[Discuss-sudbury-model] the dream of bringing about a change in education

From: David Rovner <rovners_at_netvision.net.il>
Date: Fri Aug 27 22:07:00 2004

   "But what about ranks?" asked one.
   "Do I give you ranks when I tell you a story?"
   "No."
   "Do we have ranks when we play games?"
   "No."
    "Some of you are tall, while others are short; does that mean ranks?"
   "No."
   "Some of you are fat, some quite lean; does it imply ranks?"
   "Not at all."
   "Some are rich, some are poor; does the school give ranks according to whether you are rich or poor?"
   "No."
   "Then we just don't want the rank system at all. A person who can sing may sing out poems. He may try to recall the words when he forgets them. A person who doesn't know a game may observe others' and learn; and one who is good at a game may play for the pleasure of it. A child with a good handwriting may serve as a model to others who would like to improve their own. Those who are good at doing things can always teach others who are not so good. That's all!"

the dream of bringing about a change in education
http://balasainet.com/arvindguptatoys/Divaswapna%20Gijubhai%20Badheka.htm

. . . Divaswapna (Day Dreaming) is an imaginary story of a teacher who rejects the orthodox culture of education. He remains enthusiastic towards children and continues to experiment while consciously neglecting the traditions of teaching and prescribed textbooks. The theoretical background of his experiments lies in Montessori, but his preparation and implementation are thoroughly local . . .
 

About one hundred and fifty years ago the colonial State forced the Indian teacher of young children to accept a life of powerlessness and inertia. Our teachers continue to live such a life. Meanwhile, the expansion of the school system has sent education to every corner of the country. Millions of children now have no option but to endure the indifference of the teacher.
  
   Of course, there could hardly be a teacher who wants to train children to live in isolation from the world around them. But the school culture we have in our country demands that the thousand and one things of children's interest ranging from insects to stars-be considered irrelevant to classroom study. An average teacher works on the assumption that his job is to teach from the textbook and to prepare children for the examination: He does not perceive that it is a part of his responsibility to develop the child's curiosity. Nor does the school provide conditions in which the teacher could fulfill the responsibility.

   This situation is optimum for the re-publication and dissemination of Divaswapna, written by Gujarat's famous educationist and teacher, Gijubhai Badheka (1885-1939). This book was first published in Gujarati in 1932. The same year, Kashinath Trivedi, the well-known educationist of Madhya Pradesh, took the initiative to publish Divaswapna in Hindi. Trivediji had learnt from Gandhi that right action requires untiring patience for its success. His dream of seeing Gijubhai's writings on education widely disseminated has come a little closer to fulfillment today. But the dream of bringing about a change in education can materialise only after a prolonged struggle along the line in which Gandhi, Tagore, and Gijubhai had moved. The educational theory propounded by all three of them emphasizes the child's need for an atmosphere of independence and self-reliance. Gijubhai gave 'this idea an institutional basis by establishing his Bal Mandir in 1920, and in his writings he identified the different facets of the idea. Divaswapna is an imaginary story of a teacher who rejects the orthodox culture of education. He remains enthusiastic towards children and continues to experiment while consciously neglecting the traditions of teaching and prescribed textbooks. The theoretical background of his experiments lies in Montessori, but his preparation and implementation are thoroughly local.

   As a reader of Divaswapna one is blown off in a gust of joy and curiosity, leaving behind the sadness born out of one’s knowledge of India's colorless, dust-wrapped primary schools. One starts to paint the picture of a future in which the talent imprisoned in the nation's schools will break forth and children will enjoy the pleasure of taking stock of the world around the classroom with their teacher.
Received on Fri Aug 27 2004 - 22:06:03 EDT

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