Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur
We all know that a school is a place of learning. And learning comes from a yearning, a desire. How the school can create such a yearning environment is perhaps what all educators, principals and teachers wonder about.
Our belief is that one important ingredient of the above is the school culture – primarily created by the school (teaching) staff. So here is question no. 1: “Is our school culture that of learning or that of teaching?”
One way to answer that question is to ask question no. 2: “How much am I, as a teacher, learning? – not just about the subject (that is actually less important) but about teaching, about children and about all the stuff life (and learning) is made of – like motivation, discipline, values, self-esteem, beliefs, feelings, creativity, etc?”
Another way to answer the first question is to ask question no. 3: “Who leads – the learner (student) or the teacher? So is the school learning-led or teaching-led?”
Another question (no. 4) arises: “What would happen if the children took over the task of teaching and the staff took over the task of learning?”
And one more (no. 5): We get calls asking for teacher training. While each call is a reason to celebrate (this school and its staff want to learn), it’s also a reason for anguish. Does not the school already have an amazing pool of resources (the staff) to design and create their own learning journey? Does a team of teachers really need another teacher? What an amazing environment of learning can be created if the teachers themselves train each other? Isn’t the (staff) group’s synergy the perfect example for children to see an interdependent ecosystem of collaborative learning?
This article hence is an appeal to all schools to look inwards, to draw from their own resources, to empower their own learning ambassadors and harness their creativity and energy to create a school that embodies a culture of co-learning. In such an environment, we believe, yearning for learning will automatically happen.
The authors run an open unschool called Aarohi and invite all readers to visit and see how open learning can be an amazing way to work with children. They also conduct training retreats and online training for teachers and parents. Visit www.aarohilife.org.