What it takes to spread the joy of learning at schools

"Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear."- Totto Chan. 

There are two bittersweet incidents of "Learning" from my primary school years that had a role in shaping my personality today. 

When I was in Primary school, I remember participating in a 400-meter race. I was excited about it. I don't remember practising for it, or my teacher encouraging me, but I ran 400 meters to the best of my abilities on the day of the competition. 

Even though I gave my best, I was not happy with the result. I had lost the race. I remember feeling upset, those last few seconds of failure were painful. After that day, I dreaded sports. I often look back to that day and wonder "What could have happened if only I received the right direction?" 

I am sure I'd have felt different if my teacher encouraged me before and after the competition. If only he told me that it's okay to lose but don't forget to give your best, or how to not be disheartened by failure and learn from it. Maybe I’d have loved participating and challenging myself. But, alas, it did not happen. 

The second incident is about my English teacher and how she inspired me. I remember Sangeeta Ma'am coming to the classroom and reading us a story in English for the first time. She had such a good accent and enthusiasm for the language that she inspired me to learn English on my own. Her passion for the English language stayed with me even after she was gone. 

Studying in a Hindi Medium School did not faze me or stop me from learning English. I never thought English was a difficult language to learn. I used to learn it every time I could, consciously putting in effort. Even though she was not there to help me much, she ignited a fire of learning in me. 

From my personal experiences, learning is a lifelong process, it brings you happiness and peace. 

It's about life, it's about us cherishing learning different things including becoming self-aware. Learning can help us define our values or positively shape our thoughts and actions. But before knowing how to spread the joy of learning, one must understand "Why learning is important." "What's the reason or motivation for one to learn something new?"

For me, it can be intellectual satisfaction or fun, it can be introspection, curiosity, reflection, competition and much more. But, learning can help one stand one’s ground, and become resilient.

I read a book once called "Totto-chan" where the author talks about the unorthodox methods of learning while simultaneously interacting with the surroundings and observing everything with curiosity. A teaching method where teachers have faith in the abilities and potential of the students and let their heart follow their passion. 

I believe teaching kids/students needs "Dedication, Passion, and Commitment." One cannot be good at teaching if one does not like learning. We need to understand that learning does not mean acing classroom subjects, it means learning about things that can enhance the quality of life intellectually, emotionally and professionally.

Everyone, including a teacher, has a huge responsibility in the early stages of school since a teacher must establish the right direction, mindset, and guidance for the child. One must exude enthusiasm and not make learning taxing for the child. One must have a creative side and zeal to explain, accept and understand students. 

I strongly believe that teachers should have a twinkling and flexible persona. To spread the joy of learning at schools, teachers must help students think out of the box and focus more on experiential learning.

Neetu Koranga 
My Good School

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