By Arya Datla
Imagine you wake up to a day not filled with derivates or integrals homework but with an assignment to be a cricket match instead. Sounds surreal doesn’t it, believe it or not, I was part of such a fascinating school, at least until the alarm rang. A school where the subject is optional does sound amazing to be a part of but is it beneficial.
Schools are designed to fuel and satiate curiosity and answer the questions that each of us has about all the things around us. However, while all of us are curious individuals the questions we have might be fundamentally different. I might want to know more about how to perfectly hit a goal halfway from the goal and you might want to find out why the EEIC set foot in India. These distinct questions would mean fundamentally different learning approaches need to be taken towards each individual.
However, I do understand the other side of things wherein the case may be made that students might not have a clear idea of subjects exactly interest them and could find other interests later on, especially when choices like these need to be made at a young age. So, the way the current education system deals with this issue is to make certain subjects obligatory in the primary years of education. The problem with this approach is that it focuses on only certain subjects for instance the natural sciences for instance in preference to subjects like a “second” language which subliminally steers them towards those subjects and away from others.
Instead of moving along with this rather antiquated approach that doesn’t reflect the sheer diversity of fields of study, a more efficient approach would be to let the learner first experience a variety of disparate subjects, however, just throwing a lot of subjects at the student isn’t going to help them in any way. It will perplex the student, even more, the right course of action would be to bundle these subjects into discrete categories and give a little more focus to those categories to that student, which is far more personalized as compared to the current education system. For instance, instead of arbitrary delving too deeply into the science and offering physics, chemistry and biology front on, what the school could do is if the student begins to show a little interest in geography or history, they could have those as their “primary” subjects instead later on in their preliminary secondary years. This ensures that if the student's interest were to change or he or she finds that his or her true interest lies elsewhere the other subjects are known to the learner adequately enough for them to switch their focus.
A school by definition is meant to provide an amenable ground for students to satiate their curiosity, constricting them to place a larger focus to learn about topics they aren’t interested in and not focus more on ones that they have core interest in fundamentally goes against the purpose of an education system, killing the passion for learning in the process.
“Being in your element is not only about aptitude, it’s about passion: it is about loving what you do...tapping into your energy and your most authentic self.”~ Sir Ken Robinson