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A focus on humanizing education

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New Delhi: In a communication received from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Distance Education Council (DEC). Readmore...
Children think with their hands PDF Print E-mail
It is a well-known fact that children are active rather than passive. They prefer to be doing something instead of sitting still to hear discourses. the gifted
Of course, when their appetite for movement is temporarily satisfied, they will listen readily enough to the right kind and dose of oral lesson.School alone is not merely a place of activity for children with provision for entertaining them when they are tired. It must be a place of disciplined activity, offering pursuits, experiences and lessons. The teacher should aim at giving to his pupils the fullest possible opportunity for learning things in a practical way. There is no advantage in encouraging them to speak of “chalk-stuff gas” when they should be thinking of CO 2. The natural activity of children is a valuable asset to the teacher, but its value depends on right use. For example, we know that children are fond of making many things, but this does not justify us in devising a sequence of dull exercises in the use of tools. Such exercises are the outcome of adult minds. Hence, they have no appeal for children. The child will not compete with the mature individual. The homely proverb, “It is by smiting that one becomes smith,” finds its echo in the teaching maxim “Learn by doing.” Even Mahatma Gandhi, in his scheme of basic education, said that it is through work that utility products of the society can be made, personality of man developed, his interests widened and intellect sharpened. The education of the present cyber generation cannot, therefore, be word-ridden and book-centered as it was in the past. The child of today is to be equipped adequately to face the challenging global tasks of tomorrow. The child’s education cannot be an extension of the past.

Skill in any form of bodily activity contains a large element of automatic motion, the result of repeated practice. The development of child’s mind should come through manual training. Work experience may be described as purposive, meaningful manual work resulting in either service oriented or skill oriented activities. Purposive, productive work and services related to the needs of child and community will prove meaningful to the learner.

Let us take hand-work, a familiar school activity which exemplifies the foregoing principle. Most children think with their hands rather than with their brains. The view has been established beyond doubt, but we have not yet applied fully in all the schools of the country. When we do apply it, we shall use handwork as the medium of instruction in many subjects, treating technique in manual operations as a means to an end rather than an end itself. From the formative years, it is desirable to cultivate deftness of hand by practising the manipulations in paper, thread, paint, cloth, wax and other simple materials. At each stage, the skills thus gained should be applied to the making of things such as children desire to make. This kind of teaching has a great merit of enabling the pupil to judge his own work. It is quite often difficult to make the pupil see the reason for an adverse judgement as to the merit of an essay or any other written exercise. Besides, his opinion may also vary. But there can no argument as to whether a piece of handwork through embroidery or fabric painting is successfully accomplished. Merit and fault are alike, plainly visible, and it is easy to compare two attempts at making the same thing.

Hand-work has the further and most valuable attribute of giving scope to pupils who do not respond readily to verbal or literary instruction. Unfortunately, such children are often discouraged by finding themselves regarded as dull or stupid according to school standards. Given the time and opportunity, they will often excel in handwork, and there-by recover and keep up that self-respect which should never be destroyed at a tender age.

 

 

Give a pig when it grunts and a child when it cries,
and you will have a fine pig and a bad child.

- Danish proverb