Tuesday, October 27, 2020


 


Experiential Learning

“In its simplest form, experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential education first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking (Lewis & Williams, 1994, p. 6).

It’s necessary for learners to attach a new piece of information to an old one through the process of reflection and relation. According to me, why experiential learning works is because it is the process of acquiring and experience and not just information. If a student acquires new information that’s unrelated to anything already stored in his brain, it’s hard for the new information to get into those networks because it has no scaffolding to cling to (Opencolleges, 2017).

 Experiential learning is also built upon a foundation of interdisciplinary and constructivist learning. Experiential methodology doesn’t treat each subject as being walled off in its own room, unconnected to any other subjects. Compartmentalized learning doesn’t reflect the real world, while as the experiential classroom works to create an interdisciplinary learning experience that mimics real world learning (Wurdinger, 2005, p. 24).

 Schwartz outlines nine characteristics that should be present in order to define experiential learning experiences. One of the nine characteristics is:

 Engagement in purposeful endeavors: In experiential learning, the learner is the self-teacher, therefore there must be “meaning for the student in the learning.” The learning activities must be personally relevant to the student.

 Relevant learning is effective learning, and that alone should be enough to get us rethinking our curriculum and lesson plans. As it turns out, the old drill-and-kill method is neurologically useless. Relevant, meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know are what help build neural connections and long-term memory storage (Opencolleges, 2017).

“Experiential learning is aligned with the constructivist theory of learning” in that the “outcomes of the learning process are varied and often unpredictable” and “learners play a critical role in assessing their own learning” (Wurdinger, 2005, p. 69). How one student chooses to solve a problem will be different from another student, and what one student takes away from an experience will be different from the others.

Engagement in purposeful endeavors

Let us take this Scenario to depict the third characteristics Schwartz outlines Engagement in purposeful endeavors,

How to make any activity purposeful and relevant to a learner so that he sees the meaning attached to his real life? In a lesson plan containing Math sums of addition and subtraction being taught to a 1st grader, the student will be completely disinterested in the beginning. He will see numbers and get confused. Many schools including mine would show them some sticks and do “Takeaways” for Subtraction.

In order to turn this knowledge into an experience for the learner and make it real to him, so that he acquires and assimilates this experience, the school can arrange a small class visit to the school canteen. Students can be sent with a small sum of money from home. The teacher first demonstrates how she asks for the price of the food item she wants to buy. How she then looks for how much money she has. How much she hands over at the counter and what change she receives at the end along with her food.

Then each learner goes through the experience of relating, identifying, calculating, subtracting, receiving and reflecting.

Conclusion

When learners go through this real life process, they not only relate, reflect but assimilate and make the experience as their own and easily grasp concrete concepts. This in itself is the process of learning by experience or learning by doing in accordance to laws of “Experiential Learning”.

 

References

Opencolleges. (2017, March 24). How to make learning relevant. Retrieved from

https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/how-to-make-learning-relevant/  

Schwartz, M. (2012). Best practices in experiential learning. Retrieved from https://www.mcgill.ca/eln/files/eln/doc_ryerson_bestpracticesryerson.pdf

Gollub, J. P., Bertenthal, M. W., Labov, J. B., & Curtis, P. C. (2002). Learning and understanding: Improving advanced study of mathematics and science in US high schools. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/download/10129#

Thursday, July 2, 2020

E Learning Schools – Is the future ?








Virtual Schools – A comprehensive analysis:

The E-Learning is a system based on formulated teaching with the help of the digital resources, widely known as Virtual Learning or Online Education. Gadgets like the Computers, Smart Phones, and Tabs that use Internet are the integral part of E-Learning. The computer so far has been a medium of entertainment to the children. Now, the primary objective of an educational institution is to offer the learners the 21st century skills and knowledge using this medium as aid of instruction. As Mr. J. Krishnamurthy says, “the goal should be making the student to stand on his own in the world, when he becomes the adult.”

Today’s world is a challenging environment. We have to go beyond the boundaries of regular curriculum and help our learners to meet these challenges with confidence. Leadership and Skills are the highly valued and sought after qualities in the modern corporate. Today, E-Learning as a mode of education has become inevitable and expansive. Are we in the midst of a revolutionary transformation to our primitive education system? The present pandemic situation has pushed us into finding alternate methods of learning. Is virtual education a solution to the persisting problem of illiteracy and poverty?

Advantages of E-Learning:

·         We are witnessing and living in the era of technology and fourth industrial revolution where society and especially children like to use innovative modern gadgets.

·         Virtual learning has dual benefit and impact, namely the visual and audio stimulus. Globally, reputed educational institutions have proactively started using E-Learning as part of their curriculum.

·         Children are experts at using computers, tabs and smart phones. So naturally, they feel excited to attend E-Learning sessions, as it is interesting and something new. They like to be included as an adult and be part of the modern technology and earn proficiency in Coding, Robotics and Gaming software.

·         Virtual education is a time saver. Children spend a lot of time travelling to school and back. Remote learning not only gives children plenty of time to play and attend other classes, but also allows a child to work on his special talent simultaneously. For example, a child who is a singer or a cricketer who does not have time to attend regular school classes can benefit by remote learning.

·         Virtual education is cost effective and affordable. Educational fees can be regulated according to the learner’s financial status. It avoids the need of big school buildings and space. It saves electricity and resources.

·         Different tools of learning aids like videos, PowerPoint presentations, websites, e-books, Wikipedia, YouTube, Apps, and Multimedia can be a very effective way to teach which is not present in a regular classroom session.

·         Comfort of home as a learning environment makes it safe and a better choice for many.

·         Slow-learners can be given individual attention and extra practice. E Learning propagates active learning at a learner’s pace.

·         In E-Learning, the contents of the lesson will be the most updated information whereas in traditional teaching dependence is upon fixed and obsolete contents in the textbooks, which might need regular updating.

·         In E-Learning, the parents can be involved and the school can interact with the parents easily. The fear of punishment is substituted by the fun and enjoyment. Parents can review and access the teacher’s skills & proficiency.

·         Since we have ample time to spare, can conduct Life Skill subjects, Personality development & Leadership classes, Special Language Classes, Entrepreneurship and Classes on Values, Morals, Ethics, Manners & Etiquette.

·         Access to teachers worldwide is a possibility, which will enable learners from any country to access industry experts. Special guest lectures can be conducted for higher grades. Both students and teachers can have flexibility in dealing with subjects and timing.

·         Students become more civilized, matured and develop self-discipline. The attendance may reach near 100% or there may be no need of attendance as the learner will always have access to the learning materials and will easily catch up if sessions are missed.

·         Research and collaborative skills are improved. Easy access to international competitions and clubs that are online becomes a reality.

·         Rural areas and children who have no access to education can be facilitated to virtually join an online school there by striking illiteracy with the 21st century opportunities.

Conclusion:

Virtual education has many merits. Still it is not for all. Many would prefer regular education that offers socializing and a conducive learning environment with peers, teachers and school buildings with classrooms and labs. Yes, we agree that virtual education cannot give live swimming lessons. What virtual education can do is to offer an opportunity to those who does not wish to go to a regular school due to several reasons, may it be affordability or preferring home schooling or lack of time and accessibility.

Virtual teaching can be a boon to many teachers who are unemployed due to several reasons from being personal to social or political. The opportunity of working from home should be given to those who want it, so they can contribute economically towards the development of their family and society.

Children coming from any background should have access to affordable, high quality education irrespective of their situation. Virtual education can empower women and physically challenged children and adults. It can transform of our education system towards a transformed world.

Article by: 

Prof. A. Manoharan ( CEO Auro Mirra Edu Care/ Academic Director & Founder Spell bee International)

&

Shweta Rangan ( Co- Founder S T E A M I E Foundation/ Academic Director The S T E A M I E School)

 


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Essence of Education


Education in the largest sense is an act or experience that has a formative effect on the mindcharacter or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately passes its accumulated knowledgeskills, and values from one generation to another.
Unfortunately, our present education system provides marginal help in the development of the overall personality of a child. We must remember that, it is the personality, which is more important than academic qualification.
Our education system in general, promotes a battle of unhealthy competition. Most of the time, learners have to read and mug-up entire textbooks without any understanding of it. In this process learners, do not develop skills that are essential for their development.
Our learners become incapable of performing critical analysis, for example in subjects like history, culture and religion, learners take the line of establishment or the views of predominant majority. They are not able to look at things from their own perspective. If we want our society to become far better than what we are now, then we must develop a culture of looking at things critically in order to arrive at a comprehensive understanding. Teachers should be able to cascade their knowledge and experience effectively to the children.


In an attempt to develop certain fundamental aspects in student teacher relationship, which would help to enhance the overall learning capacity of the learner, the following principles can be practiced:

1.      No scolding and punishment practice:
It is important not to shout, abuse or physically punish children.  Learners generally, are not able to make any connection between their behaviour and punishment. The fear for the punishment controls their behaviour. They dont correct their behaviour by understanding their mistakes. When they think that they are not being watched, the tendency to engage in the behaviour that is restrained, reasserts in them. So instead of punitive approach if we shift to guidance approach it will open the door for working together. It creates trust and invites cooperation. It offers children a chance to understand themselves and others. It gives us an opportunity to be seen as a safe and trusted source of meaningful guidance.
We must encourage learners to self-discipline out of interest and inspiration that he gets from the teacher. If interest were promoted in learners, they would like to learn, as they like to eat and play.
2.      Selflessness is the key ingredient:
If the teacher is selfless, the child will learn to be selfless. The child learns most of his lessons subliminally from the teacher. We must understand our students not only from academic perspectives and cognitive developmental stages, but also from emotional, psychological, cultural and socio economic perspectives. How you teach is more important than what you teach.
Children are watching our every move, every response. They are noticing every slightest change in the tone of our voice and our body language. They can observe and sense whether we are in stress, over worked or overwhelmed, whether we are happy or sad. Therefore, the attitude of the teacher will directly affect the student. If we as educators are compassionate and understanding toward our students, we increase their potential to learn. This is what I call selfless teaching.
3.      Inspiration and interest:
If there is one thing we know about kids, it is that they have short attention spans and prefer to postpone things. It is one of the most difficult aspects of becoming a teacher learning how to motivate the students. Students who are not motivated would not learn effectively and cannot retain the information. Also they will not only not participate but also become disruptive and get distracted to external forces. While motivating the children is a difficult task, the results would be a rewarding experience. Motivated students are most excited to learn and participate. Some children are self-motivated with a natural love for learning. Even with the students who do not have the natural drive, a competent teacher can make learning fun and inspire them to reach their maximum potential.  
“The teacher’s enormous interest in the subject should be communicated to the learner. The child must be inspired by the teacher to acquire interest.”
How can we do this? The teachers should inspire the children in the best possible ways. The perfect teacher should be able to make the child feel confident. Educators should have the ability to make each learner special and important. They must know how to encourage and connect with children regardless of their own levels of education. 
It is seen that this process comes down to hard work rather than inspiration. Teaching is all about the relationship between teacher and pupil more than anything else. The best teachers are always wanting to do and find out more about their own subject, pushing out the boundaries of their learning and teaching. Teachers need to keep learning and growing. They are not to be characterised by their own academic performance but by their thirst for creativity and ability to pass on the benefits of education.
The few inspiring ideas are:
·         To get to know the students closely showing interest in their life.
·         Encouraging learners to think outside the box.
·         Energize classrooms with innovative strategies.
·         Include small play methods and games into teaching practice.
·         Use examples and analogies by way of short stories.
·         Be a role model to the learners by practicing ethics, morals and values.
·         Make teaching interactive.
·         Be ready to go the extra mile when needed.
·         Be compassionate, understanding and forgiving.
 Once the interest is awakened, learning becomes automated. Nothing cannot prevent a child from learning. Interest and inspiration are infectious and they easily spread. It is infectious from the teacher to a student.  It is infectious from one student to the others.
4.      Be the subject matter expert, promote inquiry:
That subject matter is an essential component of teacher’s knowledge.  After all, if teaching entails helping others learn, then understanding what is to be taught is a central requirement. Curious students will come to class asking questions about the subject and the teacher may not know the answer. Being able to ask and answer question is an important part of teaching and learning. Teachers must encourage this spark of curiosity and inquiry in children. Inspiration rises in children by allowing them to interact while teaching. For this, it is necessary that the teachers possess mastery in their subject of teaching and has a mountain of patience. An educator must possess the skill of multi-tasking and research.
The school can encourage such teachers, enabling them to teach better. The attention of the child towards the teacher is a function of teacher’s devotion to the subject. The mastery of a subject by a teacher creates a conducive atmosphere for learning for a learner. Children will work harder for the teacher they respect. 
6.      Elementary level: Teacher should be more qualified and skilled:
Teaching Kindergarten and elementary level is definitely not easy. In fact, it an art that requires various skills and creativity. When we teach higher grades, for a struggling learner, we could go back to the basics and build up from there. In kindergarten, we are in the basics and the children are in their most formative years of education. They will mentally respond only to the energy, inspiration, cheerfulness of the teacher and physically to toys, stories and games that may interest them. Therefore, it is not easy to approach them and help them to extend their cooperation and willingness to learn.
Their social skills are in developmental stages and because of changes in attitudes and personality, each day may be different from the next. All this makes it very challenging. There are schools, which have recognized this need. Educators, who have a doctorate in education, handle the elementary classes in such schools.
Teachers of Kindergarten need enormous patience, understanding and various resourceful techniques to work with young learners. This can be achieved only by culture, education and experience in the field.
Expanding personality of the teacher is a gift to learners:
A great teacher is sensitive toward learner needs. To excite and inspire a student requires excitement and a passion for the faculty itself.
Enthusiasm is contagious. All it takes for a student to get excited about going to class is a teacher who is excited and whose positive energy fills the classroom. Creativity is a key to captivating a student. Showing a student something they have not seen before, even showing them something familiar but in a new way is the surest way to leave an impression that lasts for years.
A great teacher is always dedicated to his students, with an unwavering commitment to their education and well being. One of the truest marks of a great teacher is the ability to bring out the best in students. He recognizes the students’ potential and he inspires them to be just that.
Anyone can become a teacher but it takes a special person to be a great teacher. To inspire the students, the teacher must rise above the crowd and make a lasting impression.
  Self-discipline is the secret:
Teachers follow students through each pivotal stage of development. In fact, a teacher is a role model influencing every facet of the student’s growth and developing their innate potentials, in addition to being a motivator, guide and friend. However, moral responsibility for the learners rests primarily on the shoulders of the teachers. Unless teachers follow the disciplines themselves, teaching discipline to the students will not be effective.
 Conclusion:
Creating inspiration in students is to develop a constant passion in them for learning. If they do, they will never cease to grow. The goal of a School is not just education, certainly not money. The greatest goal of the school is to enable the child to emerge as an individual in a free atmosphere where the child can learn fearlessly with an open mind. Education is the powerful instrument to achieve this goal.
By Vidya Rangan & Shweta Rangan



Monday, June 1, 2020

Principles of Education



The first image that comes to my mind thinking of my school days is “Classroom”, “Lectures” and the extremely horrifying experience of attending parent-teacher meetings. The routine classroom scene was, the teacher came, delivered, and left. I cannot generalize this recollection as others might have had a fairly better experience. I for one was a student who always had to catch up on studies and did not have the time to make happy memories with school friends and amazing teachers in it.

When I had the chance to revisit my school recently, to my astonishment and embarrassment, I had failed to remember a few of my teachers, and only after serious recollection was I able to place them. They had left no lasting impression on me. The only teacher I remembered was my history teacher in grade 5. The whole point of this article is why I remember her and not the others. 

I asked myself, what could I do differently? How can I make a difference in each one of my students? What are the missing component and the secret? After a lot of self-reflection and introspection, it came to me. The answer was “Sincere Love”. Love towards teaching and educating love towards children, and a sincere interest in seeing them emerge as individuals under your care. We teachers cannot replicate parents; we do not have to, but can become the strongest of mentors for their continuous development.

I continuously researched “latest education techniques that made a real difference” (Reseachgate, 2019) not just for an average child but a below-average child as well.  I got an opportunity to work at a school that had its roots in Holistic Education based on “Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Education philosophy” (Ignited 2018). It was here that I learned a very valuable lesson, I will never forget. There are no average students, only incompetent teachers. It was not just a statement but it was an epiphany, a revelation. In fact, I think that I deserve more credit by allowing myself to cite it under my name year 2014.

There are many who developed “alternative pedagogical theories” (Researchgate, 2020) in response to the “perceived deficiencies of traditional institutional education” (Igniting Brilliance: Integral Education for the 21st Century, 2010). My practices and beliefs of teaching receive great influence by Sir Aurobindo’s “An education for the future” (The New Leam, 2017) and other models of education that are striving to successfully include and apply holistic, progressive or alternative pedagogies and educational approaches.

INTEGRAL EDUCATION INSTRUCTIONAL MODEL:

Esbj√∂rn-Hargens (Ed) 2010) in his Integral Education, states that:

The teacher, the students, and the classroom can engage in transformation processes through various practices of awareness, interaction, and organization. It is of utmost importance that the teacher continually engage in his or her own transformation  practices, such as meditation and self-reflection, in order to better stabilize post-rational modes of being and knowing


“This holistic approach recognizes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (Aristotle). We are missing something significant in our modern reductionist practices. This mechanistic view, which works by breaking things into constituent parts, does not tell the whole story. In essence, the holistic perspective takes into account that life emerges out of individual elements.

Let me give an example here, I applied this principle in my classroom. I presented students with an activity where they had to write down all that they could find about “Banana”. The challenge was that they could stop the task only after no new information remained. After exhausting the information they already knew, the students requested for some time to research new information. With every new attempt at research, they came up with newer information. Finally, they marveled at the amount of information present in the world on just one topic and realized that the possibilities were infinite. In this effort, I got them to read a lot more than I could teach.

Ken Wilbur is an American writer on transpersonal psychology and his own integral theory, a systematic philosophy that suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience.

His Integral Map enables the user to gain a more comprehensive understanding of any issue – including education — and using an Integral approach can help to facilitate greater self-awareness. Applying the integral approach to education, we consider all the following aspects:

FOUR DIMENSIONS: The educational space has four irreducible dimensions that are all equally important and must be included in multiple ways: a subjective experience, objective behavior, intersubjective culture, and inter objective systems. Each of these four dimensions has depth and complexity that develops over time; this development can be facilitated. In particular, Integral teachers need to monitor how they are meeting their students where they are developmentally and not placing them in over their heads. These four levels are associated with the four most prevalent worldviews: traditional, modern, postmodern, and integral. Each of these worldviews has its own preferred behaviors, experiences, culture, and systems.

DEVELOPMENTAL LINES: It is crucial to attend to the multiple developmental lines in teachers as well as students. This involves understanding the complex relationship between the capacity to take multiple perspectives (the cognitive line), to interact in meaningful ways with others (the interpersonal line), and to engage in the world centric ethical action (the moral line).

DIFFERENT STATES: Teachers must recognize and work creatively with the many natural and non-ordinary states of embodiment and awareness that they and their students cycle through both in the classroom and in daily life in response to class content and activities. The more that teachers can support students in accessing various gross, subtle, causal, and witnessing states, the more fluid they will be in their own embodied awareness.

DIFFERENT TYPES: Because there are many types of learners and dimensions of learning, an educator needs to work with multiple typologies in order to provide the most responsive and effective educational space. Key typological categories to use include the five senses, gender, personality, and preferred narrative style (i.e., first-, second-, and third-person).

CONCLUSION

At the beginning of this essay, I had mentioned my History teacher. I give her a lot of credit to who I am today. She recognized the emptiness in me and filled the gaps. She gave me a lot of encouragement and reinforcement. She did all this while teaching a class of 40. I always felt she was teaching only me. She was patient, understanding, rewarding, and impartial. While she continued her pace with the rest of the class, she allowed me to work at my own pace. She was never judgmental or complaining. I do not remember hearing a shouting or act of intimidation from her. Her attitude had it all. She never minded if someone did not want to learn. She could still teach them and learn from them. With her, the classroom, time, hot Indian afternoons quite escaped my notice. The parent-teacher meetings were an occasion worth celebrating as she always sent my parents back with a smile.

The philosophy of Integral Education spoke to me of all the ways that I could be like her. I practiced this with perseverance in my class. In this philosophy, I share her spirit and revolution. It transformed me so much that I do not recognize myself. Today education is my strength and not my weakness.


3.      


Integral Education

“To love to learn is the most precious gift that one can make to a child, to learn always and everywhere”.

–Mirra Alfassa

One cannot know which philosophy is right for any given situation or curriculum, unless he has taken his seat above them. In any case, the finest present one can give to a child would be to teach him to know himself and to master himself. To know oneself means to know the motives of one’s actions and reactions, the why and the how of all that happens in oneself. To master oneself means to do what one has decided to do, to do nothing but that, not to listen to or follow impulses, desires or fancies. (On Education, July 1930).

Philosophy of Integral Education

Integral education attempts to discover how the many partial truths of educational philosophies and methods inform and complement each other in a coherent way, while acknowledging that the whole truth is still evolving and can never be completely captured. Integral education includes approaches to education from biological, neurological, societal, cultural, psychological, and spiritual fields of study. It involves considering the individual and collective aspects of teachers and students, as well as the interior and exterior modes of experience and reality, termed the four quadrants (see graph below). An integral approach also considers the many developmental lines in a human being —cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, artistic, moral, spiritual, and others. In addition, the Integral framework understands that these lines evolve in stages, or levels, such as pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional, and that each human being passes through these levels and cannot skip any one. It also acknowledges the importance for an individual’s development and motivation of states of consciousness. Lastly, integral education considers types, people’s enduring tendencies and inclinations toward, for example, introversion or extraversion; agency or communion; and orderliness or spontaneity.

Summarized, an integral approach to education is one that works to include all of these different elements (quadrants, lines, levels, types, and states) as fully and as intentionally as possible in the learning and teaching experience (Next Step P1, n.d.).

Image Source: Next Step

Why Integral Education?

An integral approach to education supports the continuing growth of learners and teachers along the entire spiral of development over the full span of life, in other words, from cradle to Cosmos!

This education philosophy not only works for the students but also brings a phenomenal transformation in the teachers as well. It is a philosophy of interdependence, mutual growth and change.

Self-Reflection:

For me schooling was full of lectures. Rote method of learning and pressure after pressure. The routine classroom scene was, teacher came, delivered and left. When I had the chance to revisit my school recently, to my astonishment and embarrassment, I had failed to remember few of my teachers and after serious recollection was I able to place them. That is the kind of impression; they left no positive imprints nor negative on me. I was blank.

So I asked myself, what could I do differently? How can I make a difference in each one of my students? What is the missing component and the secret? After a lot of self-reflection and introspection, it came to me. The answer was sincere Love. Love towards teaching and educating, love towards children and a sincere interest in seeing them emerge as individuals under your care. We teachers cannot replicate parents; we do not have to, but can become the strongest of scaffolds for their continuous development.

I attended many interviews and asked many questions. I worked in a few schools and finally got my calling. I got an opportunity to work at a school that had its roots in Holistic Education based on Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Education philosophy. Here we were ready to experiment with just about anything that would work for our students from Glen Doman to Maria Montessori under the broader wing of IE.

Role of teachers in Integral Education:

1. Complete self-control not only to the extent of not showing any anger, but remaining absolutely quiet and undisturbed under all circumstances.

 2. In the matter of self-confidence, must also have a sense of the relativity of his importance. Above all, must have the knowledge that the teacher himself must always progress if he wants his students to progress, must not remain satisfied either with what he is or with what he knows.

3. Must not have any sense of essential superiority over his students nor preference or attachment whatsoever for one or another.

4. Must know that all are equal spiritually and instead of mere tolerance must have a global comprehension or understanding.

5. “The business of both parent and teacher is to enable and to help the child to educate himself, to develop his own intellectual, moral, aesthetic and practical capacities and to grow freely as an organic being, not to be kneaded and pressured into form like an inert plastic material.” (The Human Cycle, 1954).

Educational Aims:

All studies, or in any case the greater part of studies consists in learning about the past, in the hope that it will give you a better understanding of the present. You must take great care to explain to the students that the purpose of everything that happened in the past was to prepare what is taking place now, and that everything that is taking place now is nothing but a preparation for the road towards the future, which is truly the most important thing for which we must prepare. It is by cultivating intuition that one prepares to live for the future.

The School: The school should be an opportunity for progress for the teacher as well as for the student. Each one should have the freedom to develop freely. A method is never so well applied as when one has discovered it oneself. Otherwise, it is as boring for the teacher as for the student. (On Education, Feb 1968).

Conclusion:

The best thing I found in this philosophy was that we are encouraged to think outside the box and revolutionize teaching practices. We are encouraged not to try to follow what is done in the universities outside. We are discouraged from pumping into the students more and more data and information.

Let us not give them so much work that they may not get time for anything else. You are not in a great hurry to catch a train. Let the students understand what they learn. Let them assimilate it. Finishing the course should not be our goal.

We should make the curriculum in such a way that the students might get time to attend the subjects they want to learn. They should have sufficient time for their physical exercises. We do not want them to be very good students, yet pale, thin, anemic.

If this way they will not have sufficient time for their studies, that can be made up by expanding the course over a longer period. Instead of finishing a course in four years, you can take six years. Rather it would be better for them; they will be able to assimilate more of the atmosphere here and their progress will not be just in one direction at the cost of everything else. It will be an all-round progress in all directions.

I agree that it is a complete rat race out there, but are we really looking at the quality of graduates than the quantity of toppers? It is time to rethink our objectives and goals for the future (On Education, Feb 1968).



Gender Inequality and Feminist Theory




In many educational institutions across the globe, gender inequality is an underlying issue. Girls have been discriminated against in terms of various aspects as compared to their male counterparts. The primary aspect, in terms of gender inequality, which has been experienced as a recurring issue, is in participation. The students are required to participate in number of areas in educational institutions according to the prescribed curriculum. It has been observed especially in India that girls were provided with less participation opportunities as compared to their male counterparts and hence, it led to prevalence of gender inequality. In rural communities, this problem has been more severe as compared to urban communities. 

Gender inequality in education is regarded as the major impediment within the course of overall progression of the system of education. Therefore, it is vital to formulate measures and programs that are focused upon making provision of equal rights and opportunities to girls, not only within the course of acquisition of education, but also in the implementation of other job duties. The parents at home and teachers in school need to provide equal participation opportunities to girls. The main areas that have been taken into account are, factors causing gender inequality in education, factors influencing educational attainment, and programs promoting women’s education.(Researchgate, 2019)
Feminist theory aims to understand the mechanisms and roots of gender inequality in education, as well as their societal repercussions. Like many other institutions of society, educational systems are characterized by unequal treatment and opportunity for women. Almost two-thirds of the world’s 862 million illiterate people are women, and the illiteracy rate among women is expected to increase in many regions, especially in several African and Asian countries (UNESCO 2005; World Bank 2007).
Gender Inequality in education is a persistent problem within the Indian society, especially for the girls, belonging to economically weaker sections of the society. In rural communities, there has been prevalence of the viewpoint among individuals that girls are meant to carry out the household chores and school education is not meant for them. They eventually get married and in their marital homes, they would not have any opportunities to make use of their educational skills, but carry out the household responsibilities. However, these perspectives are changing and girls too are encouraged to get an education. (Researchgate, 2019)

My college life offered many unforgettable experiences. My closest friend was the college topper. She had great aspirations and dreams. The moment she graduated, she was married off to a businessperson. When I raised my objections in her favor, she calmly indicated that she was very much grateful to her parents for allowing her to at least graduate. Her situation was in fact far superior to her cousins who were married off the moment they turned 18 and some before that. Today, the same girl is a woman, whose major role is to cook three meals a day, take care of her large family and follow traditions. She hardly has time for her own parents and friends. When I enquired after her wellbeing, she replied, “All I do is make 50 rotis a day and cook dal. Cleaning, dusting and furniture arrangement is where I experience some creativity, I am exhausted”.

My philosophy of Integral education is formed with the subtle purpose of uplifting the humanity by holistic education and considers “Gender inequality” as a detrimental issue. Being from India, where most social evils are directed towards women, I find “Feminist Theory” aligning with my philosophy of education. If women are constantly deprived of education, how can education become Holistic?
Another friend whose family was impoverished had to give up her education in order for her brothers to receive it in her stead. She was a better student but none of the brothers showed sympathy towards her condition not objected.

My own mother was a victim of this gender bias. She and her sister were far more qualified to study in English medium but my grandfather decided to place only his sons in such a school due to the fees being higher. His decision was an influence of the social conditioning where girls have to be married as soon as possible. My father was a liberal man and offered assistance and support at length to her education and helped her to graduate. My mother opted for English as the medium of instruction in college but the damage had been done by the lack of English language in school life. It was a struggle for her to have to suddenly migrate from mother tongue to an English medium of instruction. My mother and her sister have shown exceptional progress in their education than her brothers and trained themselves vigorously, and graduated. If my grandfather would have recognized this potential, their progress could have been phenomenal but he only dismissed them as girls who are fit to be married off and raise a family.

There are many other parts of a school life where the whole curriculum is ignorantly designed to perpetuate Gender bias. For instance, the school curriculum might have a field trip in peak summer. The boys would happily wear shorts but the girls will be heavily clothed as per Indian norms of school uniform. Many girls would consciously miss the field trip.
UNESCO’s educational aims are to:
·         Support the achievement of Education for All (EFA);
·         Provide global and regional leadership in education;
·         Strengthen education systems worldwide from early childhood to the adult years; and
·         Respond to contemporary global challenges through education.( UNESCO education strategy 2014-2021)

As an advocate of Holistic education, I find myself observing the disparity between the reality of education in India and the global purpose of education. Progress and development is happening no doubt but it is at a snail’s pace not equal to the transitioning times. We need 21st century skills and reforms to fight the social evils that have seeped in our classrooms and corridors. As teachers, educators, counselors and administrators, I implore you all to join hands, fight for all the women out there and contribute in your own way to end this gender bias. Let there be no more of degrading incidents, experience and loss of opportunity for us and for our sisters.




  Experiential Learning “In its simplest form, experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential educa...