in this topic is similar to what Chitra R writes in reply to Nagaraj Nayak's comment - "The postings or messages have to be seen as a whole - not compartmentalised or butchered and interpreting according to the ideas or beliefs one has... i believe generalised comments of this sort - only shows how conditioned one self could be."
      >
    • Aaditto
      Hi, This reminded me of my own childhood! I was in grade III: 1979-80... I went to school in Kolkata, at a pioneer institution, which was trying to inculcate
      Message 38 of 38 , Apr 18, 2010

        Hi,

        This reminded me of my own childhood!

        I was in grade III: 1979-80...

        I went to school in Kolkata, at a 'pioneer' institution, which was trying to inculcate 'values' and 'culture' among kids.

        Almost all my peers were begining to get 'pocket money' - to the tune of Rupees 10/- to 50/- a week... which was quite a big amount back then!

        One day, I tentatively approached my parents with the 'pocket-money' issue.

        Both my parents had already left 'cushy' Executive jobs, about three years ago, and were trying to build enterpreneurship amongst a small but motivated group of city-poor. So, they had very little money to run our family with, as their's was 'non-funded social work'.

        They smiled, looked at each other... then my father looked me straight in the eye and said, "Sorry Beta, as you know, we don't even have enough money for our daily expences. So, there's no way we could give you any pocket-money!"

        I knew this already; I was a precauscious kid. So I just casually nodded my head and said, "Ok."

        Ten minuits later, my parents called me. My mother said, "But you can EARN your pocket money, you know?!"... My father continued, "I pay the cobler every week to polish my shoes, I also pay the young boy to wash the Company car. If you took on these jobs, I could pay you the same amount, instead of pocket-money."

        I had grown up learning to do all kinds of chores at home - make the beds, fetch the milk, take the dog for a walk, do the weekly/ daily shopping when Dad was too busy...

        I liked the idea very much!

        Soon, I was polishing shoes of not just my father, but three other house-holds in the neighborhood. And I was washing 4 cars.

        I used to make about Rs. 20.00 a week from these 'jobs' - and I was the happiest kid in school, as far as pocket money was concerned!

        I have various issues with my parents, like everyone does! But one thing that I will always respect them for is being dead honest with me!

        Today, I find many of my peers going way too much out of their means to satisfy the un-ending 'needs' of their young children - simply becasue it hurts their pride to tell their own children that they too have limits!

        Cheers!
        Aaditto.

         

         


        --- In alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com, Bhuvana Venkat <bhuva78@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > very interesting... well it may be very surprising but my daughter asked me this question last evening.. I was taking her to her swimming lessons and she asked me why she wasn't being paid for her work? she asked me her teacher was being paid for his work.. that of teaching.. why wasn't she paid for her work as well? she is going to be 5 years this May!
        >
        >
        >
        > well my answer to her was the same. He is offering you something you need.. what are you offering him? He is teaching you and for that you have to pay him, I am paying him on your behalf! Now if you do not learn then you are wasting the money that you are paying.
        >
        >
        >
        > I think what obscures the equation is that the student is not paying but the parents are.
        >
        > regards
        >
        > bhuvana
        >
        >
        >
        > To: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
        > From: aaditto@...
        > Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 12:43:09 +0000
        > Subject: [alt-ed-india] Re: Should kids be bribed to do well in school?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Hi Manas,
        >
        > That's very well put indeed - "...but the one thing I have absolutely no doubt about is the absence of correlation between test scores and meaningful learning" - my feelings, exactly!
        >
        > As for Alfie Kohn, yes, his reccurrent thesis about 'rewards' being a form of 'punishment' is certainly very good material in this context!
        >
        > Though he too relies quite heavily on 'research data', which I am not always very comfortable with, I have always loved his passionate and direct approach. In fact, this same discussion has been raging in another Yahoo group right at this point - the AEROlistserve group - and a number of people on that forum have been quoting Kohn from a very similar perspective.
        >
        > My mistrust in 'reality' is based on the basic misconception, in my openion, that 'perceptions' are NOT based on 'faith' - that 'persieved realities' are fundamentally different from 'idealistic view-points'. But that is a totally different issue.
        >
        > I think the fundamental 'issue' that is coming out of these discussions is as Leo Fahey, a member of the AERO group, puts it:
        >
        > "Actually, it is rather simple: in our commercial society learning has been commodified; therefore, there ought not be any objection to paying youngsters to attend and do well in school. As the talk is of incentive pay for teachers, then, hey, why not incentive pay for students as well. In fact, there should be a base salary and bonuses for exceptional work done.
        >
        > Now, for those who feel formal learning, and all learning, ought not be a commodity, for those who feel learning is for learning's sake, then, well, any monetary punishment or reward is seen as beyond the pale.
        >
        > So take your choice, commodity or pure human instinct/desire/expression. But, if one takes the commodity side, then, go all the way and provide a salary and bonus scheme as the right of all working children, as the business of childhood, the work of childhood, is schooling."
        > I for one, have another question, before we begin to ask whether kids should or should not be payed to go to school...
        >
        > What is the fundamental definition, and relationship between, 'work' & 'payment'?
        >
        > I mow your lawn for you - you pay me for my services...
        >
        > I do your taxes for you - you pay me for my expertise...
        >
        > And so on...
        >
        > Now, YOU study for your YOUR own benefit - and then I pay you for "???"
        >
        > Does that even sound logical?
        >
        > If it does, well then that would tantamount to...
        >
        > I mow my own lawn - YOU pay me for it!
        >
        > I do my OWN taxes - YOU pay me for being such an expert!
        >
        > Wow!!! That sounds like a swell state of affairs to me!
        >
        > Leo's assertion "...But, if one takes the commodity side, then, go all the way and provide a salary and bonus scheme as the right of all working children"...is a scary thought!
        >
        > But one that seems inevitable - given the total and complete commodification of human life?!
        >
        > Cheers!
        > Aaditto
        >
        >
        > --- In alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com, Manas Chakrabarti learningbydesign@ wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi Bhuvana, Aaditto and others,
        > > It might be worthwhile reading Alfie Kohn's work on reward/punishment, especially his book "Punished By Rewards" where he demolishes the idea of rewards leading to better performance at school or work.
        > >
        > > I think behaviorism continues to be attractive (even decades after we have rejected it as an explanation of human thought and action) because it gives us a sense of power and control. This is what makes it particularly attractive in corporate circles.
        > >
        > > And Frederick Herzberg (who wrote "One more time - how do you motivate employees?", which is the most reprinted article in the history of Harvard Business Review) put it nicely when he differentiated between movement and motivation. If I hold out a biscuit and say, "Spot, sit," Spot will certainly learn to sit. I have caused movement in the dog. But the entity that is motivated is me, because I want Spot to sit. Rewards cause movement, not motivation.
        > >
        > > So, the question is, do we want children to want to learn, or do we want them to please us with their scores? I am not certain about too many things in life, but the one thing I have absolutely no doubt about is the absence of correlation between test scores and meaningful learning.
        > > Cheers!
        > > Manas
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > _________________________________________________________________
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        > http://entertainment.in.msn.com/southcinemathisdecade/
        >

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