Don’t kill a child’s curiosity, Sonam Wangchuk advises teachers, parents
More than the artificial intelligence, we need to work developing the basic intelligence in the human beings today, said noted education reformist, innovator and engineer, Sonam Wangchuk, who inspired Aamir Khan’s character in Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots.
Wangchuk, who was in Lucknow as chief guest of the 14th National Conference IIC 2020 at Jaipuria Institute of Management (JIM) on Friday, said forcing children to maintain pin-drop silence in classroom was like killing child’s curiosity and his inquisitiveness.
Interacting with students at Seth MR Jaipuria School, he spoke on wide range of issues.
On his early life
“I grew up in a tiny village of Ladakh situated beyond mountains where roads remain blocked for seven months in a year. There was no school in my village so I had no formal education till the age of nine. Having no school makes a child learn from himself or through parents. I was lucky to be taught by my mother in my own Ladakhi mother tongue. Whole world became my classroom. I learnt from farmers to my family members. While I grew up learning one language, today I can speak 8-9 languages,” he said.
He said, “Nobody killed my curiosity. As it was kept alive, I learnt many things. Curiosity is a software in a child installed by nature. We have seen kitten jumping over its mother’s tail. The kitten is not playing. Instead he is doing serious business as its mother cat teaches it to develop skills.”
Went to school at age of 9
“I went to school at the age of 9 when an over-caring uncle took me to another village for my formal education. My self-driven studies helped me to learn things faster as compared to other students enrolled in the class,” said Wangchuk. He sent out a strong message to students: “To wrest initiative and take part when opportunity comes to your way. Action leads to experience and experience of doing something gives us confidence and leads to success.”
Importance of lively classroom
Children are often forced to maintain pin-drop silence in classroom by their teachers. By doing so all their energies, physical, spiritual, and emotional, are curbed in such a setting where he/she is bound to get demotivated. In the contrary children should be encouraged to ask questions. Let’s not kill child’s curiosity.
Funded his own engineering teaching
Wangchuk did not take a penny from his parents to pursue his engineering degree. Instead he started teaching class 10 students that gave him an opportunity to learn and revisit what was taught to him in class. “When you teach someone, you got to be thorough. It helped me to rediscover myself. I found school just played with brain part and helped students only in reading, writing and arithmetic,” he said.
True meaning of education
Perfect schooling should have three ingredients, head, hand and heart. Skilled hand and bright head alone are not enough until you develop a kind heart that is ready to help and never do any harm. For instance, those who are engaged into pick pocketing are equally good in head and hand. They take away your purse and booty without you even realising it. He regretted that most schools today talk about head and focus less on making skilled hand and developing kind heart among kids.
Grandparents are highly knowledgeable
“If our life is a syllabus, modern day students are way behind in it. Our children should always look up to their grandparents, who may not have formal education but they carry treasure trove of knowledge. They must also think beyond self. In today’s time we need more of basic intelligence than artificial intelligence,” he said.
He said, “Innovation can’t happen where you are not allowed to make mistake. Thinking of our parents and elders needs to be changed for they should accept their child even if they fail at some point of time. Taking initiative is the success mantra in life. An initiative must be original. Children should be exposed to everything and let them take a call what career they want to pursue. I grew up in a place where innovation was all around and without it, life wouldn’t have been possible.”