• Blog By
    Ms. Piyali Basu Kar
    Academic Director
    The Indian Public School
    May 9, 2020 | In Blog

This was one of my favourite writing prompts to get into the world of children in my language classroom. Stepping out of my own comfort zone and breaking the code of dreary activities help me negotiate with another level of reality. Journey through “What if…….” can be an amazing experience; only through it we learn. Their spontaneity and response to the activity often remained unadulterated, pure and profound, though this may sound silly for a rationalist.

For how long do you think 2+2 = 4 can set a reason for a child to come to school? Can it really build an aspiration for learning? What do they look for? Shel Silverstein, a celebrated author, asking the basics of life:

Children are incredibly empowered to create alternate realities to cope with everyday complexities of life. They are unstoppable at times. They can be mischievous, scheming and artful to survive through.

There are writers who are blessed to read the mind of children and they silently confer young ones with invisible wings to authorize them to create an alternative path. Children love to chase another reality, travel to the land they belong to, to celebrate their authentic self.

The most nonsense things make a lot of sense to them which sometimes challenges grownups to accept.

What did you ask at school today?

They have astounding abilities to question life and they get hooked to those authors who lead them to ask the most profound questions about life by using a wide range of tools.

Making sense of nonsense poems and writings demands imagination and higher order thinking to appreciate the subtle humour with intensity. Children are born with that talent. It is our responsibility to nurture that trait and make these fine tools of expression available to them.

We can surely name here, Edward Lear, Edgar Allen Poe, Shel Silverstein and Sukumar Roy without fail.

They love teachers who allow them to experiment, to build their own perceptions without fear, to ask any question beyond the frontier of syllabus, to speak their mind without the notions of right and wrong, to sing their own songs, to write their own stories in their own words, to take pride in whatever they love to explore, to catch their dreams in a jar, to watch them grow. Teachers are celebrated when they understand that the fine balance children play with is a strange combination of absurd ideas and reality. The most absurd has the power to transform the real world.

The bucks stops here.

As the head master says in Tottochan,

“Down through the ages and in the whole world, Watt and Newton cannot have been the only ones to notice the steam from a boiling kettle or observe an apple fall. Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire.”

Are we able schools to bridge the gap between social aspiration and a child’s aspiration to take an alternate path to ask the most meaningful questions and transform the world?

How can we build resilience in the community to allow a child to live with questions as the Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman said:

“What if…………” we examine the questions they bring and not the answers.

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