Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)

When Hirsh and I left our Teach for India school for last time yesterday, our brilliant fellow Bhuvaneshwari said, “The kids have had so much fun with you guys these past three days! It’ll be hard to get them to focus on learning again.” I laughed and hugged her goodbye, pleased that I had been able to make her students happy during my time with them. As I reflect on my time with TFI, however, I am slightly troubled by her comments. During the entire time that Hirsh and I were with those kids, were they not learning? When I passed around the glow sticks and they used the plastic tube containers I was planning on tossing out to construct a tunnel that they then used to shoot the glow sticks through, wasn’t that learning? When they took the puzzle piece that I had used to make a ball and stuck their glow sticks together to form wands, butterflies, bracelets, handcuffs, and crowns, wasn’t that learning? Isn’t any chance to create, design, and engage a chance for learning? Isn’t any chance to practice freedom of thought and imagination a chance for learning? I don’t mean to suggest that my TFI fellow’s (and most people’s, I think) definition of learning is incorrect. Only incomplete. Perhaps we should open our definitions of education. Perhaps we shouldn’t make learning and schooling two separate words. Why don’t we incorporate more opportunities for creation into our method of schooling? During my time with the TFI students they may have had less schooling than normal, but I don’t think they engaged in any less learning.

I don’t think I did either. Those kids were so open. and eager. and loving. They loved so much. They gave me so much of their love. I’m so thankful for Bhuvaneshwari and her students’ generosity with their time and effort Our time together was an exchange of love, ideas, and broken English. Isn’t any chance for sharing and exchanging a chance for learning?