National Law University, New Delhi
Teaching and learning are naturally a joyful process. However, many a time, we as teachers fail to preserve this nature of education, and somehow succeed in making it a burden if not punishment. I am reminded of Tagore’s following words, ‘Thus the greatest of educations for which we came prepared is neglected, and we are made to lose our world to find a bagful of information instead. We rob the child of his earth to teach him geography, of language to teach him grammar. His hunger is for the Epic, but he is supplied with chronicles of facts and dates.’
In a classroom, we often are talking about stories rather than enjoying them, and in turn forcing the students to cram and emit those facts in the examination without absorbing and relishing them.
I think in my early career, I followed the same practice, but soon realized that stories, plays, and poems are a very potent means of conveying strong messages and information that relates to the world, individual human being, the society, and culture. These pieces of literature are meant to be enjoyed like delicious food, and nourishment would be a natural consequence that will follow without even our noticing. One of the best ways of teaching literary pieces that I have discovered along the way is to let the students imbibe the message through all possible sensory modes, and media, including paintings, music, movies. They have to mingle their creativity into these inputs and express themselves in a holistic way by producing skits and plays.
I hope that more teachers find ways to teach their students this way by immersing them into literature.