Saturday, 10 January 2015

LEARNING: Insights from educators to what our children actually need

One block off and the whole thing will tumble

I am a great fan of TED Talks.

If you haven't heard of it. Its a non-profit organization which provides a platform to bring achievers, innovators, thinkers or literally anyone who has made a mark in the world onto the stage to give a powerful but short speech. Age, gender, nationality no bar.

Its a wonderful platform to broaden our views, learn new thought processes, and some times to just un-wire the way our brain has been trained to think in many topics and issues.

As children our learning process starts very young when we imbibe and react to the stimuli around us. Then comes a stage as toddlers where we play, imagine and get more proactive in our learning. And then comes schooling, where all that pro-activeness gets undone, where we acquire an education, and then college and a job with a set designation.

Education and Learning are two powerful words, sometimes used inter-changeably to mean the same processes, but sometimes imply two different things.

So I logged onto the TED platform to look at what is going on in the world of education, partly because it interested me, partly because I want the best learning process for my daughter.

Three speakers stood out, with the message they conveyed and the point they put across.

He basically separated education and learning. Indeed, they are two different processes. Two, he also puts across that teaching is to facilitate learning and not just to educate or the widespread rote learning method. Legendary educator, Brilliant talk and Point taken.

Now how do we facilitate learning. Lets take a back seat and let them learn. A brilliant education scientist, who thought out of the box, and proved a great point. Which our mind otherwise would not believe.

Great wisdom from the mouth of a child.What is the actual purpose of education. No not a job, no, not good grades in board exams. This 10 year old puts it rightly, to be happy adults, open to learning, and change.

Here's a link to more if you are hooked on

Now after watching some seriously inspiring speeches loaded with information, how do we let this change of thought or behavior seep into our lives and trickle into that of our children, as parents or teachers. What do I take away from this.

I made a short list for myself and my daughter.

1. Let the child lead
Curiosity is the biggest motivator for learning, all we have to do is to facilitate it. Next time I am busy and my daughter asks me one of those zillion questions, instead of snapping back that I am busy or giving her the easiest answer I can think of, I am going to just stop and answer her question to the best of my knowledge and as appropriate for her age. And if I do not know the answer I am going to explore it with her. I want her to be asking questions all her life.

2. Create the environment for curiosity
I am a firm believer that a person is what his environment is and what books he reads. At this stage of my child's life I still have the control over these two aspects. Environment: the ideology of the school she goes to, the places we visit, the things she sees and hears, the books I can make available for her, the technology we can use for learning. She has her place for creativity at home,all her books her crayons are within her reach, she can use guided technology to learn. Few days back she asked me for some page which can teach her hindi. And she has been learning and writing on her own after I downloaded an app for it. Its play and learning for her. I do not interfere or test or question her.

3. Creativity 
Creativity imagination were two underrated principles in our generation of education. There was one drawing class in a week of study, and one physical education period. How weird it sounds to me now. And to top it we even had a drawing book for the year. There was no free art?! I am going to bring change into how my daughter experiences this in her life. Art , creativity and sports are one of the greatest educators. In fact there is a different approach to learning in REGGIO EMILIA method, which primarily, teaches basic subjects of maths and science too through creativity and art.
You must read this blog here
Its such an unique and child centric approach to learning. So let her cook, break eggs, let her make that sand castle, let her learn, her experience is her education.

4. Adults as facilitators
Yes, we are here only to guide them, not to train them into what we believe as ideals, based on our experience in our generation. Here we are as adults to guide them along, if my daughter sees a volcano on TV and has questions, I show her the pictures, I simulate it for her to experience, and if I really can, I must take her to see one. Taking her to a zoo or an aquarium does not help if I don't answer her questions, or guide her back home with technologies we have at our finger tips to see it for herself on the screen.

5. Learning to be human
End result of education is not be get a job, what seems lucrative today may be a redundant field tomorrow. Learning is a life long process. We need to make children grow up into happy adults, who are creative, make the world a better place to live, are social and empathetic to fellow humans. Its our responsibility. Let her play. Sports teaches working as a team, it teaches trust, it teaches to play within the rules, mostly it teaches her not to be afraid of failure. Let her learn languages, not through the book for her to write an exam, but for her to communicate, understand different cultures and to be a global citizen. Take her to places, experience is the biggest teacher. 

Oh..small steps at home, one child at a time. Learning is simple if the goal is the child.

P.S. I know this is a heavy post with lot of information and links. But it is all so thought provoking that it had to be shared. 



  1. I totally love this post.. Its something to think about.. Every day I try very very hard to do most of these things... however our everyday lives simply take over the best part or most of us just get caught up... and living becomes difficult..

    1. After having my daughter, my mind has been fascinated with learning, creativity and providing an enriching environment for my child to thrive. But at times yes, it seems overwhelming and most of the time life just takes over. But its okay, lets not be hard on ourselves. We are trying our best, and lets take our lives one day at a time.
      I m sure your daughters would say you are the best mom on earth!
      Thats credit enough:-)
      Happy parenting.

  2. It is very interesting. You're right, small steps at home, they all add up.
    Thanks for sharing #LetKidsBeKids

    1. Yes Karen! After all every one wants the best for their kids, isn't it ?