August 17, 2003

 

Teaching is One Part of Education

 

 

         The basic difference between teaching and education is one is external, whereas the other is internal. It may be said that both are external and teaching is a part of education. This is so when we conceive of education as a social process which ends in reaching the Individual.

         In another sense, the subconscious learning of the society becomes conscious in the Individual where it is entirely an inner process. He gives it to the society when it again becomes external.

         Ultimately education for the Individual is what he learns on his own. This is evident in the genius who has nothing to learn from outside.

         When one SEES that "All learning is self-learning", he ceases to be a teacher and begins to be an educationist.

         There is a lot written about this and it is common knowledge in the field of education. Every serious book on education will substantially concede this point.

         The greater part of success of Glenn Doman lies in his knowing this truth and practicing it ONLY at the physical level. Our purpose may even be fully served when we extend his process to the vital and mental. He has seen the coordination between crawling and the capacity to understand. Let us enumerate every method of his and work the corresponding vital and mental method. It will be a rich harvest, though a clumsy opulence. The child responds to sounds and sight. In a three year or even five year child, one can OBSERVE the curiosity to new sounds. If you note that curiosity and keep your eye on the child, you will see that he now understands what he has so far not understood. That is the first step. To see the correspondence between fresh understanding and fresh stimuli is the first step. To classify them is the second step. To use it as an educational tool is the final step. There may be very many stages in between. Let us begin with physical, vital, mental observations that are correlated to mental understanding. Standard books will make copious references to them casually. A bunch of observations is the raw material to begin with. To observe more than one child in the beginning may be difficult. This type of knowledge becomes complete only when we see that process in ourselves.

         Experienced teachers love the expansive moods of teaching. They are lost to the process of education. Their expansiveness is their experience. An experience is total that is overwhelming, almost making one unconscious. Education, as we discuss here, is a conscious process. The expansive teacher is excellent material for becoming an educationist when he makes the unconscious ecstasy into a conscious observation.

         I call education the yoga of the society. Sri Aurobindo says all Nature is doing yoga. All life is yoga is his maxim. By yoga, He means a conscious ORGANISATION for the progress of consciousness. Life, He says, progresses by consciousness and consciousness progresses by organisation. Organisation gets its raw materials from observation. They are organised by a creative idea. Organisation around a traditional idea makes for stability, around a creative idea makes for progress.

         The child learns on its own is one such creative idea. Soon after, learning to read or write, geniuses drop out of schools. Theoretically, reading and writing are better learnt by the child on its own. In practise, no child learns that way. Let us abridge the gap between them the minimum the child has to be taught for him to be on his own. In a sense, a clumsy, unorganised, unthinking sense, we are already doing it. Let us give thought to the unthinking part. Observe so that there will be raw material to think. We can organise later. One becomes clumsy when he gives way to social superstition. One becomes irredeemably clumsier when he gives way to psychological superstition. Social superstition needs no elaboration, but psychological superstition needs. To start with, SUPERSTITION needs explanation.

         Superstition is the organised ignorance of the uninformed around facts of life unexplained.

         Analysing many of our beliefs from the first principles, we will be surprised by the fact that our whole existence is superstition. Rightly Shankara called it Maya and pleaded for its rejection in toto. Buddha's analysis dissolved ego and he extended it to the Self too. Ego is the creation of Mind which on analysis can dissolve. Self existed before the creation of the Mind. How can mental analysis dissolve Self? Thus Shankara stole a march over Buddha. Sri Aurobindo goes one step further that Maya, which is unreal to the mind, is real to the Self and He quotes the Vedas in His support, though He explains it on his own. A detailed knowledge of this idea in The Life Divine will directly help research in education.

         Mother calls conscience the adversary, as it is a psychological creation and a superstitious one.

         In the unorganised part of the society where society does not prohibit our activities, we are apt to create psychological superstitions. Authors are creating in this area. Right from obscene literature at the bottom to the highly popular fiction that organises low consciousness at the top, the field is fertile. The job of the educationist is to wean his human material from this force. It cannot be done by instruction or prohibition, though it is not impermissible. Children can be made to see for themselves what is elevating and what is depressing. Self-discrimination is best.

         By collecting enough material from vital, mental observation that has a bearing on understanding, we make a beginning. One can do so by 1) direct observation, 2) materials from books on education, 3) tracing understanding back to its origin, 4) analyzing education materials available at our disposal, or 5) by encouraging children to speak out what they learnt and how or why. They may ramble on but very valuable materials may emerge out of listening to them.