Celebrate books and reading
Greetings to all our readers for this season of festivals from The Progressive Teacher. While the entire country celebrates various festivals, we at The Progressive Teacher, celebrate books and reading in this issue.
Albert Einstein was once asked how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. ‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’ He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.
When children read fiction it builds empathy. When you watch television or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you alone using your imagination, create a world and people in it. You feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed. Empathy is a tool for building people, for allowing us to function as more than self-conscious and self-obsessed individuals.
Literacy is more important today than it ever was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuances, and make themselves understood. Books are a way of communication. They contain tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted cultures.
We have responsibilities to the future. Responsibilities and obligations to children, to the adults those children will become. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we live in a world in which the individual is less than nothing. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different. We have an obligation to help develop the imagination of our students which we can do by encouraging the reading habit.
In this issue of The Progressive Teacher, we bring you the usual column on Education Mantra by Ashok Ganguly where he advocates schools becoming thinking and learning communities in Head, Thinking Ahead; Ajay Agarwal informs us that development of the brain is connected to the pleasure of reading books in Books and Whole Brain Learning; Vijay Lakshmi Singh takes us on a voyage of the Amazing World of Books; John Victor teaches us how to provide mental first aid in Understanding Depression in Students; Dr Shayama Chona asks us to Remember their Problems are Like Yours in her column on parenting; Neeta Mehta, once again, brings us some mouth watering snacks for the students’ tiffin-boxes; Arundhuti Banerjee introduces a new concept of Learning through Drama; Madhusoodana’s take on how Feedback can Transform Rudimentary Skills into Competency will evoke a lot of interest, etc. In this issue we are starting a new column, Ask Sarita through which Sarita Mathur will answer all your queries on teaching, students, books, etc. Please do write in with your concerns/queries which Sarita will respond to.
The Progressive Teacher is planning to hold a Teachers’ Conclave in the third week of April 2015. The details of this Conclave are given further in this issue. If you have any suggestions/ideas regarding this Conclave, do write to us.
I await your feedback on how you liked this issue of The Progressive Teacher.
Rita Wilson has over 40 years of rich experience as educationist including over 30 years of experience in school leadership positions. She is the former Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the ICSE, New Delhi. She is a consultant to a number of corporate houses and educational institutions. She is serving as a Member of the Board of Governors/Managing Committees of some of the most prestigious schools and colleges of the country. She has vast exposure to the education systems of Japan, Germany, England, Thailand, Singapore, Sharjah and Dubai. She has initiated, conducted and organised workshops for school teachers and principals all over India With a B.A. (Hons) English Literature, M.A., M.Phil. (English Literature), B.Ed. to her credit, she has edited two series of English readers and work-books for school children.