The importance of teaching and parenting has become a prominent topic of discussion like never before and rightly so. As a teacher and a parent, if we are able to sow the right seeds of thoughts, feelings, and action in a child now, the return on investment will be multi- fold for the country and the world.
Every generation has a challenge, in the earlier times children were put into schools that run like factories and only focused on loading information and memorizing this information to score high. It was assumed that one who scored high is intelligent and prepared for life!
In addition to this challenge , the current generation children are spending more time playing games on their mobile phones than going outdoors to play and learn. We can blame this trend on technology or congested living spaces but it’s time to look at how children play, learn and evolve as better human beings and future citizens of the globe.
Oasis – Dialogue with Henry Readhead , was an event on 31st Aug 2017 organized by Oasis movement, a non-profit organization; and SchoolScape, a centre for educators, that had approx. 130 educators from different credible education institutions from across south India gathering at the Ashirvad Hall at St. Marks road to discuss this most important matter that will have a huge impact on the future of this globe, “EDUCATION”.
Henry Readhead is the grandson of AS Neil who is the founder of Summerhill School, one of the oldest school practicing democratic education (from 1921). The Summerhill school works with the belief that a school should be made to fit the child rather than the other way round. It is one of the oldest and most famous democratic schools in the world and has influenced educational practices in many schools and universities across the globe. The school is today a thriving democratic community showing that children can learn to be self-confident, tolerant, and considerate when given the space to be themselves and trusted with the right to decide for themselves and the community.
The questions asked & introspected along with Henry were:
- What is the pedagogy that Summerhill follows?
- Have there been unhappy children even at Summerhill?
- Have you come across any shortcomings while practicing the philosophy?
- Is there a conflict between the school students once they grow in a free environment with their parents who may not have that mindset? Do you conduct programs for parents?
- What support do you provide if some school want to follow and seeks your guidance?
- How do the children who study in Summerhill school adjust to the world outside which still thinks IQ is important and believes in competition?
And there were more…
Henry answered every question from the audience beautifully with amazing sincerity and wit. He spoke from his heart and his passion for education and Summerhill School was evident.
The talk began with Henry sharing about his personal journey at Summerhill, as a child how he wanted to pursue music and by the age of 30, he realized that his heart lies in Summerhill School as he was constantly talking more about Summerhill than his music. That is when he decided to dedicate his life to Summerhill School and become a part of the school administration.
Highlights of his talk were:
- The word ‘freedom’ is not so easy to understand. Freedom is not license. You do need to bring a sense of commitment and structure. The Summerhill School encourages children to define their own boundaries. Freedom for them does not mean they impinge on the freedom of others. It’s about respecting each other’s boundaries.
- Education should focus on holistic development of a child, social-emotional development is as important as academic development
- Children should find their own individual goals and involve themselves. The parent and teacher are to provide the right environment to do this. It is important that we do not jump into taking decision for children.
- Learning should be play. Play is the most natural way to connect with the environment, people and themselves.
- School should support children to get where they want to get to. For example- If a child wants to become a doctor, the child should make the decision on the effort that needs to be put into, the school should support this decision and effort.
- The strength of Summer Hill school is its community Mindset, the teachers meet very often and children come together to make a decision on things that actually affect them.
Overall, it was great interacting with Henry and was heartwarming to see such wonderful participation by all the educationalists. The common goal of changing the way we educate children to make a positive impact on the society resonated among all the educationalists present there.
This investment of time, energy, and emotion in the future citizens is surely going to lead us in the right direction despite all odds.
Education is the way to change the future.
OASIS is a registered charitable trust rooted at Vadodara, Gujarat, since 1993.Spread across all major cities of Gujarat, Mumbai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hosur, Some parts of USA, and Europe.
The central philosophy of Oasis Movement is character building education. For this movement Oasis has taken up many major initiatives viz: IYLDP (Indian Young Leadership Development Program for children and youth), “Hu Chhu Jyotirdhar”( The Campaign For Awareness And Fulfillment Of Teachers’
Swadharma), Oasis L3 course (powerfully inspiring programs for people at large), Oasis Publication on Character Education, Organic Farming, Hygiene and Adolescence, Education for underprivileged children). Our objective is to empower children & youth by providing supportive environments where they can lead their lives with dignity. Our main focus is to nurture children to unleash their potential and to help them live a meaningful life.
Please visit www.oasismovement.in for more information.
SchoolScape, a centre for educators conducts teacher development programs and a one-year course at the Elementary school level. It has worked in partnership with education departments in Karnataka and TN, with the MHRD, with national and international organizations; and schools. It will be organizing the International Democratic Education Conference – IDEC – in November 2018, which will be held in tandem with the Asia-Pacific DEC – APDEC _and InDEC
Visit: indec.net.in Contact: SchoolScape2@gmail.com