What is a school meant for?


Fr Paul Lelen Haokip
The end of January or beginning of February is an economically tight season for parents to send their children to schools; a new beginning for students as well.
Not only wearing the school uniform but ‘wearing a mind’ also helps students to succeed in life.
This article may serve as a handy tool for teachers.
Teaching is not an artless task. It is not just reading the lesson, giving answers, correcting papers and rewarding some marks. It is much nobler than that. School is the second home to every student.
Parents are in the persons of ‘teachers’ who are expected to know every child minutely. We shall discuss deeper nuances of education in the paragraphs to follow.
EDUCERE
Education is not so much about ‘marks’ and ‘certificates’. It is a ‘life-building’ endeavour. Craft (1984) noted that there are two different Latin roots of the English word “Education.” They are “Educare,” which means ‘to train’ or ‘to mold’, and “Educere,” meaning ‘to lead out.’ In fine, we can say, education is to lead or find out the best in the child and mold or train for betterment. This is the noble work of teachers.
This work demands dedication and love for every student.
Teachers need to connect themselves to the innermost potential of every student and try to bring out the best in that child. Teachers are supposed to open up the realities of life to students, not just the limited pages of the books.
This life-oriented sharings will prepare the students to face life. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to find students scoring good marks but possessing no wisdom and life skills to deal with situations of life like sadness, defeat, anger, betrayal, death, etc. They have been not educated in the true sense.
MARKING SYSTEM
To know the calibre of every animal, if we ask all of them to climb a tree, will that sound logical and reasonable? I am sure, you will laugh at the proposal itself. Similar is the case with students.
Same questions are given to everyone to elicit the same or similar type of answers. But, don’t we know that each child is capable of something unique from the other? Therefore, marks in the exams are not the only pointers to the intelligence or calibre of a student. Marks are just one of the many pointers.
The person who is good at dance, martial arts, drawing, singing, extempore speech, acting, etc., should be awarded a certain amount of marks for his or her competence.
This is justice. School, therefore, becomes a place for the student to unearth his or talents and move forward in life. We are looking for this type of school and teachers.
HOLISTIC EDUCATION
Holistic education is to do with the development of a child’s emotional, intellectual, social, physical, artistic, creative, spiritual, interpersonal, intrapersonal areas and environmental consciousness.
This kind of education will create a balanced attitude on life and their personal understanding of themselves in the world. It will logically craft self-worth and confidence. When a student learns his or her worth, he or she will begin to appreciate the worth of others too.
If a student is not able to realize his or her potential and muster confidence at the end of his or her school life, teachers have failed in a big way in their responsibility. This child, innocent, inexperienced was entrusted to your care, but you have forgotten to discover his or her real being.
Condemning a student as a useless, hopeless, dumb ass, donkey, stupid, etc., are acts unworthy of a decent teacher.
To judge a child, you need to get into the experience of that child which may be hunger, poverty, insecurity, family quarrels, ill health, relational affairs or more. Therefore, when a teacher closely observes the behaviour of a child, he or she will have a better way to deal.
It is needless to say, mere academic certificates of teachers are not sufficient criteria to appoint them as teachers.
They need to have sound interpersonal skills and knowledge of behavioural psychology to recognize how the environment (conditioning) affects a person.John B.
Watson, often considered the ‘father’ of behaviourism said, “Give me a dozen healthy infants, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.” Teachers also have this potential to mould students. Behavioural psychology helps us to predict how humans will behave, build better habits as individuals, create better products as companies and develop better living spaces as communities. This is the actual work of teachers. Teaching is not a job for mere remuneration, it is giving of self to the students.
CHANGE BEFORE CHANGE
Just as the earth maintains rotation in its orbit, the river keeps flowing, the wind keeps moving, so also a world of undercurrents goes on in the mind of a student.
“You cannot step into the same river twice,” said Heraclitus. The student you met yesterday is not the same today.
He or she has gone worse or grown better.
A teacher should have an accommodative mind, belief in positive outcome and dedication for the good of students.
If a teacher does not see a possibility, he or she will invariably see problems everywhere.
The academic and psychological health of teachers will affect the students in all ways.
This will be the health of the school too.
To guide, mould and change students, teachers should have been guided, moulded and changed themselves.
It would be an academic injustice to make a school as a pressure house or a condemnation institute.

The writer can be reached at: paulhowkeep@yahoo.co.in/paullelenhaokip@gmail.com/https://paullelenhaokip.blogspot.com


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