ArutkuRal on Child Education-3

Dear Friends,

Let us recall what has already been said. We have shown that the psyche  is distinct and that what we call MIND is in fact the the psyche functioning with the cognitive mechanisms of manam , buddhi ahangkaaram and siththam ( I have not still coined appropriate English terms for these concepts) . We also saw a similarity between Piaget and what has been discovered through ACCESS TESTING, that cognitive development consists in the progressive use these mental mechanisms in that order.  We also saw that there are biological as well as psychological factors that can impede the progressive use of these mental mechanisms. While as educationist we can't do much about the biological factors that underlies mental retardation and so forth, certainly we can do something both as parents and teachers to remedy and if possible avoid the psychological wounding that may discourage  the child with engaging itself with these cognitive tools and thus impede  learning as such.

Now we shall take up the issue of ACCELERATING the cognitive development and see what can be done about it. It must be recalled here that Piaget did not condone such studies for he thought that cognitive development is maturational and hence biological. The various stages of development are the SAME throughout the world no matter what the cultural ethnic and other differences. However we should note here that wqhile the stages of development may be the same,  the AGES of ONSET vary widely with culturally impoverished children  recording late ages. The acceleration studies are concerned with lowering the agesof  onset so that a  child becomes as quickly as possible Formal Operational in thinking or in  terms of Agamic Psychology, a user of the mental mechanism of Siththam.

A child can graduate from the stage of  sensory operations i.e. the use of manam when only its' functioning is not impoverised and it is exercised maximally so that cognitive conflicts of various kinds surface in the understanding of the child. The Buddhi emerges only when contradictions are seen as contradictions and at this early stage it is concerned with invariance concepts. The manam -child does not see a contradiction when 5 sticks put together is more  when spread apart. The child cannot tear itself and ISOLATE  mentally the quantity as distinct from the appearances. Thus such  sensorial inputs where invariance has to be noted must be dished out for the child to experience and through that FORCED to reflect upon the contradictions.

        Ѹ ɦ
        Ȣ Ȣ 

        aimpula nukarccikku aavan ceyka paalar
        poRipula vaRiveeppOR Ruvar

The educational activities and the gentle question of the child must be such that, sensorial experiences result in contradictions related to invariance concepts and the child is make to NOTE them and REFLECT on them. Unless the child is made to reflect on his OWN, the Buddhi  that lies beneath still unmanifest, will not be forced out to be active an  element of the mind of the child.

Another, also central in child-centered education is that,  a child  must be allowed to face these contradictions within himself and encouraged to  struggle to solve them. There must be maximum freedom given to the child to ACT ON HIS OWN and through that face contradictions of this sort in his sensorial commerce.

        Ȣ ɧ Ȣ
        Ȣ Ƣ¿ ¢

        thaanceythu thaanaRiwthu thanaiyeeth  thaanaRiya
        paanaRivu vaziyeenaR payirppu

This is also important in conjunction with activating ahangkaaram, the self awareness producing mechanism that emerges mainly in social conflicts with siblings and friends. However when the child is allowed to ACT on his OWN, he begins to see himself as agent who through acts of various kinds can bring about CHANGES in the physical and social environment that would satisfy his needs.  Success and failures in  the actions of self brings about self awareness.

When Buddhi is maximally activated and the fantasies are enjoyed immensely, only then the need to be REALISTIC in thinking will emerge and along with it the functioning of Siththam, that which underlies the birth of thinking reasoning etc. But how  to activate the Buddhi so that    the need to go beyond emerges from within? It is here that Play, Music Dance Fables and such other stories play a significant role.

        츢 ȢŢ

        aadalodu paadalkaL athidsayak kathaikaL
        aarvamuukki aRivinaip perukkum

        Ƣ Ǣ

        isayin mayangki inbangkaaN kuzanthaikku
        isaivazi eLithaam paadam

Play music  and dance along with fabulous stories fires the imagination and allows the active exercise of Buddhi and hence the immense interest  the children around the age of  4 and thereabouts show towards them. This must be maximally allowed so that there is  a vast repertoire of such imaginative stuff in the mind of the  child and which will be gradually realized as  UNREALISTIC and hence cannot serve the PRACTICAL ends.

        It is at this point that practical tasks that demand REASONING for attaining SUCCESS must be introduced in concrete forms. For example  a task  such as building a house with wooden blocks requires REASONING, what to put first and what not , a sequentia order l in building up etc . There must be a lot of such PRACTICAL activities in which a child is allowed to fail and at the  same time encouraged to try again and  again till success is attained.


        eduththathu mudikkum iyalbinai kuzanthaikadku
        iLamaiyiR pukuththal eeRRam

        The focus at this stage of development must be the strengthening of the WILL to succeed, a desire to taste SUCCESS in whatever one undertakes to accomplish. The educational environment at home and school must achievement oriented in tasks that demand thinking and reasoning  to succeed. Once a child reasons out concretely in such tasks the transition to become ABSTRACT in thinking will be quick and natural.