Obligation to feel solidarity

Prakash Iyer
Is treating everyone equally in all kinds of situations always right? When it comes to learning, teachers need to spend more time with children who need their help to learn and absorb and less time with children who can learn by themselves. This kind of good partiality also sends out messages of solidarity.

The importance of untruth

Prakash Iyer
As teachers we have not done our job if our students simply take our word and believe something to be true. We need to train our students to imagine, hypothesize, predict and then arrive at a conclusion about any piece of knowledge before assimilating it to be true or not. Then we have done our job as teachers.

The unjust exclusion of silence

Prakash Iyer
When we live in a democracy we must listen to both those who speak and those who don’t. Someone’s unwillingness to speak should not be interpreted as indifference and ignored politely. Even those who are unable to voice their opinion, make a statement or claim what is due to them, exist in the same space. It is the responsibility of those who can speak to understand what their silent peers are trying to say and find ways to help them speak as well.

The question of power

Prakash Iyer
Is there a sense or feeling of power between a teacher and a student? In passing on knowledge to students, is a teacher exercising his/her power and should he/she be responsible for it? Where then can the teacher draw the line? Teachers are there to give direction to the students and not exercise power over them.

What one thinks they want vs. what they really want

Prakash Iyer
After a series of articles on the philosophy of education, Prakash Iyer turns his lens on a new set of philosophical ideas; these are ideas that are relevant to all of us both as teachers and as citizens. In this month’s article he focuses on the abstract and complex nature of ‘freedom’ in a democracy.

“I am a teacher. I am autonomous.”

Prakash Iyer
How can a teacher stay autonomous? Is she free to teach in the manner she wants and even change the curriculum? She can use the textbook and other teaching learning material, but she is also free to change the material as long as she sticks to the criteria.

The phenomenon of learning: beyond reason and reasoning

Prakash Iyer
How can teachers develop reasoning skills in students? Reasoning is necessary in order to learn, but learning is more than being able to reason. Learning is the transformation of our being. Real learning happens at the level of consciousness, not thought or reasoning alone.

The limits of individual autonomy

Prakash Iyer
One of the aims of education is to nurture independent, critically thinking beings. But unless we teachers recognize the fact that the different means we employ to achieve this are all necessary but in the end also manipulative and therefore put in that much more effort to be true to our jobs, we won’t be able to do what we have set out to.

The anatomy of an “aha!” moment

Prakash Iyer
Are emotions involved in the learning process? Do children have to like, desire or express wonder while learning a concept? Does learning have a strong element of subjectivity? Is there an ‘aha’ moment when a child grasps a concept? This article unravels the process of learning.

Reflections of an intolerant teacher

Prakash Iyer
We are living in a pluralist society and if, unlike us, we want our children to live in harmony in such a society we need to train them. But will merely talking about unity and diversity in the classroom do the trick? What should a teacher do before embarking on contentious topics? Here’s what this teacher concluded after an intense reflective session.