A MODEL FRAMEWORK OF TEACHING - LEARNING SUITABLE TO INTEGRAL EDUCATION
It is not intended to present here a model of the required framework as the model, but as a tentative and experimental model that could be utilized, with the necessary modifications, for innovative experiments. The new model will be so flexible that it can accommodate or adjust itself with the various programmes of education of varying durations. In particular, this model will aim at providing the necessary structure and organization so as to permit the art of self learning and integral development of personality as also various combinations of programmes of agricultural, technical, vocational, artistic and academic education. It will also facilitate the creation of the atmosphere and stimulation needed for dynamic methods. Besides, it will also meet the needs of multi point entry system, non for mal education, part- time education, and of weaving examination system into the learning process itself.
1. Grouping of Students
For each major stage of studies (lower primary, higher primary, etc.) there could normally be sections or groups of about 100 students. The differences of levels of capacities should not very much count in the formation of these large groupings. These groupings would be valid and useful for those areas of studies which yield easily to cooperative work, mass media or to the means of environmental influence. These would include works of productive labour, large portions of language learning, as also introductory or panoramic portions of a number of Subjects where demonstrations, exhibitions or stimulating and interesting lectures are suitable means of communication. These would also be relevant 'p what may be regarded as peripheral areas of studies, where the imparting of general information is intended. Areas of general explanations, general knowledge, general instructions are also appropriate to these large groupings.
In the general working of the organisation, it is better not to have any fixed time table for the work of these large groupings. Or, if it is found necessary for some reason to have a regular fixed timing, it is better to have it not for the main work but to confine it to what may be termed 'time for supplementary work.'
In any case, the fixed timings of various programmes of education should be so arranged that
the hours of fresh study and labour which can be done by individual self learning are not affected in any way. (The major portion of the daily work should be available to the students for their individual self learning.)
For purposes of the individual self learning, there will be, in a sense, no groupings since each individual will be free to choose his own area of work and pursue it at his own pace.
(A) But each teacher will have a number of students who will come to him more or less regularly for consultation on the subject of his competence. These students would, in a sense, constitute for the teacher in question a kind of a natural group. For, although these students will mostly come individually for consultations, they might also come in the form of a group from time to time.
(B) There will be, however, another kind of grouping or break up of the large group, depending upon the mode of learning that a given topic imposes or upon the mode of learning chosen by the student. There are topics or areas which need to be pursued regularly, systematically, step by step, with rigour, measure and regulated or accelerated speed. Those who choose such topics or such a mode of learning will form a kind of a group even though each of them may do his work mostly by himself. There are other areas or topics, which may permit a leisurely and free pursuit. Those who choose such topics or such a mode of learning
will form another group. These groupings will, however, be not tight and inflexible. The same student may belong toone group for a few topics and to another group for other topics; or, with regard to the same topic, he may offer to do both these kinds of work appropriate to both these groups. Thus, he will belong to both the groups.
It may be noted that the grouping mentioned above under (A) and (P) will be, more or less, temporary, meant for some specific purpose or project and therefore dissoluble with the purpose in view. These groups will normally tend to be homogeneous from the point of view of capacities, or interests, but there will be no rigidity in this respect. They will often need to have group classes, and sometimes, even a fixed time table for short or long periods. Normally, time tables should be fixed for a month or two, renewable for a longer period, if necessary.
Individual consultations with the teachers will also tend in the direction of regular prior fixation of timings in regard to each student. There are some obvious advantages and conveniences in such fixed appointments. But care should be taken to see that the teachers keep always one or two hours daily unfixed so that students may have the opportunity to come them from time to time without any prior engagement.
One final point about grouping. If we are watchful, we shall find that» from time to time, there emerge spontaneously extremely small groups of
students who have common inclinations and high aspirations, some common character or common trait of personality, even though they may differ in respect of capacities. Their homogeneity is by virtue of character or personality rather than capacities. Such groups are very valuable. They should be recognized, and they should be given all the help needed individually or collectively. Such groups become, if properly encouraged, transmitters of enthusiasm, dedication and devotion to studies, work and ideals.
In regard to the above system of grouping, three obvious advantages Can be mentioned:
There has recently been a strong plea for multi point entry system, particularly, in relation to the solutions which have been suggested for the implementation of the programme for the universalization of elementary education. It will be noted that this idea of multi point entry system is extremely valuable, and this system will find a natural setting in the structure that is suggested here. Similarly, this structure will provide a favourable setting for 'unit' studies. And a new system of tests can easily operate in the proposed structure so that tests become a part of the natural rhythm of the process of learning.
It would be possible in this flexible organization , to ensure facilities for individual attention which is indispensable, particularly, in the field of moral and spiritual education.
Works of productive labour, can flourish in this setting with naturalness that is so essential to the joy of work. These works need not be given
as tasks. But students can be stimulated and encouraged by means of nourishment of interests, environmental needs and influences, as also through the medium of hobbies. In this setting, even specialisation of vocational training can be initiated at early stages. General education, diversification of courses and vocationalization – all can blend harmoniously together.
(a) The role of teachers in this new organization is crucial. The teachers should have not only competence with regard to their subjects but also the necessary spirit and zeal.
(b) In the initial stages, students will need to learn how to organize their freedom; teachers should, therefore, help students in this regard.
(c) For every unit of 100 students, there should be ' a coordinator or a 'First Teacher' whose functions will be as follows:
(i) He will be available to students for guidance so 'as to help them in organizing their work and in learning the art of self learning as also other ways of learning;
(ii) He may, by personal contact, provide motivation to the students for various works, topics or subjects, according to the needs and circumstances;
(iii) He will ensure that all the material needs of studies and work are provided for;
(iv) He will keep an overall record of the work of every student in the unit, and will see that the
students get the necessary guidance from himself or from the other teachers, or else from the environment;
(v) He will also ensure that the entire organization runs smoothly and harmoniously;
(vi) He will work as a brother among brothers and will consult all concerned before arriving at decisions; and
(vii) He will also give the necessary help in framing time tables, particularly, in view of the fact that, since there will be no time tables fixed in advance for, the whole year, there will be the need to frame ad hoc time-tables for short or long durations in consultation with students and teachers for various subjects and for various purposes.
(d) In addition to the First Teachers, it seems practicable that, for each major subject, a full time competent teacher could take charge of about 30-40 students (this number may vary according to the special needs of a given subject and also the age and capacity of the students). These teachers may form themselves into a small committee to help the Coordinator, and maintain a personal contact with the students in the Unit.
(e) Problems of irregularity, indiscipline and misuse of facilities will primarily be dealt with by the Coordinator and his Committee. To this Committee may be nominated some of the best students of the Unit.
(f) All administrative problems should be handled carefully so that all points of view are given their due weight, and decisions emerge out of consultations.
(g) All work should be carried out by utmost goodwill and cooperative action, rather than by any arbitary authority.
(h) There should be no place for gossips, politics, canvassing, manoeuvring, ugliness and untidiness. There should be an atmosphere of self control and utmost inner discipline.
(i) A full fledged working of this model will pre-suppose new educational material in the form of booklets, work sheets, charts, maps, pictures, albums, tapes, slides, film strips, magazines, journals, exhibits, tools, and equipment and apparatus. And new curricula and syllabi have to be worked out, particularly, in regard to interdisciplinary studies and inter weaving of work and knowledge. In these tasks, teachers will have to make their own contribution.
III. Organization of the Work
In the proposed organization, a special emphasis will fall upon 'individual work'. 'Individual Work' may be pursued in several different ways that have already been enumerated elsewhere.
At the end of every two or three months, each student will submit to the Coordinator a report on his work in regard to each topic, subject or work under study. This report will give details of the progress he has made in regard to what he has read or written or the reflections and conclusions he has arrived at. (It is understood that younger students
will not be capable of giving this r kind of report, and in their case teachers themselves will prepare reports for them).
Tests will be given to the students where necessary, and their aim will be to provide to the students occasions for exercise, revision, comprehension, encouragement and self evaluation.
Tests for placement in the employment market should be conducted by a National Testing Service, and they should be open to anyone who wants to take them. These tests should be related to specific jobs or employment opportunities or certain pursuits of Studies and disciplines of knowledge and skill. They will also test physical fitness, artistic and other talents, practical skills and value orientation.
IV What will be Expected of Students
To learn the secret of self-education and to work hard so as to remain steadily on the road to self- perfection- this will be the student's constant endeavour.
To study and work widely and intensely, to study and work with joy and application, to study and work to grow and to remain perpetually youthful this will be the content of his main work.
But to become a fearless hero-warrior in the quest of Truth, Harmony, and Liberty, and to surpass the limitations of his nature by an inner change and transformation- this will be regarded as the very heart of his work.