Thinking About Education = Thinking About Teaching ???

Often it is presumed that education is the ultimate panacea for all social problems, but we seldom ponder about it. All the readers of this small essay would be educated. They would have attended a school, a college or some sort of university. Most of them would believe, that all that was delivered to them is education. But, is that really true?Let me quote some great persons thoughts, that I compiled while I was the coordinator of Vimarsh an e-forum of the students and teachers of University of Delhi, till about an year ago."Who dares to teach must never cease to learn' -- J.C. Dara
“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” Will Durrant “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Albert Einstein "By teaching one learns" An old Latin proverb"
Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one" -- Malcolm Forbes Teachers open the door; but you must enter by yourself" -- Chinese proverb"
Education is not a preparation for Life; education is life itself" --John Dewey "learning from experience is a faculty almost never practiced"--Mark Twain"
Education is difficult to unlearn" -- Anonymous "Correction does much, but encouragement does more" Goethe “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” W B Yeats“It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.” Alec Bourne “The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction” Michael Faraday“Never stop learning; knowledge doubles every fourteen months.” Anthony J. D'Angelo Now a bit from an article, I read yesterday:“
Education is an amalgamation of life experience, structured study, and critical thinking. From this perspective there are different ways to examine education and the coinciding knowledge that can be obtained. One focal point is the traditional concept of formal education that comes from academic schooling and focused study. The other form of education is based on life experience and informal learning through self-study and personal inquiry. Both formats of learning may provide an equivalent knowledge base, though only one provides the social standard of a conventional degree.On the one hand, formal education provides a focused knowledge base to apply to a specific job,and provides a degree revealing a certain level of formal study and knowledge. One the other hand,formal education has some limitations for real world application and understanding.

It is hard to determine if experience or education is more valuable to prospective employers, or even our own personal competence and wisdom. Regardless, from both we gain knowledge, and as Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” When it comes to intelligence, a valuable, but cliché consideration, is the old idea of “book smarts vs. street smarts.” These are two areas of equal importance that provide knowledge and wisdom to initiate growth for future development.So, is one really more valuable than the other?”
What is teaching? Who is a teacher? I have very many times wondered about these questions, while I was engaged withUniversity of Delhi, as the sole coordinator and administrator of an e-forum,Vimarsh, forscience students and teachers of the university. I have also interacted widely with manyschool teachers in various capacities, I in fact my three sisters, all younger to me, teach inschools.But the process develops over time, and today, I feel motivated to write a bit about it.Let me start with the definition of a teacher. I very recently read some thing, that hasimpressed me a lot. It goes as follows:
“The definition of a teacher is to define the indefinable. Almost as wide ranging, yet individualized as asking, what is a parent? A teacher is a guide, a mentor, a confident, afriend, a disciplinarian, an informer, a provider of inspiration and imagination. A teacher issomeone who knows when to intervene, and when to stand back and allow them to try forthemselves.A teacher is more than someone who passes on knowledge. It is the interaction, therelationship, the understanding and encouragement to enable a person or child to reach thefull potential. This should not be merely being able to pass tests or exams but developingfully in all areas as a rounded person who reaches and surpasses their full potential andalso develops a life long love of learning and discovery.Being a great teacher means knowing when to assist, when to stand back and insist onindependence. Doing too much for a learner leads to reliance and lack of perseverance,which will in turn lead to lack of self esteem.
Reaching that goal with encouragement but nophysical help will enable the learner experience the feeling of achievement that inspiresfurther learning.A teacher must therefore, provide the opportunities which allow the leaner to learn forthemselves. Learners do not learn by being told, they learn by finding out for themselves.This may be a toddler playing with water, or a university student doing independent research the principle is the same. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) stated, In order for a child tounderstand something, he must reinvent it. Every time we teach a child something, we keephim from reinventing it himself.' This is not meant to say we must not teach, but we shouldprovide opportunities for children to explore and discover new things themselves. Thisprovides an increased level of understanding than telling them about something.A true teacher teaches as a way of life, they life to teach rather than teach to live. Theynever stop learning themselves as the journey of discovery is ever present. They are not teachers just in school hours, they are constantly looking for ideas to use in the classroomthey often take part in out of school activities, clubs are other ways to support and providefor their learners. They are able to pass this enthusiasm onto their pupils, instilling the joyof discovery.If you enter a classroom of a great teacher you will see learners actively wanting to learn,

interacting with each other and the teacher. You will often see groups workingindependently, on differentiated tasks designed to stretch their individual abilities. You maysee some pupils benefiting from one to one attention from a teaching assistant. They may behaving difficulty in a certain area, or are above the ability of the rest of the class and arecompleting advanced work. It is this
understanding and individual plans of learning that enablelearners to keep on task, never feeling bored or unable to complete work. The balance of beingsupported, yet maintaining independence, is an invaluable skill that separates good teachers fromgreat teachers.We can see then that a teacher is not someone who is knowledgeable they know how to teach.Students taught in an inspiring way want to learn rather than learning for a specific test or reward.They know how to pass on, not just knowledge but love of learning, and most of all the care about the whole person not just exam results. A great teacher is a truly special person and will influencethe lives of their learners for the rest of their lives”
Rakesh Mohan Hallen

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