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Children as Teachers September 13, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Culture, Desi Indian, Love and Life, Parenting, Women and Children.
Tags: , , , , ,

Last week, I was invited by a school near my place, to talk to the children about “Good writing,” as in, I suppose, writing that helps you score more marks.  The head of the institute after a few brain storming sessions with her staff members, came up and said that she was keen to make it a workshop kind of experience, spread over a few weeks, with every batch going through a 3-hour session. I liked the idea of interacting with children, though this was one of the firsts that I took upon myself with a little apprehension, as I found interacting with my own child, challenging at times.

On a sunny day, I got to meet my first batch of students from class seven.  They looked much more intense than I expected them to be, all too ready for this workshop experience, sending a few sweat beads down my forehead.  Some of the kids looked so terribly studious and serious, with their pens, and workbooks in place and thought they might defeat my avowed interest in making it a fun experience.

Just to break the ice, I decided to quiz them on what they’d like answers for, instead of thrusting my little writing experience on them, in slots labeled as “good” and “bad.”  I simply wanted to hear them out, and then share my thoughts on how to make writing “interesting.”  When I asked them to throw questions that they’d like answers for, there was absolute silence.  I prodded them with a few sample questions.  No response.  And then suddenly someone asked, “Can we write it and give it to you?” I said, “Sure, why not? Go ahead.”   When I got the entire bunch of responses, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Take a look at few of their responses.

“Will Rahul Gandhi come to our school?”

“Why is China called China?”

“If we are all going to die one day, why are people born everyday?”

“Should father and mother always have different views?”

“Which is the first word? When was it born?”

“Do satellites have enough fuel?”

“If God really punishes bad people, why are there so many bad people?”

“I like Sudha. But I hate Anusha. Can’t explain why.  Can you?”

“Do blind people smell colour?”

“I am scared of a few things.  Why am I scared?”

“Do aliens wear school uniforms?”

“Why is a space ship called a ship, when there is no water there?”

“If class rooms are as big as movie theatres, can I sit in the last row?”

“When I am sad, why isn’t anyone talking to me?”

And lot more interesting and thought-provoking ones. I learnt quite a bit, just listening to them, and trying to answer their questions, rather than making them listen to what I had to say –  I would’ve only ended up adding horse blinders to their view of the world.

I wish our system encourages teachers and parents to give our children this space to just BE. Because, I was amazed at how close these kids were to God, and they can simply excel, if only we allowed them to tread their own paths.



1. paddy - September 17, 2010

Amazing Qs. No easy answers for many of them. But what is intriguing is that they chose to write it on a paper rather than asking aloud in the class. What could this be due to ? Fear of being judged by what they ask ?…Or..

Gomathi Reddy - September 17, 2010

Must be the fear of getting curious and even expressing that, in a classroom setting. It was tough trying to make them understand that classes can be free of “keep quiet and listen” type of learning 🙂

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