Sunday Monitor

The Globally Responsible Student

SARAFNAMA

We need new and radical definitions of conventionally taught knowledge and consequent development of wisdom. What is relevant to humanity at a community, society, national and global level should be important to every student. The student is sensitized to this through establishing a creative connect with his/her immediate environment and through the objects/ideas which he/she is toying with.
For example, in the movie ‘My name is Khan’, the child Shahrukh was taught through a drawing by his mother that there are only good people and bad people — there are no further divisions between people. She therefore taught her son ‘Inclusivity’ in a very creative and relevant manner having a high impact on him.
We also need to instil in young children, ‘Extension Motivation’ i.e motivation to extend the self for the sake of a larger goal. We can do this by making them globally responsible stakeholders in building a better world through story or theme-based learning, which is of an interdisciplinary nature. Such learning has depth, variety, allows for individual and joint decision making, is inclusive as it caters to a spectrum where anyone can contribute and promotes an automatic need for inquiry and collaboration.
In the above Shahrukh example, the theme is ‘inclusivity’. This is deep as it caters to a very deep seated human problem of discrimination; it has variety since it involves at an interdisciplinary level, philosophy (understanding of good and bad), psychology (understanding of how people think), sociology (central and peripheral values of a human society), play (the medium), art(through a drawing form), love (emotional involvement with the problem at hand), moral science, analytical thinking, individual and shared values(building blocks) and automatic reflection.
Also, imagine if from a young age, the child is in his capacity responsible for his immediate environment. He then gradually, to fulfil this responsibility, becomes curious, thirsty for knowledge and excited about life and learning. The child learns to be value-based and becomes high on integrity in a manner which as he encounters continuous responsibility, becomes sustaining. For example, every child contributes on a regular basis to a personal page on Facebook through words, a drawing or a picture on a fixed theme on the homework (even in case of less evolved systems he may get homework but in spite of that) which he has got.
People comment on his posts and he responds. This creates a diverse solution and the archive can act as a valuable repository for research on this particular homework question or theme. He is therefore excited, continuously engaged, responsive and collaborative. There is therefore natural retention, automatic research and application, non-competitive global collaboration, creation of a customized set of solutions, inclusive embracing of diversity, and an individual and shared voice. There is analytical thinking, acceptance of diverse views and a sense of contribution.
All of this leads to the making of a leader not just in the future but also in the present.
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(Contributed by Amit Saraf, a Shillong-based blogger & creative writer)

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