Call to relook at what is happening to children today
- Jinan, Hello to you and all of your colleagues,
I think that your investigation of rural children's natural aptitude
toward learning is original and significant. I invite you and all to
work on these questions at our Minciu Sodas laboratory's working group
"Learning from each other" led by Pamela McLean. She lives in London, UK
and works extensively with teachers in Africa, especially to consider
the proper role of ICT in self-learning. We also have a group of people
in Italy who are interested in "open content". And I am working to
include more people with related interests. Your fresh thinking is very
much needed. We're also very interested in the possibility of video bridges.
Please consider joining us at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learningfromeachother/ ! Send a blank
message to email@example.com to subscribe.
I'm interested to explore ways that we might work together. Our Minciu
Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt serves and organizes independent thinkers.
Thank you for your important work.
+370 (699) 30003
> I am sending you a mail regarding my proposed future activities.Do
> respond/ send your feed back.
> For the past three to four years I have been attempting to initiate a
> dialogue with parents and teachers to re-look in to what we are doing
> to our children in the name of ‘educating’ them. The tragedy is more
> evident among the so called privileged children in the cities as their
> childhood itself is taken away from them with the result we see
> violence, unhappiness / depression and even suicide.
> Having been living with rural people for the part 16 years and having
> observed the children very closely I know that at least rural children
> are much happier, independent, observant, spontaneous and intelligent
> then the city kids as rural children do have a different environment.
> So 7 years ago I began to document various aspects in their life
> through images / film clips. For instance how children are left free
> to explore the world, to learn various skills. How they plan,
> abstract, construct etc. How their senses are activated in this
> process and how beauty is an integral part of their activities. The
> relationship between Parents and children, between girls and boys
> between children themselves. How teenages boys take care of infants.
> >From all these I have realized the commanality between the children
> of non-literate communities, I presume anywhere in the world. Here I
> found the development of the natural child where there is freedom,
> love, co-operation where there is no suppression, violence . With the
> result they become independent, responsible, sensitive than their
> urban, ‘privileged’ counterparts.
> On seeing the children’s natural ability to observe/use their senses I
> began conducting a workship called ‘sensing nature; knowing nature’ at
> Aruvacode, Nilambur from 1998 onwards. About 60 children from the
> village regularly came to my house during the summer holidays (April,
> May). There was absolutely no teaching/interference from my side and
> was impressed by what came out of the workshop. When I realized the
> true possibility/ ability of children I got depressed at what is
> happening to children in the name of educating them. The ‘nature’ of
> the child is given no respect in our march towards modernity. The
> conditions in the modern family, school, community are all in a way
> against the true growth of children.
> So I began to interact with various people / organizations. Who are
> ‘concerned’ about children. This led to doing talks, dialogues , works
> shops mainly in cities – Bangalore Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai
> etc. I interacted with teachers, parents and even students (15 to 18
> years). To initiate dialouge I use a very good power point
> presentation of images and short movies of how children in rural areas
> live/make sense of the world. I have been documenting children for the
> past 7 years or so.
> Even though most of them responded seriously to the issues all were
> expecting ready solutions. All of us who are concerned about children
> and future needs to come together to find solutions. We need to stop
> doing what we all know is wrong. My focus on city was under the
> impression that what ever was happening in cities would soon happen to
> villages also.
> But two events changed my views. One was 3 day workshop with rural
> teachers in Edakad, Malappuram in Kerala in May 2006 and another, an
> interactive session with about 30 teachers from rural areas of North
> India in Bhopal (June 14, 15 – 2006). The first event convinced me
> that it is much easier to re awaken the child in adults of rural
> areas. In the second interaction I saw that the teachers began to
> respect the way in which the rural child learns, in other words the
> rural life itself.
> It is necessary to work at both levels.
> In rural areas it is important to create self respect in their ways of
> living. For this few things I can think of at this juncture are as
> 1. Conduct dialogues, power point presentations with parents and teachers.
> 2. Conduct 2/3 day workshops with teachers wherever possible.
> 3. Initiate documentation which the rural teachers themselves can do
> (writing, images, movies). Documentation is also a good way of making
> people observe and re-examine things. They begin to see things afresh.
> Fortunately the new system of education introduced by Government SSA
> (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) also appreciates children/teachers initiatives.
> In the city we need to take different approaches. The presentations,
> dialogues, workshops etc. are needed as in the earlier case. But
> looking for new possibilities or creating conducive environment in the
> urban living space is necessary.
> For this purpose you could organize an event / sponsor my stay etc and
> make a donation.
> I wish to devote my next few years in this direction. Since I do not
> have much income I was thinking of contacting few friends who are also
> concerned about these issues. I do not belonging to any organization
> nor I wish to make one. I am also not looking for corporate sponsors.
> The expenses that I foresee are as follows assuming I do two or three
> workshop every month.
> 1. Personal expenses, travel, stay, food etc : Rs. 2,40,000/- per annum
> 2. Digital cameras with movie facility (Second hand in good working
> condition is welcome) 10 to 15 numbers : About Rs. 1,00,000/- or
> donations are welcome
> 3. Multimedia Projector (light and small). This is useful in doing
> power point presentations to larger groups.
> I can not give a very rigid proposal as I would like to respond to
> situations organically. Your ideas/suggestions are welcome. I can also
> do presentations in your areas and also update once in a while as to
> what to happening. If you wish to contribute to this initiative do let
> me know.
> Gist of the issues I am raising are as follows.
> What is the true potential of children/human beings?
> By nature aren’t children intelligent, inquisitive, wholistic,
> observant, autonomous in terms of knowledge creation?
> Isn’t there a potential of making children independent, co-operative,
> responsible by giving them freedom and creating favorable situations?
> But What is happening in schools today and in most ‘educated’ families?
> Schooling distorts the natural way of being and knowing. By schooling
> knowledge precedes knowing, known precedes the unknown.
> 1. ‘Teaching’ is the most distorted way of learning as the learner is
> not engaged in making sense of the world and also sees the ‘teacher’
> as someone who knows everything and never sees the teacher creating
> 2. The child learns the teacher and what the teacher does. ( Teacher
> is the subject of study)
> 3. Child acquires the mindset to take instruction and give
> instruction. (Good fodder for the fascists/corporate world)
> 4. Knowledge becomes a product / information / certain.
> A ‘good’ student learn to accept this distorted ways and becomes an
> expert in memorizing information, to obey, to please in the
> teacher/parent. A ‘bad’ student though protected in some ways is
> damaged by this distorted methods. He learn that he is failure,
> mistakes are bad and can be punished, ridiculed etc
> 5. fear of exploration, Fearing mistakes.
> 6. Schooling makes ‘Knowledge’ in to a belief system. Religious
> superstition is replaced by scientific superstitions.
> Do see the site www.paradigmsofknowing.org
> <http://www.paradigmsofknowing.org/> to see some more explorations.
> The site is incomplete.
> Do get back to me if you are interested
> www.kumbham.org <http://www.kumbham.org>
> 09447121544,04931 221568,0487 2386723
> Aruvacode, Nilambur-679329,Kerala.