Education Through Mistakes
Nov 28, 2012 Other 1996 Views
The great soul Gandhiji once said: "Don't look at the evil, don't speak the evil, and don't listen to the evil." In our books, we see it as pictures of the Three Monkeys of Gandhiji - one covering its eyes with both its hands, symbolizing 'not to look at the evil'; the other covering its mouth with its hands, symbolizing 'not to speak the evil'; and the third one covering its ears with its hands symbolizing 'not to listen to the evil'.
That in essence is one of the greatest morals to be imbibed and taught to all and sundry. Indeed, it is the greatest need of the present day situations with so many youths succumbing to unethical, immoral, and uncivil acts and thoughts in the face of adversity. And, it is also our moral responsibility, too.
Now, let us dive deep into the symbolic meanings of the Three Monkeys of Gandhiji. On the face of it, it means that we should avoid - rather move away from - whatever is evil. The common word is - EVIL. This also means that we should first recognize what is EVIL, and then we should shun it in every form. Unless we recognize what is EVIL, we are most prone to pass our lives in trial and error method. Some idea comes to mind, and not knowing whether it is right to take, chances are great that we would try it, see the result, and if the result comes out to be advantageous, we say it's right and NOT EVIL.
But, is it possible for us to 'grope in the dark' in such a way throughout our lives in order to find out whether what we think or try to do is Evil or not? Definitely not. Our lives would be too short for it.
Our method of education is based on keeping students' eyes focused on what is 'Right' only. Teachers don't think of teaching in such a way that the students not only get to know the right way, or right answers, but they also come to know what is NOT 'Right'.
This is important and has its benefits, too. Let us bring to our mind some situations of our own lives. From our parents we learned how to walk. Did we not fall while trying to walk? Or, did our parents not allow us to put our legs forward, while knowing that we may fall? Put in another way, had our parents not allowed us to try on our own under the spell of the fear that we may fall and get hurt, we would probably not have learnt to walk at the right age. And, later too we would have learned to walk only when we ourselves had dared to put our steps forward, and in that process fallen and got hurt, too. Besides, there is the benefit of getting an experience also, which gives us a confidence to face a similar situation in future with courage.
The point here is NOT to make deliberate mistake to learn something new. The point is - we should be taught to know both aspects of anything we are taught - the 'Right' as well as the 'Wrong'. Once we are well aware that a certain approach is not 'Right', we would be less tempted to try it and naturally the chances of failure would be greatly reduced.
Yes, doing this will demand time, and patience. It is quite less time-taking to teach only what is 'Right', as those who teach get habituated, teaching year after year after year. But to clarify all possible 'Wrongs' would need lots of brainwork to find out all possible mistakes one may commit and would also require gathering experiences of others who have done something the 'Wrong' way. The method would become more complicated, depending upon the complexity of the problem involved. But, all such efforts are worth it. The reward that we get by following this wholesome approach will be much better than what we are presently following. The tragedy is that in spite of us being aware of all these simple things, we always keep single-pointed focus on teaching only 'What is Right'. This is in essence a lop-sided approach to education, and has its manifestations too in our lives.
We come across many people who have consistently got fine grades in academic fields, but who miserably fail in their lives. In those problematic situations which they have never faced or thought of - situations which life throws us into - they are forced to meekly depend on others who are less academically qualified than themselves, but who are a better player of life. Why? Simply because they weren't taught to approach a problem in a wholesome way - 'Be aware of both what is 'Right' and what is 'Wrong', but follow only what is 'Right'.
Each and every subject that is taught in our schools and colleges ought to include this wholesome approach, and I believe that this would definitely bring better results in future.