By: Tajamul Rather
chools are considered to be the temples for modifying the behavior of a child. This distinction they enjoy, is not because a child learns there how to become a civilized person but is given to the fact that the holistic nourishment of a child takes place in schools. By holistic nourishment, a child is first accepted in raw form (raw diamond) then he is nourished keeping in mind his or her learning capabilities. Acceptance is something that needs our kind attention. A child admitted in a school knows nothing but is possessing many of the divine traits which are based on some natural laws. An informed teacher will always look for those hidden traits and will channelize a child’s energy towards that trait. It is true a child must receive an all round education but not at the cost of his strengths. A teacher’s role is just to ignite the spark of that hidden divine trait and what will follow will be the rippling effect of his talent.
Among all these divine traits is the one which is present in abundance in every child and can be easily detected and is the trait of curiosity. I believe every child has infinite curiosity at birth but with time it gets reduced and finally ends when we use the term automatic. We all have had the experience of interacting with a child and answering his seemingly naive questions. Questions like, how were stars formed, why do they not fall on earth, how are babies born, why can’t we have rice or wheat showers just like rain shower etc.
Without exaggeration these all questions are governed by well defined scientific laws or processes. But as adults we hardly bother to think about such questions because our mentality is shaped by societal rules and regulations that most of the times snatches the gift of curiosity from us. As an adult you are not supposed to ask such questions and if by any means you did, you will be tagged as
modern philosopher! So the point is curiosity of the child must be kept intact. Parents and mentors are the first torch bearers of a child and thus, the sole responsibility of preserving a child’s curiosity falls on them. In most of the cases parents usually are not educated and can not understand the importance of curiosity but a teacher is appointed for this job and he can’t be expected to pay deaf ears towards this matter.
A mentor usually treats his students in the way that all of them have equal learning capabilities and capacities and thus delivers his lecture with the intention that all of them will learn the way he teaches but this is half true. Contrary to this, a mentor with all his senses open will find diversity in his class room and will realise the importance of attending each of them separately. This readymade type of
lecture is like a bitter bread that feeds half a child’s hunger. I believe it is not an easy task to deal with them like the way mentioned. As you will have to look for their interests rather than imposing your interests on them, as is usually done in order to escape from the responsibility of attending each of their likes and dislikes separately.
In order to generate interest in a child towards learning, you must make him realise its importance. Instill in him the thoughts that without learning new things he can’t become what he want to be. Thus
you first ask them about their aim in life, no matter how they respond, consciously or unconsciously, then try to explain to them individually that how can they achieve their targets with the help of education and most importantly how they can’t. We drink water when we have thirst, we eat food when we are hungry, same is here what you want them to learn first develop its interest.
While a child is learning, he will encounter plethora of questions, sometimes from the subject and sometimes outside the subject. As the mentor your first and foremost approach should be to arose the interest and create the environment of asking questions in your classroom. A child must feel at home while asking so-called childish questions.
Such an environment can only be created when the child realises that the mentor is not feeling uncomfortable in that environment leaving alone the making of fun of those questions in the classroom as is usually done. If you have a habit of making fun and cracking jokes on those questions then the child will never ever ask even the genuine questions, as nobody wants to be humiliated among his friends or close ones be it a child or an adult.
Don’t expect a child to be completely submissive to you, give them freedom while they are learning, alongside the strict discipline you are expecting from them. There will be moments when you will be not knowing the exact answer to the question asked, please accept your inability to answer, don’t beat around the bush, say politely I don’t know the exact answer, I will find it out then will answer you and please do appreciate the child for the question. Because if you acted otherwise and answered without prior knowledge to maintain your highness in the class, you will be firstly imparting knowledge that is absolutely wrong and secondly the inquisitiveness of the child asking the question will not thrive in that environment. I have no problem with the former, as the child sooner or later will get the exact answer but the later one is of prime importance. Imagine if you accept your inability to answer in a classroom and appreciate the child for that question, how much SELF CONFIDENCE will be developed within the child, that yes I am good at understanding rather than being a passive listener like others.
He will not consider his life to be worthless rather his boosted moral will elevate his interest in learning to its higher echelons. This confidence once developed will help the child to know things in more detail and more importantly to deal with the things that he feels are difficult to tackle and are yet to unfold.
So in order to create such an environment of asking questions and appreciating the child you will naturally have to be thorough with the topic in hand and also will have to develop tolerating skills. I don’t think there is anything which you need to tolerate but if you don’t know the answer to most of the questions asked and at the same time want to keep the self confidence of the child intact, you will
have to develope ultra tolerating powers which is humanly impossible. Also if you can’t answer most of the questions, the child will naturally lose the interest as well as the trust in you.
So what is this simple strategy that the mentor needs to adopt so that both the questions are answered as well as to thrive the curiosity of a child? It is the Learning and constantly learning new things that a mentor should find interest in. You will have to keep yourself open in order to update your knowledge. There is no scope for creating sharp boundaries among the subjects. Try to bridge the gaps created, so that you can present 360° view of the topic. Inorder to generate interest among the children towards learning new things you will have to make sure that whatever concept you teach them, present them with its on field applications as well. This I believe is really missing in our educational institutions owing to our lack of knowledge of the subject as well as to the infrastructural bottlenecks. I believe “You can’t teach a child of the 21st century with the knowledge of the 20th century”.
Thus it is about accepting a child, giving them freedom to express themselves and doing justice with your profession by upgrading your existing knowledge base, by which we can embark on the ladder of
carving out statues from the stones.
Author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org