A Blank Slate

The “blank slate” view of human development by Locke and Rousseau, where the idea is that a child is born completely free of any disposition or vulnerabilities, and that everything a child would become is due to the effects of the environment, though has been completely discredited today, it is important to remember that families, communities, peers, schools, culture, and parents have at LEAST an equal part of making us who we are, even if Rousseau was wrong. Given the role of all these people and institutions in the shaping up of a child, Education plays the most crucial and important role in determining the ‘future’ of the child.
A “blank slate” implies that babies are born with infinite possibilities. In the “education” sector the most important issue is to understand the psyche of the student and with theories like the “blank slate” around it becomes even more an issue of vital importance to perceive the child as one with “infinite possibilities”. But are the Indian schools able to cater to the needs of students? Do the teachers suffice completely in fulfilling their roles? Or is it the scenario of a child sitting with a blank slate in his/her hands in front of a blackboard and returning home with loads of homework and nothing written on ‘their’ blank slates? Sadly, all these questions are in a way rhetorical.
Even after concepts like child-centric education, learning while experiencing, learn through co-curricular activities, etc. schools somehow fall short to completely cater to the needs of the students. Even today students are not given the freedom to learn while creating. Shuffling aside these worthy concepts inside books-to-read, all the students are made to go through the ‘same’ learning process ignoring their likes and capabilities. Students have to bear the baggage of ‘performing’ placing them all under the same category, i.e. with no consideration of their being different from others. The ‘paradox of pushing kids to succeed’ is so burdening that their natural talent and an inherent capacity to create the ‘new’ is getting curbed.
We’ve had many great ideas to improve the educational system, but if we dig deep into our educational system, we will find that these concepts are mere concepts ONLY. It’s the need of our children to see a sunshine that brightens up their learning experience with such an efficient educational system that does not just ‘talk’ of concepts, rather one that ‘follows’ these concepts. Probably only then will come a day when students would not return home empty/blank-slated, but being Enlightened.

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