21st Century Education: Classroom as a synergistic anarchist affinity community

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men’s weapons
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:e
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and the people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

– Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)

We hope for an increase in educators level of trust in the learners ability to run their own classroom atmosphere .

It means gradually handing over the control of content and context of the classroom session and be there to witness gratefully the classroom evolve beyond a central guru figure.

Almost all our schools have a competitive way of assessing learning.

The down points we have to bear with are:

a) Competition is demotivating for the slower learners, with all social peer circles readily waiting to judge and instill further inferiority complex. Worst case scenario being loss of life.

b) Competition is addictive for the faster learners, who would have gained all round knowledge and experience but are trapped in the race to get more marks.

Removal of hard competition and its replacement with periodic QnA sessions and informal discussion rounds and fun games would help us create a more SYNERGISTIC classroom.

To put simply, in a synergistic classroom, kids are more eager to help each other.

The assessment itself will be about winning the bigger real life games together as a class.

For example in a science class it would be about ensuring clean drinking water, fresh air and food to the learner in their neighborhood, or finding methods to fight malaria and common diseases, segregating wastes and recycling/downcycling, etc etc.

The question here is not, “How much do you KNOW and ANSWER?” but “How you can CONTRIBUTE?”!

Intellectually inclined learners can come up with better methods of conceptualizing and comprehending the learning. An artistically inclined learner can contribute by depicting the scientific stuff in a more beautiful way, the same can be communicated to the public in large by the those who are good at theatres/speaking.

In that case all the kids can learn from each other and create a positive peer to peer bonding.

It is important for us not to leave anyone out and label them as useless. There can be other activities in which they play a more central role.

In all these activities the ‘teacher’ consciously decide to be a facilitator even though there is a scope for doing a lot of things for them but they trust the kids and let them do stuff at their own pace. A little bit of nudge may be needed but not an order or command.

Because if the facilitator starts playing central role, then other kids are pushed to the sidelines and those who are at the sidelines wont participate and express fully. This will further propagate further passivation as now very few learners will feel free to take lead. Better for the facilitator to take just one part of a project and leave the rest for the kids to lead and be there only to help find answers.

The pace of the such an anarchist class one might be afraid will be very slow. But who is in a hurry anyways ?

All those who have hurried through their learning phase are mostly learning the same lessons the hard way during later stage of their life.

We have to overcome this race against syllabus and race for marks to establish a more synergistic classroom where the level of learning can be truly life long, self paced and pro-social.

The whole atmosphere would be a continuous celebration of knowing and not knowing, and further preparation for more celebration, why spoil the mood by pitching one participant with another ?

All of us have different lives to live so why not different syllabus to learn ?

Come together, form local learning groups online and offline, and celebrate knowing and doing instead of waiting for it to be judged by random numbers.

As we learn, unlearn and relearn

the ever evolving rules of nature, life and learning;

learn to love and live by mutual aid,

who needs masters and rulers ?




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