By Ananya S Guha
How can teaching come out of the classroom? My question, is why should it? The classroom is as old as education itself. It all started with it, and will continue with it. For the child, it is the class room which is the beginning of not only education, but life. It is firmly embedded in the child`s mind, as the growing up process starts. In fact, the classroom means friends and friendship, play and study, sports, games and concerts. In that way it is an extension of possibilities and events in life. So to limit the classroom to stereo types, and learning lessons by rote is a gross misrepresentation of it. The class room means many more things, and is a thread which connects past and present, childhood and adulthood. We have however relegated the classroom to the insipid words: teaching, and learning or studying. The classroom is both experiential and exponential. It has huge possibilities of love and relationships.
This process starts in school, and goes up to college and the university. It is contiguous and the different streams of education: school, college and the university are faces of education, to be viewed at the end with perspectives, which are holistic, and in good measure pleasurable.If a person wants to forget his or her student days, as unhappy or a nightmare, then there is enough to introspect about our teaching systems, and their irrationalities.
When we say teaching coming out of the classroom, teaching be made more pleasurable, or for that matter, exciting, we mean processes of change that should be indoctrinated in teaching ` methods `. But again by talking of methods, we are limiting the scope of teaching. Teaching, is the means; education the larger, holistic end, a perception of life and its realities, a perception of respect and love, underlying these; are some sacrosanct relationships.
Yes, we must take it out of stereotypes, such as the boundaries of the four walls, but this can be achieved by a mix of tradition and innovation. No matter, how much we speak of technology, ICT and the rest, it is the humaneness of education, which is its grand precept and solid foundation. And, the reason, behind this factor is the teacher. The human factor of education cannot and must not be substituted by technology, which should come as a catalyst, bring change in a manner to arouse expediency and excitement.
It is the extension of the classroom, which matters, with or without technology. Having the virtual classroom, is not meant to be a substitute of the real classroom, but to break barriers, in time, place and space, in keeping with radical notions of the world as a global unit. Within technology lie extreme possibilities: profitable use, or gross misuse. Within technology lies the exciting thing of simultaneous interaction, with people sitting in different places, across the country or the world. But technology also has a finite element, it can disturb and disrupt, especially in underdeveloped areas. It is dependent on factors such as electricity, natural conditions, especially in backward and remote areas. It simply cannot be elitist, if we have to take education to all, because the pulse and heart beat of education is egalitarian, and access.
Even three to four generations back changes took place in education, with individual teachers who wanted to experiment. But now we have standardized the classroom as stereotypes: the ` real ` and the ` virtual `. Is there a dialogue and debate between the two? Are they in conflict? Can they be assimilated and harmonized synchronously?
But more importantly, is: can the finer points of learning, such as self learning, relationships, good peer interaction, leading to friendships, still be maintained? For, these are the ultimate of education, not the monolithic structure of its vapid walls.
And also, it is the applications of the learning matter, which is the cornerstone of education and learning. What I have learned, must be useful to me, so that I can use it to strive for all possibilities in life, for the common good. My learning must be auto didactic as well, and in the complex processes and estrangement, or isolation in life, this must continue in give and take manner. Such thought maybe abstraction, but education is not for utilitarian gains, it is for application, and relevance of a body of knowledge one has imbibed. And this body of knowledge may be continued by professional or amateur actions in life such as social work for example. It is no point learning theories of engineering if these cannot be applied in life to situations for, the benefit of the society as a whole. Education and its part reality the classroom are in a good commonsensical manner, benefactors.