I first wish to introduce a quote from Sir Ken Robinson’s book, The Element to preface my entry:
“We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”
This particular axiom by Sir Ken Robinson intimately marries my thoughts every time I pass through the corridors of my Delhi University college. Educational pedagogies should not be derived from fast-food models of management, but should be organic in nature. Education should reach into the depths of our souls and soothingly awaken our inner artistic selves, uncover our true beings. My intent now is not to be flippant, but to be honest with you. I have been attending classes for a couple of months now and still feel the same “sturm und drang” of fellow students as when I had entered the school for my first lecture. I am beyond frustrated for them.
While I recognize that the latter statement was injected with a sense of privilege, it is justified by my now greater sense of appreciation for my home institution. My initial feelings were reinforced when I was able to share an intimate conversation with a fellow student on her thoughts about the course of her overall college experience– “There is no room for divergent thinking here. We are not taught to think differently.” This same student even disclosed to me that she feels unmotivated to do her work insofar that she sits herself down at night to begin her assignments and asks “what is the point?” Another student who harbors a passion for psychological research told me that she plans to actively avoid taking a research seminar next semester. She has been trying to get her own research published but the faculty has been unresponsive, numb towards her interests. Thus, she sees taking the course as ultimately a poor return on her investment. While I am by no means speaking for every student, I recognize the voices of those students who are effected by the dysfunction of their education. It is unfortunate for me to be saying this, but after being in their school for two months now I am glad that the end is in sight, for me. I cannot take another day of rote memorization and superficial assignments that require me to simply read and regurgitate information from a book in class the next day. In earnest, I told a fellow student who was expressing angst towards their educational system that the best way to transcend the system is to work with the system. After you graduate, find your passions, make a difference, and without hesitation leap into the void…