“We have all learned most of what we know outside school. Pupils do most of their learning without, and often despite, their teachers.”
I don’t know how many people will agree with the statements above. Ivan Illich wrote that 4 decades ago in his deservedly celebrated book, Deschooling Society. He argued that “Everyone learns how to live outside school. We learn to speak, to think, to love, to feel, to play, to curse, to politick and to work without interference from a teacher. Even children who are under a teacher’s care day and night are no exception to the rule.”
I am a teacher who has been working in an exclusively residential school for over a decade. I won’t disagree with Illich.
Of late, my mind which is normally logical is flooded with fantasies. The fantasies are all about a dream school that I would like to open.
A school where children will be free to bloom without constraints imposed by systems. Play, sleep, eat, and let children do what they like. Freedom to children.
No, I should correct it: freedom to children’s creativity.
Let the creativity unfold itself. The school will provide all the infrastructure required. The best teachers will be available for all those who ask questions about the stars beyond the horizon. Einstein’s theory of relativity and the carpenter’s skill will all be taught, provided the student demands it.
Thirst will be quenched. No hunger will go unfed.
If the hunger is for food, healthy food will be provided. If the hunger is for knowledge, the horizons will expand.
There’s no need to compel anything down the throats of anyone in the school. Thirst and hunger will determine what each individual student wants.
What each individual student is capable of will determine his/her horizon.
Teach yourself. Each student will learn that. Self-made people are the most successful people. Make yourself. We are here to help you to make yourself. No compulsions.
The only rule: no destruction.
The rule stated positively: Create, You are Born to Create.
Don’t confuse teaching with learning. Learning is your personal responsibility.
Grades and marks are no reflection of your achievement, let alone your potential. Hence you will get no grades or marks in this school. You decide your own grade. You create it.
Medical treatment is not healthcare.
The Taj Mahal was not built by any University-trained architect.
Social activism is not necessarily love for mankind.
Police does not necessarily mean security.
Military poise is not national security.
Success is not happiness.
Dear student, you are responsible for your own life. Only you are responsible for your own life.
Make it. If you want!