CHENNAI : A school should become a place where a student can learn how to be happy, how to look at one’s fears and be free of it, how to care for others and their surroundings and how to be of help to others,” said Sonal Murali, an expert in Transformative Education from The Theosophical Society, Chennai while delivering a seminar on Transformative Education at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) on Wednesday.
She said that schools have become a contrived environment and end up being a microcosm of the world outside due to self-centeredness, growing individuality, lack of care and concern for others, fear, comparison, and graded system. “Schools are no longer about what they are doing to the child but what facilities they are offering. Two centuries ago there was only one school for a few villages and schools were the watering holes for the culture of traditional communities and were an integral part of the community,” she said.
Sonal Murali emphasised the Reggio Emilia approach — that a child is the active constructor of knowledge and not the target of instruction while also stressing that when a child plays, it has to be taken seriously. “Play has to be taken seriously and although no formal learning is done in those years, a lot of real learning takes place at subliminal levels,” she said.
Transformative Education, she explained, is a constantly evolving, dynamic principle that inculcates the child and their interaction with the world. Prof MS Swaminathan, the founder of MSSRF was also present during the seminar that was attended by scientists, researchers, students, and MSSRF staff.