Nurturing right learning attitude

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Pankaj Sharma,
Principal, Sagar Public School, Bhopal

As Swami Vivekananda Says, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.” The perfection which has to be manifested, Swamiji says – is already in man. When we already have it, the role of education is actually a process of purification. A process by which we realize the perfectness within and here lies the critical role of an educator – be it a parent at home or a teacher at school.


As educators, we need to throw light on the strengths of the student and facilitate ways and means to bring out those strengths, so as to nurture a confident and courageous adult. For this, both formal and informal learning are required, shares Pankaj Sharma, Principal, Sagar Public School, Bhopal.

TPS: There is a long-standing view that only a limited quantity of learning is obtained through formal institutions of learning and informal learning plays a significant role in the empowerment of the individual. This view has been further strengthened by cognitive psychologists. How do you think schools can cope with this situation by synergizing formal and informal learning modes?

Pankaj: Learning is not confined to the formal sources as the informal sources too have an impact on students’ mind. In fact now the students’ social and mental touch points have tremendously increased and therefore the schools should synergize both, the formal and informal sources by incorporating them in the teaching learning strategies such as the home assignments, projects, visits, experiential learning, flipped classroom techniques etc. which will ensure better learning. Though it is slightly difficult to gaze the learning through these tools however keeping in mind the impact they have on developing interest, these cannot be ignored.

TPS: Can you suggest a few informal instruments of learning provided by schools that help in this process of empowerment of the individual and how do they play a scaffolding role in learning?

Pankaj: Learning through outdoor visits to various institutes such as banks, industries, markets , public offices, governing bodies, observatories, parks, study of the reports published on various media, data analysis, project work, blogs, and other websites on the internet, outreach programs by reputed higher educational institutes, online study mediums, exchange programs and many other informal sources of learning are used by the schools besides the formal sources.

TPS: With a high thrust on competitive learning, most schools appear to have neglected or marginalized such vital requirements and appear to be promoting rote learning preparing the students for a rat race. In this context what do you think are the future challenges and how do you think schools can cope with them?

Pankaj: I don’t agree that most of the schools promote rote learning. As primarily the schools are guiding and preparing children to take up the board examinations and because the board examinations have a certain system of examining the children, so the schools focus on the same so that children score good marks and seek admission in reputed institutions. However, good schools definitely go beyond this and prepare children for the future challenges wherein they focus on a good career guidance including the offbeat courses, working on the personality development, nurturing the talent in the fields other than the academics, working on providing exposure through beyond classroom programs. What is required is the alignment of the board’s evaluation system with that of the other competitive examinations’ approach. Still there is much to be done in this area.

TPS: Many schools believe that provision of informal supports to learning for extended and impactful learning comes with a cost which parents cannot afford and hence find it convenient to marginalize them. Is there a scope for integrating such learning experiences with curricular architecture and how do you think this can be done?

Pankaj: It is true that the informal sources of learning do bring additional cost to schools but at the same time there are very many which can be extended at a very nominal cost. In fact what is incurred is time as all the informal sources take more than the usual time and schools do face time constraints. The best way would be integrating them as a part of the school schedule and involving parents as partners to it. Everything cannot be covered by school and within, so if the sources are properly tapped and coordinated among the stakeholders, these would never get marginalized.

TPS: “Learning Beyond” is fundamental to “Learning Always” and “Life long learning.” It is development of a mindset and attitude to learning which is required for a vibrant knowledge society and a global learning environment. How can this idea be seeded in the young minds which would trigger them to be powerful ‘self-learners’?

Pankaj: It is true that Learning Beyond is fundamental to Life-long learning and this will happen only with the learning attitude. I believe that right from the early age, children need to be guided to be self-learners. They need to learn to take charge of themselves for which the training has to start while they are young. The teachers have to facilitate learning and should not come with a mindset of teaching or telling rather extending support and empowering the learners. As Swami Vivekananda Says, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.” The perfection which has to be manifested, Swamiji says – is already in man. When we already have it, the role of education is actually a process of purification. A process by which we realize the perfectness within and here lies the critical role of an educator – be it a parent at home or a teacher at school, to throw light on the strengths of the student and facilitate ways and means to bring out those strengths, so as to nurture a confident and courageous adult.

TPS: In a world haunted by technology, most learners spend their time with the instruments of technology for further and extended learning. What are its advantages and shortfalls? How do you think this mindset can be changed to a positive and personalized interactive social learning culture?

Pankaj: It is true that the learners spend a lot of their time on screens and technology definitely has been a boon in extended learning. With one click children have an access to all sort of information available on the net and it has opened new avenues of learning. The virtual classrooms with augmented realities are helping children to have a better understanding of the complicated concepts. But this bombardment of information needs some checks, guidance as well as monitoring because the children are not mature to know the limits and they may get carried away. This is taking away the self-practice time and habit of trying again and again . The possibility of getting deviated is also too much. It needs a cultural grooming where the school and home have to provide an interactive environment with a positive mindset.


Pankaj Sharma, M.A. (Political Science and History), M.Ed., is the Principal of Sagar Public School (SPS), Saket Nagar Bhopal. She is a passionate teacher from past 20 years and has been successfully handling the responsibility as Principal from last 10 years. With a very practical approach she lays emphasis on empowering the team; the teachers as well as the students. She has a special interest on working on group learning strategies and developing critical thinking skills. SPS is scaling new heights under the leadership of Shri Sudhir Kumar Agrawal, Chairman Sagar Group, whose constant guidance and philanthropic approach enables the school to grow as a unique learning centre based on values.