When you were a student, what were the three most critical instances wherein you felt that more Freedom at your disposal would have allowed you to realise your goals/ potential in a better way? Do you think any of those circumstances exist even today?
If we think about Freedom, the simple and short answer is, Freedom is from within. Being a student has many advantages. One learns to prepare for life for the greater good of oneself and the nation. The question remains are we really free? Do we have the liberty to act and do as we want?
In my days, we had many restrictions; we never had access to the world; to be precise, we didn't benefit from the Internet. The Internet has set us free to seek knowledge from places we never imagined.
Many places in India needed more infrastructure to have Freedom of movement. Now we can move from one place to another without much hassle.
The explosion of sports in present-day India is phenomenal. Now we have many avenues in sports which have given us limitless Freedom to explore our talent in many ways other than conventional means.
All the above circumstances do not exist in today's world. There is so much Freedom and exposure that we need help understanding where to start.
And finally, let me add one of my favourite quotes by our father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi "Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."
According to you, what about human behaviour causes people to give up peace and adopt violence? How do you think classrooms can be used to shape peace-loving individuals?
Peace begins with a smile." —Mother Teresa once famously said, and these words describe the goal of humanity as a whole.
Peace is the purpose of life. To attain it, we have to strive to great lengths. Humans, as per se, are animals, so the animal instinct remains within us, within our subconscious. Humans have fought great wars, and millions have succumbed to these wars when in fact, if we look through history, these were senseless acts without any cause or reason; one of the main reasons for violence is hidden within the unconscious, the insatiable desire for the conflict. So, humans are not fighting humans so much as humans are fighting the human condition to wage war for profit.
Education is our only weapon to fight our desire to wage wars. Children must be taught peace is the purpose of our existence. A peaceful classroom is invaluable to both educators and students. It makes it possible for teachers to teach and students to learn.
To create a space and dynamic environment that will have a universal impact. To introduce languages to describe abstract concepts as the greater good. To tell positive stories about students, teachers and the school. These stories are symbolic and influence what students use to define social status. Convey clear rules, expectations and responsibilities for students.
Explicitly teach positive communication strategies to build a repertoire of easily accessible skills. Positive self-talk and learning techniques.
Engage the students in activities that integrate strategies and develop peaceful habits of mind. Deep breathing is an easily accessible but often overlooked strategy for anxiety prevention, conflict resolution and self-regulation. Use role plays to practice peace-making skills. Hold regular class meetings, circles and other opportunities for students to participate and provide input.
As our father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the true warrior of peace, "A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes." Keeping in mind his teaching, students must be taught how to work for peace and thus work towards the purpose of life.
- Neelima Parmar, Monika Gupta and Vandana Sahay
Welham Boys’ School