‘Open’ up to learning

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

Somewhere not very far from your home there are children (with their families) living a very different kind of life – we call it open learning. The child decides what to do and learn, how, how much, when, where, etc. In short, the child leads his/her life and learning. The rest of his/her family and other families support and are co-passengers in this journey.

Here, we present a dramedy on open learning based on true events.

Scene 1

Advik, a 14 year old boy, is talking over a video call to Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: So Advik, you want to become rich?
Advik: Nope.
Saurabh: You want to earn money?
Advik: Nope.
Saurabh: Then why are you trading on the stock market?
Advik: Because I want to trade on the stock market.
Saurabh: I think I am getting it. You just like it?
Advik: Yup.

Scene 2

Mishti, an 8 year old girl, is with her mom, Preeti in their flat in Mumbai

Preeti: What are you going to learn today?
Mishti: Nothing.
Preeti: Nothing? Just because you are not going to school…
Mishti: Mumma, It’s Covid time, nobody is going to school.
Preeti: Okaaay, but they are still learning at home.
Mishti: I don’t want to learn anything.
Preeti: But what will you do the whole day?
Mishti: Lots of things I love doing.

Scene 3

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: So where did you learn trading?
Advik: Nowhere.
Saurabh: Oh! You learned on your own?
Advik: Ya kind of. I read, do and then read more and do more.
Saurabh: And what do you use for doing trading.
Advik: Stuff like resistant points, Fibonacci retracement, candle patterns.

Scene 4

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: Listen, to do something, we need to learn it before na.
Mishti: Listen, to do something we just have to do something.
Preeti: How will you bake a cake without learning baking?
Mishti: Mumma, YouTube hai na.
Preeti: Do you know all the measurements?
Mishti: Mumma, mumma hai na.

Scene 5

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: Wow, you’ve gained a lot of knowledge.
Advik: A little. More, I can learn from you.
Saurabh: Sure. Tell me, isn’t trading gambling?
Advik: How?
Saurabh: Gambling starts at 50-50 probability and so also stock trade.
Advik: Agree. I am learning to get my 50 per cent more times.

Scene 6

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: So you think you’ll learn just like that?
Mishti: Ya, because I think.
Preeti: Isn’t this like gambling?
Mishti: How?
Preeti: You may learn, you may not. 50-50 chance na.
Mishti: Mumma you only said you use so little of what you learned in school.
Preeti: You got me there.
Mishti: Atleast, I love the 50 I learn and the 50 I don’t.

Scene 7

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: What are you doing so that the odds of success are in your favour?
Advik: Technical analysis.
Saurabh: These depend on previous trends. Past predicting future.
Advik: Isn’t that okay?
Saurabh: If it had been so correct everyone would have done it.
Advik: But everyone is not trying.
Saurabh: They are, they are.
Advik: Then I’ll just do a little extra.

Scene 8

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: What if what you learn is wrong?
Mishti: I will learn from my wrongs na.
Preeti: That is true.
Mishti: Just like how I clicked those pictures all wrong.
Preeti: And Jayshree aunty gave you feedback.
Mishti: But it was so fun doing them.
Preeti: You had fun, yes, but how will you get better at it?
Mishti: I just have to do little extra, to do better.

Scene 9

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: Ya, when taking a trade you should know what extra you’re doing so that odds of your winning are more than 50-50.
Advik: I have all the time in the world to do whatever this extra is.
Saurabh: Ya, not going to school gives you lots of extra time.
Advik: I am reading a book on understanding balance sheets. Does that count?
Saurabh: Yes. Fundamental knowledge of the company whose trade you are going to do is extremely important. You should know what is happening with the company, industry, sector, markets, overall.
Advik: I guess I need to watch movies less and companies more.

Scene 10

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: Children in school learn a lot of things.
Mishti: I too learn a lot of things. I am learning to take care of my life.
Preeti: But, what if you miss out on something important?
Mishti: I can always learn it when I need it.
Preeti: But there must be some fundamental stuff you need.
Mishti: I am planning my day and reflecting on my work. Does that count?
Preeti: Hmmmm, learning to learn is very fundamental to living life.
Mishti: Mumma, chalo, let’s plan to watch a movie and reflect on that.

Scene 11

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: Before entering any trade, you should have 3-5 reasons why you’re entering that trade.
Advik: Isn’t that obvious uncle?
Saurabh: Not necessarily, people take decisions more on personal biases.
Advik: Agree. If I know my reasons, then as the market progresses I can decide what to do.
Saurabh: Exactly, then you know when to upsize your position and when to downsize.
Advik: And when to quit.

Scene 12

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: In open learning, planning is important. Then you know what you are doing when.
Mishti: That’s obvious mumma.
Preeti: And it’s even more important that we track, assess and reflect on our daily doing.
Mishti: Like whole day today I was so busy with crochet that I forgot to work on my presentation on birds.
Preeti: Exactly, you’re slowly developing a sense of where to put more effort and what to reduce.
Mishti: And what to not do at all.
Preeti: Like not taking a bath.
Mishti: Mummaaa!

Scene 13

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: So you need to be a scientific investor.
Advik: How is that?
Saurabh: Not base your strategy only on the past.
Advik: Got that.
Saurabh: It is for you to find your 3-5 solid strategies.
Advik: What if my strategy is wrong?
Saurabh: Oh, all strategies individually are correct and incorrect at the same time.
Advik: Wow. Think like a leader and do like a marksman.

Scene 14

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: In open learning you’re responsible for yourself.
Mishti: How is that?
Preeti: You have full freedom to decide.
Mishti: Got that.
Preeti: It is for you to design your own structure, create your own life.
Mishti: What if my approach is wrong?
Preeti: Oh, all of us, even adults, are individually both right and wrong all the time. That is life.
Mishti: Wow, I am a leader, I lead my learning.

Scene 15

Advik, continuing his video call with Saurabh uncle.

Saurabh: Trading is like playing football.
Advik: I like football.
Saurabh: You need to develop deep skills, and then game intelligence matters.
Advik: So I have to work on both.
Saurabh: Yes, skills make your 50 per cent; game intelligence adds that extra 10 per cent. Then you win 60-40.
Advik (smiling): Uncle gimme 10 per cent of your wisdom and I’ll be game intelligent.
Saurabh (smiling too): Sure, watch a few football games this weekend.
Advik: I would rather play uncle, I would rather play.

Scene 16

Mishti, at home with mom Preeti

Preeti: Open learning is like playing many games.
Mishti: More games I play, more I enjoy.
Preeti: And you also discover what games would be your life.
Mishti: Is it like me finding myself, mumma?
Preeti: Wow that’s awesome Mishti. Even at 40 I am finding myself.
Mishti:You only told me, education is not to find a job but to find yourself .
Prreti: Hmmmm, super deep ho gaya Mishti.
Mishti: Then chalo, let’s play some games mumma, let’s play.

Scene 17

Saurabh and Preeti are sharing their thoughts in a community gathering of open learners

Saurabh: I did trading much later in my adult life. If, like Advik, I had started trading and learning about the art of investing, I would have been a different me today. No regrets, just amazed what growth and professional opportunities open learning offers to our children.
Preeti: I second that. More than Misthi, I think I am learning, growing and enjoying as a person, now that we are doing open learning as a family. I no longer worry about the future, since the present is so empowering, so enlarging, so enriching.
Saurabh: And unlike trading, in open learning, open learner families are there to support each other.
Preeti: And like trading, open learning will have ups and downs, and that is the fun of living life fully.
Saurabh: You think every family should at least explore open learning?
Preeti: No, no, only the ones who like bulls and bears.

The community in chorus responds: Ha Ha Ha.

The authors run Aarohi, an Open Learning Community for learners of all ages, open to all kinds of interests, abilities, styles and content areas. Learning by doing what one wants, how one wants, and self reflection. It is a community to co-live, learn and support each other. Aarohi’s campus is in a village near Hosur in Tamil Nadu (55km from Bangalore). To know more about Aarohi visit https://aarohilife.org.

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