Freedom to think

Teaching comes with responsibility. Responsibility of making children responsible for creating their learning or creating their limits of learning. We think freedom to learn is lucrative.

What is the difference between teaching and learning? To us learning signifies freedom, responsibility, ownership.

What are the differences between the following two questions:
Q1: What is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh ?

Q2: Given a Globe, find out in which state-capital of India will the sun rise first?

While the answer to both the questions is same – each leads to a completely different of mind-work.

First question leads to children – who “know”.The second question leads to “thinkers”.

After the child knows the answers to the first question – the job is over. The second question, however leads to many questions in itself, and the child may explore many things like –

  1. The concept of day and night
  2. Directions – E-W-S-N
  3. Sun, moon and earth
  4. May be speed of movement of earth, moon and concept of month/ year
  5. Map of India with states of east India

Here are unlimited possibilities. The first question stops at the knowledge(testing) while the second questions lead to exploratory learning.

Now consider these questions

Q1: Why are you late?

Q2: How can you come on time?

The first one bring in lot of excuses – traffic jam, late last night, driver did not turn up, etc. In itself the question achieves – nothing.

At best one can threaten, “next time you are late you will be .” But will that motivate the child to take responsibility of his coming late? Now consider the next question – this opens up possibilities, child gets into thinking – HOW?. Maybe put alarm, come with another child if my driver is late, and so on. And every time the child is late – he needs to THINK how can he be on time. This may be a longer process (longer than threat) but LONG LASTING. The first one leads to defensive children while the second leads to “responsible” children.

So, do we want questions to teach or do we want questions to learn? Questions that glorify “knowing” or questions that make the child think, explore, and learn.