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A focus on humanizing education


New Delhi: In a communication received from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Distance Education Council (DEC). Readmore...
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There is an old story about a boy who persisted in saying “ I have went” despite the teacher’s valiant efforts to teach him the correct form. Finally one day she kept him after school and told him to write “I have gone” a hundred times on the blackboard. She was out of the room when he finished. On her return she found this note: “ I have wrote I have gone 1oo times and I have went home.”
The aim of learning is to enable us to make the optimum use of the things in the world around us. We learn to do things with our inherited powers. In all true learning there is a purpose. We learn with the expectation to produce the desired result. The desired result is the ability to use something in our environment. Thus purpose plays a key role in learning, and purpose is intrinsically linked with our instinctive powers. We wish to use these powers. In order to utilize them to the best advantage, in order to satisfy our inborn drives, we have to manipulate our limbs, our bodies, our mental powers, and so we learn. The aim of learning is to enable us to use our powers to the best advantage. This involves many complicated processes, and sets in train long series of actions.

For instance, a young parrot has to learn to pick up grain. It does not know the exact way to do this. But it makes efforts because it is hungry and desires to get food. It makes some mistakes but soon find the best method to pick up grain. We say it has learnt to peck. It did so to satisfy its instinctive urge, the urge of hunger. Again, a boy sees another boy or girl has a kite. His acquisitive instinct begins to function and he wants to own a kite. He has no money to purchase one, so he starts to make one for himself. To do this, he has to learn to use his natural tools, hands and certain other tools. He then wants to fly the kite, and again learns how to do so either by trial and error or by imitating others, and in the process may take some tips. But the aim of all his learning was to carry out purpose, to satisfy his desire. To do this, he has to master how to speak and write English. Hence he learns.

Sometimes learning takes place in classroom or school laboratory without there being any real purpose from the child’s angle. Learning done in order to pass the examination is learning to realize an incidental purpose. The examination is a necessary evil in order to get on. But it is not a real purpose in the life of the child. Passing the examination is not a part of his struggle to adjust himself to his environment, except in so far as passing it puts him into a better position in life and helps him to gain confidence. It is, however, an artificial thing. Whereas, if he is taught and trained well in school and learns to think and how to meet situations which he meets, his learning has an intrinsic value, and will aid him in adjustment to, and mastery over, his social and physical environments. Learning often takes place in school simply from fear of punishment. There is, here of course, a purpose; namely, to avoid punishment.