Importance of ‘I’ in Education

I was listening to a talk on ‘Literacy in Multilingual India’, organized by my current employer ‘Room to Read, India’. In this post I share random thoughts that struck me while I listened to the speaker.

Thoughts that struck me about literacy that day: Reading and writing draws from what we already possess in our oral language. Oral language is derived from our cultural, community and family context. The question of larger literacy in multilingual context of India thus becomes all the more complex.

My thoughts about myself ‘that’ day:

“I’m a learner, never am I what I learn.”

I can watch myself learn, I can watch myself enjoy learning. I can observe my confusions; I can watch my joy, my misery. My transcendence from one experience/memory/learning to the other is like me changing backdrops of the stage. As the backdrop changes, intention changes, the thought changes, the colour changes, the smell changes, the experience changes. As an ‘experiencer’ I define what I experience and vice versa.

My education, my understanding of myself or my self-awareness, my comprehension of my existence, my intention, my frame of thought, my scope of mind are all defined by me! Language and literacy help me to decode my experience into knowledge and let it be available for communication and transmission.

‘I’ is important! When this is educated, language is a great empowerment. The whole crux of education is this ‘I’. Literacy and language have to be looked into this context where the focus is on the one who’s the ‘experiencer’ and not the one who can be taught!

Thus the education I want to work on is the one that focusses on empowering the person, bringing self-awareness and bringing the awareness of collective existence. With awareness, comes capacity. Language and literacy is both a means to create and enhance experience and awareness. Quality of language and literacy is also an outcome of the richness of experience and the enhancement of awareness.

My experience of my language: The experience of a language is purely emotional. Richness of emotional bearing, richness of experiential bearing is important for the richness of language. That’s why culture defines language and vice versa. Language thus becomes an important aspect of emotional character and thus the skills of literacy and language become an important aspect of an individual’s core-involvement in a work or a life context.

Language is very important for experiencing what you are experiencing, otherwise you would experience without knowing what you are experiencing. Literacy and quality of literacy is as important as art and architecture in defining the intellectual capital of a learning community, in defining the awareness construct of a community and in defining the greatness of a civilisation.

By Venus Upadhayaya, researcher @The Heart Tree, Fellow @ the National School of Leadership