Pakistan

Schooling and the social


When we cast a cursory glance at the contemporary issues associated with the practices and approaches of schooling and training of the children and youth, we are reality-bound to concede that the outcome of the modern education policies and concepts and the prescribed up-to-the-minute teaching methodologies, is not promising or motivating for the educationists, learners, parents and the overall society. With every leap towards so-called modern, revolutionised and revised theories and models of education, we have been, both unconsciously and consciously, drifting away from societal and humanistic aspects of education and training. Furthermore, the basic element of social grooming is the training and teaching a child or youth how to cope with the ups and downs and unavoidable complications and hardships of life and lead it as an efficacious, responsible, beneficial, cooperative, sacrificing and mature individual in the society. The foremost concern, now, is that, despite the provision and availability of the modern and the state-of-the-art premises, efficient and comfy infrastructure, technology-assisted labs and classrooms, and, above all, magical and charismatic teaching aids and environment, the resistance to the contemporary—mundane and unnatural—academic learning amongst the students is growing and rising incessantly.

For initiating a child’s smooth and healthy educational and learning process, the parents must provide their children with an appreciable level of psycho-physical health and fitness. Healthy brains and spirits always follow healthy trends and experience life with positive and auspicious angles while traumas, fears and suspicions usually lead a child to highly negative understandings and perceptions. It is nothing else but all the personal and first-hand life experiences are the actual curricula or course-work of a man’s education that prepares him to be a part of his society. The trial-and-error process of learning has always been and will be the most ancient as well as the most naturalistic approach for improving a living organ’s psycho-mental and spirituo-physical capacities and efficiencies. Every individual child embarks on the voyage of learning as per his or her geo-political, socio-cultural and, above all, climatic atmosphere and environment. In this regard, we can refer to the teaching philosophy of John Dewey who is, beyond any cavil, an overflowing stream of knowledge and understanding and his concepts, theories and philosophies concerning the subject of education and teaching have been serving the succeeding generations as a beacon-light for more than hundred years. The epoch-making scholar lays stress on this element that the spirit of learning is a natural and God-gifted progression of erudition and improving while sailing through the turbulent waves of the wild ocean of lifespan, and his such ideas do possess weight and logical interpretations.

Philosophically speaking, the rationale behind education is to build a prosperous, healthy, responsible and welfare-oriented society through imparting relevant and appropriate training to the individuals. Not to speak of a human being, the crown of the creatures, even an animal possesses a natural tendency, instinctive programming and biological system to learn from its environment and to improve its life with every passing day. All the living creatures adapt themselves according to the challenges posed by their respective species, races, surroundings, societies, civilisations, geographical regions, climate situations and, above all, life threats on the basis of their learning and experiencing. I am, therefore, a strong advocate of letting a child and helping him further to learn through instinctive and natural process of trial-and-error method under the supervision of a teacher whose role is of a supervisor and facilitator. As “education has two sides—psychological and social”—we cannot interfere into a child’s natural course of experiencing the life through his psychological patterns to define, perceive and interpret the social environment he is living in. Driving home the point, the relation between an individual and his society plays a very crucial role in training and educating a child to become a responsible and beneficial member of the society and community. There would not be anything hyperbolic in it, if we opine that a child’s home is the miniature model of the society and the universe and all three phenomena are inseparable.

To drive home the point, an ideal school must be a place that portrays the image and gives an impression of a second home for the child where he gets intrinsically involved in all types of activities, games and routines that he performs at home. The school must not be a formal, official or a state institution, rather it must give an impression of a community-supported venue for supervised and well-directed, but not restricted or imposed, activities, socialisation, communication, experiencing, etc. Aristotle says, “Man is a social animal”; so, a child is, by birth, bound to learn how to communicate and share his feelings, expressions, queries and emotions with other fellows in the society around him. So, there is no need of imposing any language on him, with hard and fast rules, to study or learn. In a social perspective, a child will learn and develop proficiency in the target language through communication and sharing. He must be given full liberty to opt for any type of activities and exercises that the society has to offer him without any collision or clash with the social norms and values. The training and teaching centres must take into considerations the psychological patterns of the various students, their aptitude, mental tendencies and adaptability and must provide them with the space and opportunities to realise materialise their dreams. Moreover, the schools must avoid entangling with the artificial and preconceived and pre-planned syllabus and familiarise the learners with the real life experiences, situations, challenges and issues.

The subject matter of education we are exploring and exploiting is a set of complicated and complexed courses and books and is doing nothing except keeping the students away from enthusiastic and spontaneous learning. Life is the name of a holistic experience leaving behind all the confinements and boundaries of the art, literature, social sciences, mathematics, history or natural sciences realms. Basically, it is the social fabric and texture that comprises as well is composed of all the entwined texture of art, science, literature, languages, cultures or history. All the rivers of the knowledge, intellect, logic and practice are derived from one main spring and merge into one ocean and that is the spirit of life and society. When a child open his eyes in a specific society, he automatically learns the requirements of the society and his befitting role in that context, keeping in view his desires, ambitions, dreams and proclivities. The first and the foremost aspect, in this regard, is to take care of each and every individual’s psycho-mental and scholastic growth and development, so that he may be able to contribute to the welfare and progress of the society. As the human beings are born with the diversity in aptitude, capabilities, abilities and psychological parameters, we cannot treat all the individual learners/students with the same orthodox material in the name of prescribed syllabus or already experimented methodologies. Moreover, the society needs all kinds of the expert individuals including engineers, doctors, artists, poets, actors, businessmen, bankers, soldiers and many others. Notwithstanding, the basic philosophy behind education is to prepare better citizens for the communities and nations and if the basic training is at par, the further moulding of an educated citizen into any vocational or professional character and entity will be congenial and convenient in all respects.

So far as The Nature of Method is concerned, the trainers, supervisors, course designers and the policy makers must keep in mind that it is not the sensory experiences that lead to the muscular activity, rather the actuality is totally opposite to it. Making my point clearer and more graspable, actions take place before emotions and other passive senses. Unfortunately, in our conventional school teaching environment, we push the trainee child into a quagmire of passive and forced activity that is totally against the law of nature and results in creating confusion and boredom. We must understand that intellectual, rational and scholastic part is a reflection of our actions and bodily movement. A child’s nature always explores the reasoning and logic of actions he performs during his routine course of life. Moreover, images and visual symbols and signs always play a vital role in developing understanding and acquiring knowledge of certain aspects. They say seeing in believing and that should be our moto during teaching and preparing lessons for the children because it directly touches the senses and feelings of the children and arouse interest amongst them to learn and grasp new things and ideas.

The relation between Schools and the Social Progress is the backbone of our education ideology as it is the social development and growth of the society that is the main aim behind all efforts associated with establishing schools and training centres, inducting teachers after a long process of evaluation and testing of ability and attitude, etc. But, imposing social norms, laws, traditions and values through instructions and orders only will not work unless the character development of the students does not take place. A teacher or facilitator must adopt a course of activities and actions that lead the students to develop their habits as per the requirement of the society they are associated with. The school must play the role of a society or a community that makes a child realise his social responsibilities in a practical and concrete pattern, so that he may develop his behaviour and habits accordingly and prove to be a useful and valuable citizen for the community. In short, a teacher’s responsibility or area of work is not degraded to a hired person for covering a certain type of stipulated syllabus and course, rather his status and dignity is to be a true prophet of God whose assigned task is the social growth through developing the characters of the individuals.

Muttahir Ahmed Khan is an educationist, author and analyst. He can be reached at muttahir_khan@hotmail.com. All information and facts provided are the sole responsibility of the writer.

 

 


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