Three things that never come back: the harsh word, the spent arrow and the lost opportunity.
EDUCATION FOR LIFE
A good life means: physically and mentally healthy life, good relationships and most important, an enjoyable career where you have great chance to excel, be a leader & be well paid.
If you do not plan now, when you have the chance in school life, you will be forced to get admission to the local or low grade institutions of Lucknow or India after class twelfth, where admission is easy but there is poor preparation for careers and limited choices. If you pass out from poor quality colleges / universities, the salary as per current rates is 4 to 6 lakhs per year in 2-3 years of passing. By low grade is meant, institutions who do not care for their students, classrooms are overcrowded, facilities are poor, teachers are low paid, school leadership is poor or dishonest, owners are not focused on the best development of students, etc.
The better colleges / universities admit on the basis of all round strong personality, care for the students – train them well for careers, teachers are well paid, school leadership is strong and honest, etc. The top hundred best in the world are outside India. The next hundred include IITs and a few others ranked about 140 to 150. But the admission to these are solely based on one aspect of your personality – mental ability and competition that ranks children. Those students who want to take this route, as it is very popular in the city, for them, the school is tying up with a coaching institute for special arrangements.For children passing from these institutions, the salaries can be about 15 lakhs per year within 2 to 3 years of getting employment. As for admissions to IIT, for example, if 100 children apply for IIT, generally only one gets in.
For those children, who think that they have other strong personality characteristics or personal potentials, which are actually more suitable to modern work environment of the future – like five skills, courage, guts, resilience, mental strength for thinking-learning-research, who want greater flexibility in choosing courses and careers, they can seek to get into top 300 hundred universities of the world. In the top universities you have flexibility of studies: you can change your courses midway in most cases as you discover more about yourself. For this and the upcoming new private universities in India, which will admit you and may give scholarships on the basis of your CV, your outstanding record of skills, services, co-curricular activities, hobbies, projects,etc. And your report and personal interview. If the students are outstanding, because of your school’s outstanding educational program and opportunities for outstanding development plus your efforts, then the universities will take you and very likely, offer scholarships. We have already appointed an international consultancy for guiding students for admission to top universities / colleges of India and the world. Students passing from the top universities shall command salaries between 25 lakhs to 100 lakhs per year, depending on their school school and university record.
For admission for top universities, the school has made special arrangements for enriching the personality of the child & CV, as is required – providing CAS opportunities (Creativity, Action, Service). The CAS guideline booklet is enclosed. Children class XII can start during the summer vacation and finish by September, before the admission process starts. In fact students right from class IX to class XII can take up team based CAS projects. Exceptional projects and making real difference to the world will make you outstanding and enable you for university’s consideration.
Right from the day the school was founded in 1979 it had these Vidyatree Modern goals:
- Learning without cramming
- Excellence without stress
- Discipline without fear
- Empathy without conditions
The first two statements above, aim at stress free learning and love for learning – for this the teachers have been regularly trained in numerous modern methods and best teaching practices, which create stress free learning in the classroom. One of the most important teaching modules has been the book ‘Mathematician’s Delight’.
The ‘Mathematician’s Delight’, though primarily focussed on Mathematics, talks about stress free learning, creating interest, understanding and confidence among children for all subjects. Vidyatree Modern World College, has been that rare school where most students were never afraid of learning mathematics, and in fact mathematics has been one of the favourite subjects for a majority of students.
The second two statements above aim at stress free relations between the teachers and the students. For this the teachers and the students are oriented through various activities, specifically: imbibing the meaning of the morning prayer, Vipassana meditation, class agreements, student participation in school administration through the house system and understanding the educational approach of Carl Rogers.
Freedom from chronic stress in learning and chronic stress in relationships, has created a very positive and nurturing environment for children at VMWC. This environment has directly resulted in a high self confidence and high resilience among all students.
The credit for the Vidyatree Modern goals goes to the founder’s teacher Shri J Krishnamurti (1895-1986), a leading neo-Buddhist of 20th century, who taught in the Samkhya tradition as of Patanjali’s Yogasutra. The founder of the school Shri Rakesh Kapoor also wrote a book on Yogasutra, called ’Total Presence of Mind’, (Rupa, India, 2005) which has been endorsed by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
The school has been always been very progressive, adopting the best and latest in the world of education, always endeavoring to do the best for student development. VMWC students have always achieved very good ISC results and have settled well in life – generally in leading positions in businesses and organisations.
In the continuous desire to do better for children’s development, the founder came across the International Baccalaureate (IB) educational system which closely aligned with the Vidyatree educational system. More and more leading schools in India are getting authorised for this educational system, headquartered at Geneva.
With just 25 students per class, the IB program with its unique inquiry based learning methodology aims at a more systematic and intensive approach to building lifetime capacities in children – including five skills (research skills, self learning, independent thinking, social skills, communication skills & self management skills); it also aims at building ten attributes (inquirer, knowledgeable, thinker, communicator, principled, open-minded, caring, courageous, balanced, and reflective).
The IB program strengthens the Vidyatree program’s goals and makes it more systematic. Additionally the continuous development of teachers through international training, creative lesson planning, individual attention methods and continuous supervision, makes for best possible teaching-learning. It provides a more intensive framework for stress free learning, love for learning, stress free relationships and no fear of any subject. The mission of ‘Education for Life’, is being more systematically and intensively carried out for each child, because just 25 students per class, large rooms, better facilities and use of latest technology in teaching, learning and its supervision.
Please see the list of top schools in India opting for IB at www.ibo.org
VMWC is currently authorized for the IBPYP and hopes to also implement the IBDP, as soon as finances allow, though ICSE and ISC shall continue to run.
Vidyatree Foundation had got done a research on ‘Stress among school going children’, in 2015, under the supervision of Dr. Vivek Agarwal MD, Professor, Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, King George Medical University, Lucknow. The research was done among school going children in the city of Lucknow and also among students of VMWC who study in the IB Program. This documented research is very important in showcasing reasons regarding what makes VMWC teachers and teaching superior and the development of VMWC children superior than most other schools.
Time is of two kinds. The real time and the psychological time.
Real time that is termed as objective time can be understood by following examples:
- The tea was served hot fifteen minutes ago and has now become cold.
- He was born in 1856 and died in 1934.
- Over the years my body muscles have become stronger.
- Due to compound interest, my money will be doubled in five years.
Psychological time that is termed as subjective time can be understood by following examples:
- I will feel happier if I have that dress to wear.
- I will be happier if I become richer.
- The presence of a particular person in the meeting will put me off.
- Whenever I am alone, I miss the company of a friend who died long ago.
Real time is always changing things, people and situations.
Psychological time is a set of accumulated fixations or dissatisfaction with the experience of the present moment.
Mindfulness is about freeing the mind of all psychological / subjective time. Subjective time is the source of unhappiness. The accumulated experiences, fixations and conditionings distort our perceptions of self’s relations to the world. The result is inaccurate understanding of life’s terrain and we fall into all kinds of self-made traps and holes. These falls or conflicts with reality cause unhappiness. Mindfulness and emptying the mind of conditionings prevent unhappiness and lead to more significant life.
BA (English), M Ed, Certified Organizational Coach (Columbia)
Samkhya Yoga – Dhyan teacher
Education: as per the ancient traditions, both Indian and Western, is about development of human beings. School education is about development of children ranging approximately from 3 years to 18 years of ages. The children are to be developed for life long benefit: They must be nurtured to inculcate desired skills, attributes, attitudes, essential knowledge and abilities to be physically and mentally fit.
Curriculum: It is the totality of school culture, attributes that need to be developed in a child and our educational culture. These result in great independence and self confidence in children, ability to excel in their chosen way of life, freedom from intrinsic fear and a capacity for empathic relationships.
Vidyatree curriculum has four major aspects:
- Learning without cramming, that is learning which is real and not imitation;
- Excellence without stress that is children must learn that to do their best is the most reasonable attitude for living a happy and good life;
- Discipline without fear that is the skills of self-management is more desirable, rather than being driven by others, out of fear of punishment or deprivation of rewards;
- Relationships without condition, that is to live a mindful life so that one’s relationships with others and self are unconditional and intrinsic.
Additionally, from classes Nursery to Fifth, we have the International Baccalaureate (IB) program which is one of the best educational curriculum in the world. It is well structured and well designed, and focuses on developing the following:
- Five skills: Communication, Independent thinking, Research, Social relations & Self- management.
- Ten attributes: Inquirer, Thinker, Principled, Knowledgeable, Caring, Open-minded, Balanced, Reflective, Courageous and Communicator
- Twelve attitudes: Appreciation, Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation, Creativity, Curiosity, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Independence, Integrity, Respect and Tolerance
- Knowledge of traditional subjects, including music, dramatics, sports, Yoga, mindfulness, dance. The above are taught as part of the planned curriculum, the taught curriculum and the assessed curriculum. There is also detailed guidance on scope of knowledge, methodology and teacher training.
The current so called system of education in India was mostly designed by the British colonialists in about 1830s. Their idea was to prepare the common citizens to become clerks for serving the British Empire. The skills, attitudes & attributes that are sought to be taught are minimal. Memorising, handwriting, essay writing, disrespect for our own culture, traditions & spiritual foundations. The aim was to create an identity and skill set loyal to the British & their empire. Such schools, had even up to sixty students per class and the schools were mainly responsible for defining a knowledge syllabus and testing and presenting a report card. The schools were not responsible to ensure that even the diluted version of education that they were imparting, is taught in the school – the parents or tuition teacher had to teach them to the children. In fact at the time of admission, the parents were asked, if they could teach the prescribed knowledge and minimal skills at home and only if they confirmed, the child was admitted. The curriculum’s essential aspects were: communication skills in English language and how to do self-marketing / self-branding. There may or may not be a significant quantity of extra-curricular activities. The students learnt to look down upon the rest of the countrymen -the local people, their culture, habits, behaviour and even spirituality was considered to be inferior They were perfect servants of the Western world and most of them wanted to emigrate to the Western world after independence of India.
BA (English), M Ed, Certified Organizational Coach (Columbia)
Samkhya Yoga – Dhyan teacher
There are various teaching learning processes practised in schools. Some of these impart imitation learning and others a real learning.
Imitation learning occurs when the child does not understand the concept as it is and so cannot apply learning to other processes and systems of life. Imitation learning is for pretending to know enough to fool the examiner, so that an examination is passed. Imitation learning aims for a specific exam success. It is half baked knowledge, forgotten after the exam. Imitation learning is fictitious empowerment, without having the real strength.
Real learning is development of skills, independence of thinking and new learning with initiative for enquiry, responsibility, self-management and social skills as parts of the design of the curriculum. Real learning involves all the senses and links the words in the book with the real life experiments, models, activities etc. It is the building of understanding, skills and attitudes which is genuine empowerment of the child for lifelong success. Real learning is education for life.
An example of imitation learning:
The teacher teaches the concept of oxidation to grade VII. She orally tells and writes the definition of oxidation on the blackboard. Then the conditions for its happening are told by the teacher and the chemical equation and its variations are dictated. After that the exam date is given. The child memorises the same and scores marks according to the degree of accuracy of reproduction of crammed concept on the answer sheet. The child has been taught only for covering syllabus & passing exams. The child learns to be fearful of exams and the subject, because it is a situation of a deaf & dumb person who is taught to play piano. He understands nothing about good music, memorises the same, but is full of anxiety about notes going wrong.
An example of real learning:
The teacher writes the word ‘oxidation’ on the blackboard and cuts an apple into two halves and puts it on her table. Soon the apple gets a brown coating. The teacher points this fact to the children and says that this is oxidation. In this way she gives evidence of oxidation to the child’s senses of knowing (gyanindiryan in Sanskrit). Then she indicates that the word oxidation has something to do with oxygen and asks what it could be. She arouses curiosity and arrests the children’s attention & interest in the topic. Then she asks which element is present in apple and then discusses the chemical equation of oxidation. She draws students’ attention to a rusted nail and shows the brown powdery substance i.e. iron oxide. The exploration of the topic veers towards what could be done to prevent oxidation, what could be other examples of oxidation, etc. The lesson ends with the HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) questions for research & experimentation e.g. ‘Find four different ways to prevent oxidation of apple different metals by exposure to atmosphere.’ The child thus learns the process of Oxidation, not only for exams, but for life. As he understands the topic, he learns it without parrot learning or cramming. He learns to enjoy learning, becomes creative and enterprising and gains confidence to learn on his own.
The process of learning can be transmitted to all issues of life throughout life. When the words learnt are connected to real experiences, there is no linguistic insanity. Words and evidence are connected. Thus there is no stress of cramming without understanding. In this way, learning is without any imposition and is a natural process. On growing up the child will be an independent thinker, enterprising, self-confident, discoverer, inventor and creator. He will not lose heart after any failure but will analyse the reasons and move on with new plan of action. Vidyatree & IB programs aim at education for life.