Friday, October 2, 2015

THE THREE FUNDAS OF LEARNING











Pic.: Manjeet Singh Kukreja

Vikas, one of my dear old-students, is a Geek! He is so tech-savvy, that I and many of my associates (Vikas’ teachers) call him, repeatedly, to fix our computer or cell-phone related problems. We really wonder how he does it… Yes, he fixes our problems!

The interesting thing to note here is this: Most of our problems are minor ones!

My wife was asking me, this morning, if she could sit with Vikas, one of these days, to learn some issues pertaining to the usage of computer and cell-phone. As Vikas is very busy presently studying for his final-CA exams, I discouraged my wife from bothering him at this stage and, suggested that after his December exams, she could approach him.

Then I left for my work… Here, in my early-morning batch, I found myself hammering on my young-students what I had been repeatedly doing for decades… I was, once again, reminding them about the most fundamental ingredients of true learning… “Learning is learning, only when we have the three fundamental ingredients of learning in place,” I was telling them… “That childlike curiosity… our sense of wonder, our awe-struck mind… That innate trust deep in our soul… and, that whole-hearted willingness of ours to take risks.”

Read again:
That childlike curiosity… our wonder-and-and-awestruck mind…
That trust deep down in our souls and…
That whole-hearted willingness to take risks… Try, make mistakes and learn.

A day doesn’t pass by without my daily reminder of this truth to my young students… I do it every time I find them running away from taking risks, depending on me desperately for every little thing… I do it when I see them coming to me like a herd, mechanically as a habit… when I see them approaching the studies with no curiosity or excitement… completely bereft of any inspiration, yes, just because they have to study for their exams and get good marks… I tell them when I sense their unwillingness to discover it on their own…

So, this morning, too, when I was hammering the same ghyan on my young students, I remembered the conversation I had with my wife at home… I and my wife, like millions of other parents and teachers of our age, grew up when computers, laptops, tablets, cell-phones and such gadgets were not around. At least, my wife, who grew up here in Mumbai and who is nine years younger than me, knew something about the computer usage. I knew nothing. I had someone to do my work here in my office. So, I did not know how to switch on and switch off the machine. (Learnt much later that they call it ‘Log on’ and ‘Log off’!) Just the thought of touching a certain key would paralyze me with fear… as though it might trigger off  an explosion or as though the data might get washed away (Took some time to learn that they call it ‘Deleted’!)… or, something like that. So, when necessity arose, I sat with some of my dear friends (my students!) and learnt some very basic functions about computer, which, today, has helped me to do my daily blogging. In the same way, I learnt to use the cell-phone.


Two days ago, I had a persistent problem: my cell-phone  was showing low battery. I would fully charge it, but within no time, I could see it is becoming low. The data card was on off-mode and I had no clue what was happening. When I was walking into my 5 pm twelfth-standard batch, it was showing 11%-charged. I knew, if I didn’t do something, by the time the one-hour lecture was over, it would become zero-charged! So, I placed my cell-phone in 17-year-old Darpan’s hands and narrated to him my misery. He fiddled with it, say for maximum four minutes… and gave it back to me saying, “Sir, let’s see it at the end of our lecture.”

After one hour, when the lecture got over, it showed 10%!

Darpan, the Geek, had fixed it, again for me - his teacher!

When I looked into Darpan’s eyes, I heard them reminding me of my own lesson about learning. Yes, the three fundas of learning… “Dude, be curious… Have self-trust… Take risks!”

And, when I looked around and saw all other Geeks gathered around, there, I heard their familiar… “HAHAHA”. That LOL!

So much for that learning ghyan  - the fundas - I impart every day


GERALD D’CUNHA

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