The Teaching teacher teaches the child to teach. They also teach authoritarianism, mindless obedience, blind fear of power and authority etc.
Children absorb what they encounter and experience. They absorb the world as it happens in front of the child. What the children need to see, to engage, to experience is a leaner learning or knowledge being created in a natural and organic manner and not a teacher teaching. A learner engaged in learning cannot be authoritarian, but the teacher has no choice. Just the fact that they ‘teach‘ makes them authority and the child also learns that knowledge needs to be obtained from an authority – teacher, text and now the internet etc and all this happens because the child never sees knowledge being created.
‘Teaching‘ teaches ’authoritarianism’ and ‘learning‘ teaches ‘democracy‘. That is why we find that only among the ‘tribal‘ people one sees the practice of true democracy. A tribal father hardly ever says no to a child and hardly ever teaches.
Throughout our education we have never once seen nor experienced ‘knowledge‘ that we have supposed to have learned being created. We ‘believed’ in the knowledge. What is superstition then? If we mug up the terminologies which are called science, do we become scientists? Even by use of reason aren’t we only believing in readymade knowledge?
A fundamental shift that schools / texts / experts / authorities make is – ‘learning from’ to ‘learning about’ and a total dependence on external sources for knowledge is thus created. ‘Learning from‘ demands the learner to be present where as ‘learning about‘ distances the learner from the knowledge creation. ‘Learning from‘ demands the working of the senses and ‘learning about‘ demands the mind to operate.
Another shift the schools do is to make the cognitive source single and focused. This is achieved in two ways. One is by is convincing the child that learning takes place in schools and from the teacher. This would mentally prepare the child to reject what is experienced outside the school. The second way is by shifting the focus of the child from the world around to the book and the teacher. The unfocused attention of the child is turned in to a single focus attention thereby rejecting all other cognitive inputs.
The inherent ability of the body, senses, attention and awareness, inherent sense of logic and reason, intuitive faculty etc are all discarded and conscious memorisation and reasoning become the tools in operation, but these faculties become mere tools that are used for processing of readymade knowledge – information – of experts.
An added gift of ‘schooling’ for us Indians has been to feel inferior to the West.
In fact what really happens is tool for storing and sharing knowledge becomes the means of knowing.
Schools totally confuse our natural propensities in BEING in the world and Being is Knowing.
There is natural way of making sense of the world which has a biological base with biological tools to achieve this.
I have very closely studied and documented how children learn in the non literate world.
Somehow we feel that all children all over the world learn in the same way. This is not true.
We are forgetting that we are irrevocably changed – physically, biologically and psychologically – depending on the paradigm with in which we find ourselves.
The fragmentation that you find among the literate is not true for the non literate people.
Textually mediated knowing is the cause for most of the ills of modernity, including patriarchy and the present feminization that is happening in the digital world. The much acclaimed reasoning mind is in fact a cognitive damage. As a self organizing being, what really is the role of reasoning which is based on half baked second hand ‘knowledge’?
Digital (TV etc included) mediated knowing awakes and controls the visual sense, leads to feminization.
Textual mediation dulls the visual sense and distorts the other senses, reasoning faculties’ lopsided growth leads to masculinization and patriarchy.
Experiential paradigm is where all senses are awake, reasoning and intuition / spontaneity is not fragmented and the being has the quality of ‘Ardha naareeswara’ the masculine and feminine principle integrated.
In my search for these existential issues, one important thing I did was to stop reading altogether for about 7 years and just be with the people, observe them without putting them into the academic or any other type of social categories. One of the most important insights I gained was the fact that people of non literate communities relive, recreate knowledge quite differently from the way ‘knowledge’ is transmitted in the textual world which by its very nature is always second-hand. In the textual world the actual is never there. One is always dealing with what is past and what is absent. Whereas in the experiential paradigm, the TEACHER is absent. There are only learners and doers who are always engaging with the present.
My special focus is on the impact of written word on the consciousness which is being left out by the present researchers as they themselves are the products of textualisation of experience. It is easy for us to see the harm done due to TV and other digital media but very difficult to see the impact of text on our own consciousness as we are insiders to that problem. I have been working on this issue and also working with rural traditional artisans (www.kumbham.org) and children exploring the extent of cognitive damage done by schooling.
Modern schooling reverses the natural process of ‘knowing’ where the text / the teacher ‘imparts’ ‘knowledge’. This has a long history. Dependences on codified knowledge – memory, text, digital – have supplanted our spontaneous, creative nature. It makes us distrustful of own body, instinct, insight, intuition and nature. Our process of knowing and hence knowledge has undergone four fundamental cognitive shifts:
1. Experience as the means of knowing led to the experiential paradigm.
2. Memory as a source of knowledge led to the memorizing paradigm.
3. Text as a source of knowledge led to the textual paradigm.
4. And in our more recent history a new paradigm is being formed: the Illusional or digital Paradigm.
Each shift has dramatically affected not only content of the knowledge, but also the knower. Every living being possesses existential biological knowledge, the knowledge of nature, the ability to sustain life. Every organism is born with it. The human organism differs from other organisms insofar as it has codified its complex language system into text and with this tool the literate human has lost touch with his inner nature and is effectively in the process of destroying his host, the earth. Every child is born with natural knowledge – the knowledge that reminds the human organism of its connection with nature – perhaps the knowledge that all living beings possess to lead a harmonious life.
Knowledge /experience /world view in the textual paradigm underwent several changes and knowledge got restructured in the process. Textualisation of knowledge altered the notion of what constitutes knowledge. When knowledge got textualised, the feelings and emotions were dropped. The word intuition was out of use for many years and it just came back in the digital paradigm.
Fragmentation of the being leads to splitting the holistic nature of life.
Being culture becomes knowing and applying culture, being holistic becomes some theory or method to be applied. Spontaneous reasoning is split in to reasoning and spontaneity. Self organizing nature of the being is also seen as a method to be adopted.
In the recent times the idea of being holistic has created a mess in the academic world. All subjects under the sun are being learned / taught to become holistic. How can the Being that is fragmented ever hope to become holistic by these tricks? And how many subjects can one be taught?
Please take a look at my incomplete site www.re-cognition.org, www.sadhanavillageschool.org and my work with children at http://reimaginingschools.wordpress.com, http://my.opera.com/jinankb/blog/sensing-nature.
Reasoning faculty is actually an escape mechanism. Reasoning is most often used to reason away because the static, habituated mind cannot remain in uncertain state. This mindset cannot anyway deal with the unknown. Let us explore this further.