Being a student of the conventional schooling system, my understanding of teaching and learning was very different - teachers were all-powerful beings with control over students and learning was all about mindless memorization, loads of homework and the pressure of high grades in assessments. It was about sitting in a classroom all day and looking at the board where the teacher would come, explain and write notes which students were expected to blindly copy. Talking in the class was a big “NO”- it was a mark of indiscipline. The punishment for failing to submit homework in time or talking in the class would be to stand and be shamed in front of the entire class or even asked to leave the class. Maths problems were to be solved in a specific way that the teacher approved – i.e. in a step wise manner with all calculations shown. And yes, there would be marks for handwriting and neatness. In language classes, our creative writings would include “Autobiography of a pen” or ”What if I was a calculator”- topics with no relevance to real life. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I did not enjoy school- I loved going to school! But it was not for the learning but for my friends. I never thought that learning can also be fun until I came to know about experiential learning. I wish I could go back to school and be a student again.

But times are changing. The need of the hour is changing. Teachers are changing. And I am glad I am riding the tide of this paradigm shift that is happening in our education system today.

©2018 by Amrita Saha

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