February 06, 2006

A self-driven approach towards learning

Challenging Certain Pedagogical Givens in MBA Education - K. Sankaran
The educational arena is where the most intangible, and yet the most powerful, of all resources (human knowledge) reconditions, redefines, recreates, and entirely reshapes human beings. And today’s educational efforts cannot be free from the techno-social context in which we operate. How do we prepare our students to take on the challenges in world where their values, cognitive means, thoughts and will are all being constantly shaped and defined by bionic men and women, cyber artefacts, object-oriented lingo, seamless communication, and unimaginably new forms of stimuli and response demands? Briefly, and most generally, we see three dominant forms of responses. Deliberately I draw the differences amongst them sharply to highlight the extreme points to view to drive the point home:
  • a) The first group of individuals responds to these changes with nostalgia towards the past and scorn towards the future. This fatalistic group may, typically, invoke theories of “Pralaya” to believe for themselves (and make efforts to convince others) the futility of human endeavour that has produced, and is producing, the kind of changes we are now being seized with.
  • b) The second response is one of scorn for the wisdom of the past. For this group all solutions of mankind would be technological. A corollary of such thinking is that human values are entirely contract-based, ethics is purely relativistic and technology shall emancipate humans.
  • c) The third typical response understands that we need to break from the past; a past that was conditioned by instincts of power grabbing, communication through rhetoric rather than reason, pandering to human fears and the justification of the use of force. It also admits that there are huge difficulties with most alternatives that have been conjured up by us, we humans. It admits of the limitations we have placed on ourselves, but ultimately believes that humans are transitional beings (Sri Aurobindo, 1952) with an evolutionary future in them.
It seems that responsible education should now shift focus from getting students to think, act and feel the “right” way, to seeking ways that will make students taking “ownership” for their education - A self-driven approach towards learning wherein the students feel deeply that is something in here (the university, college and the campus) that should be worked upon eagerly and passionately that will help him/her in life to be fuller and happier individuals and social beings. posted by Sankaran Sunday, February 05, 2006 at 3:58 PM

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