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Understanding the Parent

Thursday September 2 2004 08:20 IST

By Karmayogi

The teacher who understands the subject and teaches it well so that the interest of the class is awakened is the best of teachers. In the training colleges where psychology is taught, it is said that to understand the student is more important than understanding the subject. The student has two sides to his personality.

One is the human side that needs attention and affection. The other is the mental capacity to relate to the subject taught and absorb it with interest. Teachers' colleges deal with the latter.

The former is out of reach for the teacher. For, what is he to do with the knowledge of the student's affectionate home or broken home? In a higher sense of education, that matters, that alone matters.

The parent is result-oriented. He needs to know whether his child's career will be shaped by the school. The parent will not understand the psychological makeup of his son or daughter, but will expect extraordinary results. If the teacher understands the parent, it will help him deal with the student.

The child or the boy needs affection. Maybe that is the only thing he is looking for. At least, attention, a poor version of affection, is what he is looking for. Half the children get that affectionate attention at home.

For them, it is easy to learn. The other half do not get that affection. Knowing that, the teacher can offer him some attention. The boy or girl will read, not so much for the sake of the subject as for the attention that appears to him as affection. There are certain hard cases where the children are severely beaten at home, either by the father or the mother. It is too much for the teacher to expect that child to read.

That teacher who endeavors to know this fact of the home treatment is in a fortunate position with the child. The child may not want the teacher to know his condition at home. Knowing that, if the teacher extends an attitude of solicitude to the student, whatever her age, it will be heavenly balm to the student.

That student will fully respond to the teacher, whether it is in the lesson or outside. People who plan for the future of education of this country can go further in their knowledge. The hardness of the parent issues from human evil. But a higher philosophic knowledge of evil can set his sights straight.

The social atmosphere in the country is shot through and through with the ideas of karma, fate, horoscope, evil, etc. No religion in any country has a positive pronouncement about evil. To Sri Aurobindo, evil does not exist except for the ego.

A curriculum that aims at mitigating the ego, the source of evil, will go a long way in counteracting the stifling, deeply entrenched social beliefs. Ego, evil, and a syllabus that touches upon them with insight are precious subjects for the educationist.
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