What else is a School, if it does not teach ‘how to think?’
The other day I was presented a trophy of information by my special needs class teacher who has graciously accepted her duty towards mankind classified to be suffering from the terrible social disaster called Autism (or Titoism or Danism), along with other physical and cognitive disorders, like Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome- all bundled up to coexist in a single classroom called ‘Special Ed’ class.
The information was about the ‘Kangaroos of Australia’. We were supposed to read it aloud turn by turn, and then answer a work sheet attached to it.
The morning was to be spend thus in the company of the work-sheet on the celebrated marsupials with their kangarooic traits, and in the company of those teacher’s assistants who were to determine whether we were doing what we were supposed to do after we finished reading- complete the work sheet on the Kangaroos.
The first question on the worksheet was –
‘What family the kangaroo belonged to?’
‘There can be many answers to a question like that!’ –a boring usual answer or a creative unusual answer (which can be judged wrong).
Every question need not be answered right.
For there is no rule that all right answers need to be delivered on request or demand. ‘I could write any answer. I could choose to write the correct answer- marsupial, or I could write any incorrect answer like giraffe, or cat or hockey-stick. As long as I am answering and following the rule of answering, it did not matter at all!’
Only childishness strives to answer everything correct!
So after much thought I chose to honour my question with the answer ‘cat’, and waited for the teacher’s assistant to give my answer his ‘look of the day’.
That expression his face made is something worth classifying as a family of its own. I thought about it for the rest of my day.
After all we go to school to think.
Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay