The book that changed my views on education

Prabhu S

It was the year 2020 and I was working as an accountancy teacher. My school had a wonderful library and I happened upon a treasure there– the book, The Element – How finding your passion changes everything. Once I started reading the book, I could not stop and it transformed me into a new person who now sees education, teaching, learning, school, examination, homework, assignment, progress reports, academic success, etc., differently.

I was a teacher most students hated

I was a strict teacher. I always found fault when students failed to learn. I believed that academic scores are everything. I relied on force and punishment to get things done. I strongly felt that academic success brings success in life for everyone irrespective of their personal interests and passion. I believed in an autocratic, authoritative way of disciplining students and getting them to score well in their exams. I was ignorant of what education meant. I was entirely wrong in my understanding of education, teaching, and learning. I was how I was taught.

A single book caused an upside-down change

The Element by Ken Robinson corrected the misconceptions on which I had built my teaching profession. The moment I started reading the book, I began to destroy my previous ideas, perceptions, beliefs, and principles about teaching, learning, and education. Now I am a completely new person. I am not what I was three years ago.

The impact of The Element

I must tell you the impact of this book in my life. More and more students started liking me. They became my lifelong well-wishers and friends. I could see more and more love and affection from the students towards me. I could see positive behavioural changes in students’ lives due to my approach after I read this book. I got to understand my own daughter with regard to her passion and interests. I understood my spouse, my relatives, and people I came across in my life. My thought-process changed for the better. Every day I receive more love and positive feedback from the students. Every day I add happiness and love in the life of every student I meet.

Parents are happy as their children are happy in my classes. Parents are happy that their children are becoming more positive in their activities and attitudes. I am able to build lifelong well-wishers and friends in my students and parents.

What does the book contain?

I don’t want to reveal the contents of the book, because the joy is in reading and finding out for oneself. The reader deserves the heavenly moments of talking to the author – Ken Robinson — while reading the book.

It is a matter of concern that I still find reflections of my old self in many teachers—teachers who believe the ultimate aim of education is to score well in exams, teachers who don’t put in an effort to understand their students, teachers who believe in their ultimate authority. Who will suffer if we teachers don’t change? Our students, our own children, our society, our country, and the world. If we want to live on a better planet, we have to change into new human beings. The Element will transform us into new human beings for a new lovable world.

The author is a teacher at Chandrakanthi Public school, Coimbatore. He can be reached at

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