Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist, philosopher, yogi, guru, and poet. Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at King’s College, Cambridge, England. After returning to India he took up various civil service works under the maharaja of the princely state of Baroda and began to involve himself in politics. He was imprisoned by the British for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence was provided. During his stay in the jail he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work. — Wikipedia
In this article, I am going to discuss my thoughts about his teaching methods and how much they resonate with my own teaching methods.
1. Love and Sympathy for the child
Without love you cannot teach. Of course, you can enter the class and just perform your duty but you will never reach the hearts of the students. Children and adults alike need to be treated with utter respect, understanding, responsibility and empathy.
2. Education through the mother tongue
The student may have not yet mastered a foreign language other than his/her mother tongue. Therefore, it will be difficult to internalize various concepts using foreign languages. Of course, if you want to teach in another language, do so by all means but always make sure you can help the students that have a language barrier using their mother tongues.
I find myself in many occasions still thinking internally using my mother tongue. It is the easiest way to express myself fully.
3. Education according to the interests of the child
We are experiencing a lot of kids that have been “diagnosed” with ADD/ADHD. In many cases, I personally do not think the problem is with the kids but rather with the education system and the methods used. Education starts at home anyway. The system should be revamped so it can encompasses the different types of children and their unique gifts they bring to the world.
Enough trying to cram everyone into the same way of thinking!
4. Education through self experience
It is better to teach the kids theoretical information alongside with exercises that lets the kids experience the teachings. For instance, after they learn how to add and subtract, give them real life examples and scenarios on why this information is useful and how they can experience it themselves.
5. Emphasis on learning by doing
Practical knowledge is very important. I can draw from my own experience. I was and still am a self learner. I learned by trial and error, repetition and perseverance.
I always struggled at school because they could never tell me why they were cramming all the material in our heads. Why do I need to study history or geography? What is the use of studying the chemistry formulas and memorizing the table of elements?
Well, now that I am an adult, I appreciate more all that I was taught in school in the past and only now I see the use of studying those topics. But why did I have to suffer and stress while at school? While no proper guidance was given?
If the education system was better and explained to us why are we learning what we are learning, then I would have enjoyed the school days much, much more.
6. Education through co-operation of teacher and students in the education process
Let the Teacher-Student relationship and Student-Teacher relationship flourish. The teacher can learn how to teach better by being humble and by tuning into the student’s mind to see from his/her perspective.
Encourage the students to ask questions and spend time with you (as an instructor). Design the lessons in such a way that the students feel they are actually discovering the concepts that are being taught.
7. Education according to the nature of child, while considering the divinity in the child and latent gifts of mind and spirit
This is where modern schools fail. They are not tailored for individuals. Students are all ranked in the same manner. Their IQ is measured in the same way as well. Homeschooling, if done properly can help cater to individual children needs in the small group (your kids essentially).
8. Freedom of Child. An environment free to gain more knowledge through his own efforts
While discipline and order is important, there are lots of absurd rules in schools that take away the freedom of the students and restrict their creativity.
By loosening certain rules and encouraging students to take initiatives, the students will be on their way to become leaders in the workforce.
Let them research, teach them how to learn and find answers. With all the technological advancement, this should be easy. Most households have tablets or computers to enable the kids to learn through their own extra efforts.
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