Educating or Educaring?
There is a saying that if schools care well for the children, they will fare well in life. The roles of schools and teachers have changed today. Schools are homes away from home. Teachers are foster parents. There is a shift in focus in schooling – from delivering content to building capacity by developing generic skills of every learner – from ‘scholarship’ to ‘relationship’. The relationship which is conducive to learning
should top the agenda of every school.
We must believe that not just a few children but every child is talented. For schools, every child is important. Every child is a human being first and a learner next. We must understand that learning can never take place in an emotion-neutral environment. So schools should realise that children’s emotional and physical needs have to be fulfilled alongside cognitive needs.
Today, we live in an age of incredible change in every sphere of life. In this changing scenario, the teacher’s role becomes crucial. The teacher has to be continuously empowered to:
(a) become aware of his/her own emotional make up.
(b) develop skills in management of emotions of self and students.
(c) acquire a positive mindset towards his/her profession and learners.
(d) learn counseling skills and must be non-judgemental.
(e) make teaching – learning a collaborative and joyful process.
Since every child is talented and the intensity of talent may vary from individual to individual, schools should develop and adopt strategies and techniques to awaken the latent potential in every child.
Educating has been, by and large, a process that begins outside and is supposed to end inside – a very traditional approach. It has limited performance management. In this process, creativity, originality and enterprise of the learner are not encouraged.
Educaring is the reverse. It is not putting in but drawing out. Drawing out shy students, allotting time and space for the introverts and attending to weaker students so that they can catch up with the rest. So caring for every child is at the heart of this process. Here the heart comes first, followed by hand and then head. In ‘Educating’, it is head, hand and then heart. In ‘Educaring’, learning is more important whereas in ‘Educating’, performance is the sole focus.
In schools, we must provide facilities that satisfy the physical and emotional needs of children such as:
- Good, clean, hygienic and well-ventilated class rooms and age-appropriate furniture. In classrooms, if one door is opening into a corridor, the other door must open to nature.
- A bright and vibrant physical ambience through proper colours on walls, gardens, inner portions of boundary walls and open playgrounds.
- l Good, clean and hygienic toilets with age appropriate height and clean drinking water.
- l Rich audio-visual and teaching aids. Right technology and appropriate use of technology in the class rooms.
- l Ample opportunities for children to nurture their imagination and show case their talents in literary, scientific and sports and games fields.
- Guidance and counseling facilities. It must start form Class 8 but focused attention is needed from Class 11.
- A vibrant parent teacher body that collaborates with the school for each child.
- Special infrastructure and support system for differently abled children.
Today the most critical resource for the development of the economy is not material or financial capital but intellectual capital. This means that those nations that ensure all children acquire the knowledge and skills required to be successful in life will enjoy the highest level of economic success. If India is to achieve a real breakthrough, all children must reach the levels of academic achievement of their requirement. This, of course, calls for a radical change in our thinking about teaching and learning. Most of our secondary and senior secondary schools are at Education 1.0 level where pure instructionism is going on. Thus, the schools of yesterday and today are not the kind of schools that we will require for tomorrow. We need new strategies, new processes, new mindset – in effect, an entirely new paradigm of instructional activity.
So in short, we need to perceive every child holistically as a human being – not as heart, head and hands – the whole is greater than the sum of parts. Teachers have to run the extra mile to cater to the learning style of every child. Simultaneously we need to equip the teachers appropriately. If the schools celebrate diversity in the classroom taking good care of inclusivity in the classroom, we are in the right direction and the teachers will also appreciate the importance of ‘Educaring’.
Ashok Ganguly is an educationist of more than 32 years standing in school education. He has worked in the government sector in the state of Uttar Pradesh and also in the Central Government. He has occupied important positions – from the principal of a senior secondary school to district and division level head and also at the state level. He was the Director, SCERT and Joint Secretary of Education in UP; worked for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan project in UP and was Chairman, CBSE, New Delhi from 2000-2008. He played an important role in the development of the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and was the Chairman of the Ganguly Committee on admissions to Nursery.
Of late, he has been appointed UNICEF UP supported Consultant – for Monitoring and Supervision of Model School scheme in Uttar Pradesh and for setting up of 6000 Model Schools at Block Level across India as a benchmark of excellence.