Education must be holistic : Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


Ahmedabad, Sept 5: The purpose of education is to create individuals with personalities that have fully blossomed, peaceful individuals who have been nurtured to have a big vision for the world and society around them. Educating a child should be holistic and not just a process of packing in information.

Just attending classes does not mean one is getting educated. We have to pay attention to a child’s total development of mind and body, along with culturing human values like a sense of belongingness, sharing, loving and caring, non-violence and peace.

There is a beautiful idea that was part of the ancient Guru-Shishya tradition that should be revived today. A good teacher would always want the student to win. And a good student would wish for the victory of the teacher who represents the Big Mind. The student knew victory of his small mind would only bring misery whereas victory of the big mind would only bring good. This created a healthy student-teacher relationship where the student and teacher fully trusted each other on the journey of one’s growth and development. 

A good teacher needs to have plenty of patience. Patience of a teacher can create miracles in the lives of students, even if they are a little slow to learn. Parents Only have to deal with one or two children at home while teachers have to handle a room full of students. It is understandably more stressful and testing for teachers. So teachers need to be more centered. Tools like meditation and breathing practices can go a long way in preparing teachers to stay calm and centered. This is important because children are observing the teachers and learning from them all the time. 

Today it is very important for teachers to understand where the students stand and guide them from there at each step to the final goal. Here, we can learn from Lord Krishna in the way he takes Arjuna to the final destination in a step by step manner, with patience and love. In the beginning, Arjun was confused and he had a lot of questions. As a student grows, he is bound to have plenty of confusion as his concepts continue to break. For example, we learn that the sun rises in the east. Later we learn how the planets really move. So a good teacher is available to guide the student through these questions that arise in the mind A good teacher knows this and guides the student through these confusions. And sometimes create confusion too when it is needed. 

Teachers must strive for a delicate combination- firmness coupled with love. There are teachers who are very loving and others who are only strict. There are children who are rebellious and there are children who are timid and shy. The rebellious ones need encouragement and pats on the back. You should make them feel loved and cared for and a sense that they belong. But with the children who are shy and timid, you can be little firm to enable them to open up and speak. Be tough with them and also be loving. Often we do the reverse. Teachers act strictly with rebellious kids and become liberal with shy ones. Then their behavior patterns will not transform for the better. You need to be tough and sweet both, otherwise you won’t be able to guide the student to where you want to take them.