Learning 221

The other day, I was invited to a prestigious School in Delhi to talk to the parents on : ‘ Every Child …..a winner’ : Developing Confidence that lasts a lifetime:

To me it was a great opportunity to share with parents, thoughts about raising curious, thinking children who would grow up into well adjusted adults who would flourish and thrive in the future.

Most Schools and parents together end up doing exactly the opposite. Pushing children into slots created from the mind-sets and experiences of the past, they cast them into wrong shapes for the future.

The reality is that ” “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist,
Using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” As stated by the education secretary of the US in times of Bill Clinton.

Even in traditional roles, teachers and parents can sometimes not visualise the future potential of learners before them.

The British scientist who won the Nobel Prize for medicine this year (2012) was told as a 15-year-old schoolboy that a career in science was “ridiculous”. He has won this year’s Nobel prize in medicine for his pioneering work in cloning and stem cells published in 1962. Sir John Gurdon, 79, of Cambridge University was the first person to clone an animal from a single cell and in doing so ignited a slow fuse on the long development of stem cell technology which promises to revolutionise medicine in the 21st Century.Despite a school report suggesting that he should avoid studying science, Sir John said that he owes a great debt of gratitude to the UK for supporting basic scientific research that at the time had no obvious use other than the advance of knowledge. “The work I was involved in had no obvious therapeutic benefit. It was purely of scientific interest. I hope the country will continue to support basic research even though it may have no obvious practical value,” Sir John said.
Einstein was slow in learning how to speak. His parents even consulted a doctor. He also had a cheeky rebelliousness toward authority, which led one headmaster to expel him and another to amuse history by saying that he would never amount to much. But these traits helped make him a genius. His cocky contempt for authority led him to question conventional wisdom. His slow verbal development made him curious about ordinary things — such as space and time — that most adults take for granted. His father gave him a compass at age five, and he puzzled over the nature of a magnetic field for the rest of his life. And he tended to think in pictures rather than words.
When the Nobel Laureate in Physics Rabi was asked what made him a Scientist, he did not give the credit to his Science Teacher or the Science Lab, but to his mother, who encouraged him everyday to ask a ‘ good’ question.

In a recent talk on TED, Neuroscientist Beau Lotto suggests that Science and children’s play have much in common, and that all kids including his 12 year old student Amy O’Toole can do Science.

Life is not about Science only and it is liberal thought, humanities and philosophical dispositions which must also be nurtured in children. When we talk about preserving biological diversity, spending huge amounts in preserving tigers, why do we encourage a desert in learning with the goal for our best children being coaching for IIT, studying at an IIT , then belling the CAT to an IIM then a good job in a multinational. But here comes the ‘ Kim ascharyam’ which the yaksha asks Yudhishtira in the Mahabharata. Having done this path we don’t want our children to be the Rajat Gupta’s or the Tewari of IIT fame, much less the Shilling and Ted Cryzinski of Harvard fame. But we forget Kabir who said ‘ Boya Peda Babool Ka, toh Adam kahan se hoye’.

And several hundred years ago Shakespeare had put it beautifully in Hamlet in Polonius’s farewell speech to his son Laertes ” and above all, to thine own self be true…..

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About mmpant

Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation. Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s. He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era.. Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada. He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published. During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management). With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT” Prof. Pant is presently; • Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education. • Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan • Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education • Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT • Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training • Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education. Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ; • Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms) • One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University • Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government. • Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.
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