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Teaching and Learning

By Karmayogi

Teaching is external; learning is a process of self-motivation. Teaching was a service and a great service at that when ignorance was widespread. It was a time when man needed an intermediary between himself and God. The priest will be an anachronism in the coming century. Martin Luther raised his banner of revolt several centuries ago. Examination was the instrument to measure one's knowledge, just as teaching was the method. Those were days when rote memorisation ruled the roost. Great orators like Winston Churchill committed their entire speech to memory. Absence of writing materials in India put a premium on memory. It rose to heights of superhuman proportions in preserving the Vedas in their purity of pronunciation all over this vast land. Exercises in memory reached miraculous heights. One can remember eight questions asked in succession by eight different people on eight different subjects and answer them in the same order. The art rose to the height of answering a hundred questions too. Those with this ability were called ashtavadhanam and sadavadhanam respectively. The Future is not for memory, however great it is; it is for understanding. All over the world, examinations are being given up. The Future is not for examinations; it is for knowledge and learning. What matters is NOT the score in the exam but the equipment that is retained in the mind. So also, the future is NOT for externally imposed disciplines that are mechanical. It is for the Self-discipline of values internalised by the child on his own. The Future is not for the scribe or the typewriter but belongs entirely to the computer. No longer is carbon paper used for making copies, as the xerox machine is employed. Examinations belong to the sacred age of the Scribes who wrote with a quill pen. Those were the heydays of memory and homework. Home is NOT for work but to enjoy the ever present HOUR when the Spirit surfaces in Love. Beating the child at home or at school belongs to the dark ages. In future, the law will prevent it. The human heart must outgrow the need for beating.

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