Ethics are moral principles that govern a, person behavior which is good for society, helps in decision making and its virtues are honesty, integrity, empathy, justice, compassion, etc and “SEE” learning is social, emotional and ethical learning designed by Emory University and it provides educators with the tool to foster development of social, emotional and ethical intelligence . I already had the knowledge of ethics but not SEE learning, so the seed in my mind was watered after an event in Aavishkaar.
It all started with a session of Hamaari Shikshaa workshop, when we were actor mapping our aim and purposes in life, one of the group talked about SEE learning of which I didn’t have any idea, which she said is inclusion of curriculum, creativity, compassion, etc in education, I was delighted that people are actually talking about this in the world full of darkness and it always fascinated me but then who knows this can be life changing workshop for any of the participant. In Hamaari Shikshaa, there was a session of Mr. Tenzin Dorjee (Academic Head in Tibetan Education Department) and he shared a new dimension to see this world which we imagine and we want to live in, which we called heaven where everyone wants to go, which used to exist in our ancient civilization and now that place exists somewhere on this earth in a culture (Tibetan Culture). He started by talking about education in exile in which he introduced the Buddhist method of teaching and the Tibetan education system.
After coming to India, Tibetans were under the impression that this settlement is temporary until they get freedom, time passed and they still have not got freedom so they felt the need of education, so with the help of Indian government, their schools got well established and but soon they realized the standard of education is declining their culture and it is getting lost and the need of new education system came to preserve their culture, Tibetan education and restore freedom.
Mr. Dorjee said the aim of education is to awaken and develop human qualities which are wisdom, love, kindness, creativity. Accomplish national goals which are environmental protection, sustainable development, peace, twenty-first-century skills and become self-reliant by empowering humans. He asked participants what qualities do you want to see in your child after 20 yrs and most of the answers were honesty, kindness, empathy but the irony is that we just want them to learn Science, Math, History, Geography etc that too without even understanding or exploring the concept and we find trivial to talk about what is love, why to be honest, how to be kind.
I want to relate this to my school times I used to have social science as a subject and I used to learn for scoring better in a subject without even understanding what is it saying, what moral is it giving, what is the actual meaning of the story. That was just mugging up.
One thing which really touched my heart was one of the prime teachings that Tibetan education seeds in their students. “ Who should be put first” and Mr. Dorjee shared according to Buddhist culture one should put partner before themselves, Family before partner then community before Family, Nation before the community, Humanity before the nation and Sentient beings before humanity. Sentient beings are at the top which is love and kindness for every living thing on earth like insects, animals but in actual reality, we just focus on ourselves, we want to have things at the loss of humanity, nature degradation but never want to sacrifice, never to care much about each other. We are continuously using resources from nature, depreciating it but we never think of returning the favor.
In this life we want to achieve we think of, achieving success, great future, dreamland at the detriment of humanity, environment for better human life what if there won’t be any future, because the pace at which resources are depriving there will be nothing left for coming generations, they will not love each other, there won’t be kindness, no peaceful coexistence of human. Fauna and flora will disappear then what is the use of success, I have seen people always blame others for the mistake and I can connect to one example, Uttrakhand tragedy where people blamed nature for this catastrophe but actually at first they took toll on nature by developing area, construction is known as development but the irony is it is actually destruction, we want other people to be kind, good but do we really self reflect and find out “are you the person what you expect from others”?
People after working so hard, running blindly in the race get depressed and then they go to nature, mountains for peace, recovery and meditate as it says nature heals but my quest is what is the sense of race if you are not getting happiness and now I can connect this whole thing to experience. So actually it started long back when I went to DGL Nunnery, as I entered the campus I suddenly felt the calmness, peace, politeness in the air and when I met girls with red-colored robe and a big smile and such a relief, calmness on their face and their education is different than what we teach in our schools. They learn the principles of Buddhism, their religious text and along with this Science and Math. They curiously understand and explore the concept of Science and Mathematics. I went there with the help of Aavishkaar who teaches Science and Math at such a wonderful place and I am very glad that I got the opportunity to visit. After meeting one can figure out basic ethical values, giving back to the society is inculcated in them are the important part of their education they don’t focus on quantity but on the quality. Qualities we want in our kids already exist there.
Through all this, I realized there is a difference between literacy and education. Literacy is when one can just read or write. It is about acquiring skills and learning, however, education is when one has a deep understanding of concept, application of her/his skills and learning for the benefit of other people since we have reached the point of literacy, we now need to focus on education.
In Hamaari Shikshaa workshop, I was very happy to see that youth who came from different organizations in India have a vision for noble world, global peace, and standard education system here, they are truly working for this noble cause and through this workshop we got an idea how to implement our views , how to make this work and got the understanding of issues prevailing and want to make a change , give a hand to someone who don’t have anybody and I believe the solution to all this is SEE learning and we need to take forward this method where we also teach ethical, social and emotional values along with subject.
Aanchal Nikhra (Aavishkaar Fellow)