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Hardik Kakkad: Neevam The School: Experimental Education and Mindfulness

Presentation Abstract

Each one of us is born with awareness that goes beyond our “cultivated” intelligence. Awareness that dwindles to match our limited, school-fed intelligence. But does this mean that schools are a lost cause? With the world moving towards the once forgotten, revolutionary, inquiry-based learning; towards conscious learning, cultivation of awareness and techniques of unlearning, the idea of a significant change in the education system should not be too far-fetched. A deep thinking and unprejudiced observation of the factors facilitating this change as well as the forces hindering it is of utmost importance. Because only after observing, comes knowledge. Knowledge which changes into experience and subsequently, into wisdom. Wisdom, which once was thought to develop only with age. But today, we deal with a new generation. A generation that is maturing way too early, defying their age. The imbalance of this maturity between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, is the cause of the social or human crisis we witness today. After several years of observing, understanding and experimenting, we have realized that if the motive of education is life, the only way of life is education. Education of everyone, by everyone and for everyone. Remember Abe Lincoln? He also said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

How do we expect a change to happen if we exclude even a single factor in this chemistry? A child, well-educated at school, even an alternative one, must interact with society outside its walls; where, the learning does not stop. If the society is one which tends to stifle any sparks of ingenuity or tends to paint over colours that are different, the child would be miserable and would suffer an identity crisis. But what would happen if a child is involved in matters beyond the classroom? Say, they are free to enter, help or witness sessions where the teachers are being educated. The obvious argument would be that the child should not hear it when they are the topic of discussion. In that case, we need to question whether we are pressurizing teachers excessively with workshops only directed towards children rather than treating them as human beings; organizing workshops developed around their lives and their concerns. Maybe, hold the same kinds of workshops for parents too. Workshops that children have a choice to observe or be a part of, dissolving boundaries between age, relationships and social strata. A conscious effort must be made to develop inclusive interactions that encourage bonding between various points of education in the society. Maybe to develop a future where schools are open centres of learning for everyone.