Rethinking Foundation based on
how illiterates learn the REAL WORLD
THE PROCESS OF KNOWING
The forgotten biological factor that enables the creation and continuation of cultures
Literates learn the WORD; illiterates learn the WORLD!
Exploring how early schooling and literacy damage the natural cognitive system meant for learning the world.
Learning is the very basis on which life exists. All living beings are cognitive beings and are all involved in learning and self-transforming. "Teaching' is a fairly new invention by human beings after the introduction of literacy. As time went by human beings began to learn the WORD instead of the WORLD.
Teaching as well as the focus on literacy totally changed the process as well as the content of learning. Learning readymade 'knowledge' by removing the process of creation of knowledge totally rewired the cognitive system. This rewires the cognitive process by making the text the cognitive source and reasoning the cognitive tool. Knowledge precedes the process of knowing! Dealing with certainty also kills the ability to be ambiguous and open, thus killing creativity. The school has become the main and organized site of destruction of the organic, eternal, universal, and contextual. Education is the activity by which modernity shifts the child's focus from the world to the word and from an organic way of being and knowing the world to a fragmented and structured way.
By externalizing knowledge, mechanizing the learning process, and institutionalizing the learning space modernity has created havoc on the consciousness of human beings which in turn has created havoc on earth. The ontological reversal of knowledge preceding the knowing process has alienated man from the very process of life and misunderstood the purpose of living itself.
Knowing is the process by the human beings transform themselves. Life gives the opportunity to man for his refinement of all qualities of what is the real potential of being human.
IMPACT OF SCHOOLING
Modern schooling is developed in response to the question 'of how to teach children. We have readymade knowledge; teachers filled with 'knowledge' and a designated space called schools where the teaching is to be done. Year after year children is brought here to be taught. But once we seriously ask 'how children learn' the whole structure will crumble. Teaching is conditioning, memorizing, and belief making
where as learning is awakening, exploring, and creating knowledge. Knowledge is the starting point in the teaching paradigm where as it is the result in the learning paradigm as a consequence of learning. Tools need for learning and creating knowledge are replaced with tools for storing de-contextualized, fragmented, and processed information, wrongly understood as knowledge. Senses, the most important tool for making sense of the world have no place in the current educational system. Once children go through schooling, due to the numbing of their senses, their creativity and sensitivity are lost. No amount of art education or moral stories will help children in regaining their natural and inherent possibilities.
'Schooled mind' or 'modernity' can be defined as the 'beingness' that got formed due to mediated learning using methods rather than direct, organic knowing, by using the mind rather than the whole being, by engaging with the description rather than the described.
This means the WORLD is replaced with the WORD, Experience is replaced with reading and thinking and the senses are replaced with the mind causing a fundamental rewiring of the cognitive tools, cognitive process, and cognitive source.
Learning is a word that got prominence due to the reduction of a total process in which the total being is formed. In fact, the word formation would be a more accurate word to describe what is happening to the child because the child automatically absorbs and imbibes the totality of the experience. In another sense 'learning' is really about self-transformation.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS OF LEARNING??
The process of learning, the content of learning, and children seem to be the most misunderstood aspects of modernity. This is because language and thought have become the source and means for exploration whereas the Real 'knowledge' lies outside the realm of language and thought. But, since we are trained to learn the word alone, we have allowed and developed our cognitive system to understand the word alone. The way in which language organizes the world also impacts the development of our cognitive system. We not only bypass the real world in this process but also numb our senses/body-related cognitive system.
WHY LEARN ABOUT CHILDREN?
The child is the unit of human life, the way the cell is for life. Knowing and being can only be understood by revisiting some of these fundamental aspects of life- why what and how children learn! Of course, we will have to revisit the very idea of 'learning' itself. Explore afresh what the child is all about Its capacity, existential needs…..
WHAT CHILDREN LEARN
Children imbibe- learn- and become whatever they experience, choicelessly.
What the child learns, left to itself is the way the world is. The world awakens the child to the workings of the world in the child. Each species does this by engaging with the world autonomously. So children are learning the way the world looks, the quality or the property of its materiality, and the functions, processes, and various phenomenon that happens around them. This is the most scientific way of understanding the world around us as well as sharpening the tools to understand the world and developing the qualities to be in the world. The integrity of the world is retained by this integral way of relating to the world. The wholistic nature of the world awakens the wholistic nature in the child.
In order to understand how children learn we need to study children in non-coercive environments. There is no better space than the cognitive conditions that indigenous communities provide for children.
Unfortunately modern adult is looking through the frame/ categories they have created. A fresh look calls for not just ‘out of the box thinking but learning how we entered into this box using mind-constructed concepts.
It is very clear that children are learning the WORLD they experience through all these activities and there is a clear logic to their 'play'. Through play, children re-experience the world, and re-explore the way the world looks, functions, and its possibilities, and the toy is nothing but a means to explore these. And through drawing children are exploring the three-dimensional world in terms of two-dimensional space. in a way, drawing is the 'play' that children do on a two-dimensional surface.
Children can help us to get out of this box provided we are willing to let them be and sensitively learn from them.