Just thought I’d share with you what we’ve got planned for this coming holidays. Every year we do something different and this year it’s going to be a focus on learning life lessons through introspection gleaned from literature. This was in a way inspired by the trajectory I’ve been on with regards to my views on what kids today need out of an education and that premise can be glimpsed in this article I wrote a few months ago. Check it out : Love Based Learning
Nowadays we see two kinds of problems when it comes to developing “thinking people”. First, children are not exposed to great literature. Second, they’re left to their own devices to interpret the multi-faceted layers of what they’re reading. Being children with a limited worldview they often do not have the scaffolding to make the most out of the literature they are reading.
Today after class I discussed with my Teaching Assistant the premise of this year’s Holiday Program. She was so surprised and asked me where I get such ideas from! Well, here’s the story. One of the stories we are using, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, was something she’d seen on the silver screen years ago when it came out. Recently in the plane back to Malaysia from Switzerland (how come my TA gets to go for European tour and I don’t?) she watched the movie again. She then realized there were so many beautiful lessons about life woven into the story – things that she did not see were there at all when she was a 15 year old teen.
I think it’s worth mentioning that my TA had been my student since she was 15 and is almost completing the traditional 7-year learning curve. She realized at that point that it was because of the other things she had learned over the years in our classes that she was able to appreciate the insights that allowed her to understand the creative morals and lessons embedded in that story. I cannot say the same for most adults I meet. A lot of people I come across cannot find deep meaning and lessons from the world around them. Our world does not lack answers to solve all its problems instantly; instead, we lack the CAPACITY to process and make sense out of things, to synthesize information and to apply them to our betterment.
We live in a fragmented, segregated world and the way our children have been schooled, in fact, the way WE have been schooled, is a big cause of this kind of piece-meal, myopic, narrow-minded, thinking that cannot dissolve the world’s problems – not even our own. Where do we begin to change?
We cannot attempt more lessons, more learning, more repetition, more hard work. We have been working harder, faster, more but we’re not necessarily getting anywhere. As Einstein put it,
“Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge.”
Perhaps that’s our clue.
Perhaps that’s where our children can start : with Imagination. And children being children one stroke of inspiration, one week of memories, can end up serving them as a guide for years to come. We know they’re not going to get this experience in school – we might as well try and create some context to give them a taste of living and learning in Imagination and Empathy.
Well, just thought I’d share my feelings about why I do what I do with you. If you’d like to participate just drop a comment. Oh, by the way, that poster’s just for show – that’s the printed out that goes out. Here’s the online version :
p/s I would be running (yes, this time, not hosting) another FREE talk for parents on the issue of language learning, future of education, etc. Date TBA. If you’re interested, send in questions you’d like answers to so we can include it in the presentation.