Clean the muck

One child want to learn English, He thinks “we can teach him, he does not know” He waits for us to teach him, rest of the time he has accepted that he cannot do anything else as he does not know English. So my task is not to teach him English, but to teach him how to learn English. My role is not to teach him how I learnt English or how it should be learnt but to dig out his own resources, his own capability to learn.

Today, he took a book of flowers. He was sitting with it for long. After some time, he started copying the same text in the note book and continue to look around. When I interacted he shared, ‘I was just simply writing”. I asked him to read, he read one spelling and looked at me to pronounce. I asked him to pronounce himself – he expressed with confidence “I do not know”. I asked him to read again, and this time read loudly and read the words after he reads the spellings. With a lot of apprehensions and question marks on his face and in his voice, he started reading. When he was reading I did not stop him or gave him any inputs how a word is pronounced. He thinks, I (faculty) know, and he does not know, my intervention would have confirmed his beliefs and he would have continued to depend on me to read.

He was reading That as tic, nice as cent, but as bute, dog as dog, done as don, get as git, your as your, nose as yes and so on. It was not about him reading and reading correctly, but him opening up and coming out of his own constraints “I do not know and aunty needs to tell me”. Once he started I did not have to do much, he continued it for one hour, he even forgot his breakfast time (he is normally particular about his meal timings).

After he finished reading two pages on rose, We both together described the visuals in the book. We both used the words like rose, red, petals, smell, beautiful, nice smell. Then I asked him to close the book and write by himself about the rose using these words. He was puzzled “how can I?” . He sat for some time, waited for me to come back to his rescue, looked at the note book for long time, expressed “baralla aunty”. Looked at watch ……….. for every need of his I responded “write”.

Finally, he wrote and he wrote nothing valuable for you and me, he did not write anything which anyone of us can read and appreciate. He wrote his own destiny, he erased his own apprehensions and cleaned up his own muck. The journey continues with him…………. do not expect the same inputs from me tomorrow, I will surprise him tomorrow with some other challenge :-).

I know, he will learn by digging his own resources and construct his own way of reading – I do not have to tell me much about it now, my current role is to help him to come out of his own muck of “I do not know” and make him discover his own gold which is buried under muck of his beliefs and his images.

Is this empowerment? How can be I stuck with one definition of empowerment, “child has power”? What if the child has lost his power? Is pushing child to come out of his own muck is not empowerment? Is it contradictory to the one definition of empowerment and which is “I have power, and whatever I do is fine and I am empowered?”.

Just pondering the way empowerment is misunderstood.