In 2017, my friend and I organized a summer camp for kids aged 4 to 12 years. It was a wonderful experience, to say the least. Kids are proactive, genuine, enthusiastic beings, and to dwell in activities with them made me cherish my childhood days.
In the camp, we kept all kinds of materials for kids like puzzles, paints, quilling tools, 3-D designers, cup block, threading tools, storybooks, chess, twister, and other games. Moreover, we encouraged kids to ask for anything they wanted, in order to make, play, build, or break, and we’ll be happy to provide resources for their curiosity. What do you expect kids to do usually when they’re left free?
Kids jump, run, make, draw, erase, create, play etc., isn’t it?
So, when the kids came in, I told them that they can do whatever they want to, anything and everything. We also told the same to the parent(s) who inquired. Like, one of the parents said that she wants her kids to give their introduction in English after the Summer Camp. I clearly told her that the Summer Camp is not for kids to learn what we teach, but for kids to explore whatever they want to, on their own. Nobody is going to teach them or stop them — it’s just that they don’t disturb/harm any other kid.
However, something poignant happened. When kids came in, and I asked them to make use of paints, thread, games, etc. and do whatever they want to, they looked very confused. It took me a while to figure out though, that they expected us to INSTRUCT them. It hit me like a lightning, and I felt utterly terrible. What have we done to these little souls!
The idea that kids need someone to tell them, to instruct them deprives them of the chance to use their own creativity. Their critical thinking and imaginative potential are eventually murdered, and they turn into robots wherein we need to feed data for the robot to function, and produce high-quality output in the form of exam results.
Slowly, we have made our kids believe that they are not capable of doing something on their own independently.
We have brutally murdered self-led learning in kids, and killed all / any sort of creativity.
Our very belief that kids need force and instruction to learn has led us to grow kids who really can’t think on their own.
And, we have build institutions (schools, in them we so firmly believe) which are constantly doing the same with not even an ounce of shame or rue.
PS: And, we’re so proud that we’re giving our child the best “Education” through the best “Schools”. Irony?