Tuesday, December 04, 2007

DUCKS, RABBITS & LEARNING

I was immersed in the design of our organizational newsletter in this decrepit Advertising agency in South Delhi when I received a call on my mobile. The caller informed me about swimming ducks, a defiant pack of dogs, unruly pigeons, staring rabbits and colorful fishes. For a moment I tried to rationalize on what was more important for me – the saga of these creatures or my editing the newsletter. Surely the newsletter! But these tales too were not of lesser importance. They were from my 3 year old darling daughter who had just returned after her school trip to Bal Bhawan.

That day evening I perched comfortably with my dearie daughter and listened to her experience in Bal Bhawan – so honestly captured and relayed. All along as Pakhi stood trying to narrate me what she saw I could sense how interesting learning can become if we were to remove the artificial garb of formalism and protocol that we endeavour it to wear.

Learning about the way children learn offers us a great research opportunity. Few realize that the exact nature in which children learn, if captured and analyzed properly in the relevant cultural and socio-economic context, can be applied in various learning scenarios that are unique to India. The psychological inter-play of cognitive processing, the impact of the environment, the impact of language and the socio-cultural context is barely understood. In India, in the current format in which learning is being sold and bought, research often finds a backseat. The reasons for this abject rejection of research as foundation for the future can be seen as as an academic limitation or because such research is often considered tedious and not seen as providing overnight results.


I believe that today or tomorrow we may need to take a serious call on this callousness towards "learning research". Though institutions such as the CBSE and the NGO sector have initiated steps in this directio, a research-based analytical mindset is still a far-cry in most institutions that deal with learning. Till then, we all will continue to read about what learning research was undertaken in which part of the world with what impact. Isn't it time we stopped such blatant emulation and address learning issues as they are –- contextually?

2 comments:

Vinay K said...

Hi AC, must say its thought provoking.Believe the way our children learn is changing each day and all the mediums of education are quite different.
Today I had read articles on online self assessment tests for NASA, done by 24x7guru.com. Also the same testing is also the learning is offered through DTH Tata Sky service.
Change seems quite inevitable but all the same I believe such initiatives complements normal classroom learning and not a substitute.

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