Every year I grow – I add years to my age, class to my schooling, and knowledge to my bank. But how much do I grow as a person? At the start of this academic year – I would like teachers (and parents) to focus on growing me, making me stronger, richer, more resourceful and more empowered. Isn’t that education should be primarily about?
Here is a list of ideas that ‘me’ (as a student) wants to share with you so that you can eM-POWER me:
Give me time to think. When you give a task, when you ask questions - give me time to think. If others answer too soon this disrupts my thinking - give me time to think. Other's thoughts are important, but mine are more important to me. I will digest other's thoughts after I have ruminated over my thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts are unrelated, some confused, sometimes 'wrong', sometimes irritating - whatever. But they are my thoughts - my only source of learning. Example: I like thinking breaks. One teacher when she asks a question holds a sign in her hand which says THINK. After few minutes she puts up a sign which says TALK
Give me space to bring my own experiences. I want to relate things to my own life. I want to relate each and every thing to me. I like to give context to all learning and what better context then my own journey. Example: I like when my teacher starts activities from what I have seen, done, heard about etc. Sometime she tells us one day in advance - "Tomorrow we are doing an activity with shadows. Tonight play with a torch - make many shadows. Observe also how your shadow is when you walk in sun or in room with light".
Give me opportunities to think. Please confuse me, agitate me, and stimulate me. I like to think, though not necessarily the same way as you. I like to get lost so that I can experience the joy of finding, of discovering. Many times I like to go astray, not take the beaten path. Push my thinking off road. Help me enjoy the folds of exploration in which learning lies. Example: I liked how aunty gave us yellow paper and yellow crayons to draw on. We all struggled - but it was fun!
Give me confidence in my thinking. Like anybody, I have doubts. I am unsure of many things, oft looking lost. I don't necessarily need you to guide me at those times; rather I need you to have more faith in my thoughts, in my endeavours. I may be dead wrong. But I will rather make my wrongs into right myself. All I need is somebody who believes in my abilities. Example: I get confused with subtraction of numbers, all aunty did was to give me some coloured tokens and I am still working on subtraction.
Help me learn how to analyse. How to look for cause-effects in my life and make analysis one of the simple ways to learn. Encourage me to ponder over my problems. Do not tell what went wrong, rather be there as a questioner to help me probe the events around me, for me to see what worked and what did not. This kind of reflective questioning will only give me the ability to be life learner, to learn on my own. Example: I learn a lot through our "arrow tool". The arrow base is red and arrow head yellow. For red I have to think what I did and for yellow I have to think about what the effect was. This way there is no lecture, but all children reflecting on their own.
Encourage me to solve my own problems. Don't solve my problems. Don't even think that I am not capable of solving them. Rather invite me to use my creativity, my resourcefulness to solve my own problems. When I have a problem, I don't need people who can solve it, I need to have people who have faith in me that I can solve it (sooner or later). Example: I struggled when we were not able to tie the knot to make the puppet but it was a joy when we were allowed to figure out our own way of doing it. I did it with rubber bands!
If you want to guide - guide me to be aware. Give me the sensitivity to sink into my senses and receive the now. Give me the joy of suspending thought and just being with my experience. This is really helpful. Ask me to see more, hear more, feel more and simply be more. Push me to close my eyes when sight is distracting. Push me to touch when tactile is vibrating. Push me to listen when I am only hearing. Example: I like when we get material - we are told not to start the activity immediately, rather we are encouraged to just be with the material - feel it, observe it, almost meditate on it and once we are one with the material, we start the work.
Give me the ability to be aware of and question my own beliefs. Make me realise how my beliefs can limit me. Show me that the very ability to think can make me assume, conclude erroneously, to draw faulty inferences, to reject what I could be embracing and vice versa. Do this by pointing out events and results contrary to my beliefs. Example: I was complaining that I can't climb (the tree), when I was reminded how I had climbed the slide from slope side. This reminder made me break my break and try the tree afresh.
Give value to my decisions, to my evaluations, my judgments. These may be quite off your or popular opinion. But as you value my wisdom, so do I grow it. As you gently tend to my plant of self assessment, I develop deep sense of self reliance, self growth. Example: Every time I take my work to aunty, she asks me how I feel about it, what I like in it, how good I think it is. She even asks me rate it. Initially I use to rate it high, but slowly I have become more objective in my self assessment.
Finally give me acceptance - of being as I am. Tell me that that I am a unique individual. Tell me that I do not need to be ‘like’ anybody else. Tell me that the world exists because each one of us exists - as we are. Tell me the world is beautiful because I am different. Tell me we are all same because we are all different.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
~ Poem taken from Return to Love by Marianne Williamson