The System or Me??
IS IT THE SYSTEM OR IS IT ME?
Today, we got the marks of our Physics test. Without going into the details of how fat the marks were, I would like to bite deeper into the flesh of the system. I have a dear friend who got...a little bit less marks than what he would have preferred. He looked at his paper and sighed.
'What happened?' I asked him.
'Nothing man! This thing is crap!'
'The education system!'
'What do you mean? Just because you got less marks does not mean that the whole system is wrong!'
'Its not the marks! I know how much I studied for this test. Its a small test, but I tried to understand every concept as well as I could without mugging up a single thing.' He pointed his finger to a girl sitting somewhere at a corner of the classroom and was surrounded by a general mob.
'See her?' he asked.
'Do you observe the way she mugs up before exams?'
'Then observe. She mugs up everything, and then, because her brain cannot afford to digest everything, it vomits the matter onto the paper...and the result? 10 out of 10!'
'So...you mean to say that mugging up is wrong?'
'Of course it is! How the hell are you supposed to mug up in physics?'
'I agree. I had understood all the concepts just the way you had. It was just that you could not solve a stupid numerical and I could...and so it made a small difference!'
'Another thing! I do not understand the need of numericals in Physics!'
I was shocked by this.
'This is extremely wrong! Physics is numericals!'
'No! No! Look! Why mix Science and Maths together?'
'Science is a Maths and Maths is a science!' I replied intelligently.
'Elaborate!' he ordered.
'Look! Now, I know that you like to travel, right?'
'So, suppose you travel around 300 kilometers in 4 hours, then what is the first thought that comes to your mind?'
'That was fast!' he replied.
'Well...because...well, travelling 300 kilometers in just 4 hours is fast!'
'But why?' I emphasized.
'Because the average speed of the car was around 75 or more kmph.' he said after calculating in the air.
'How did you do that?'
'Average speed = Distance upon time' he replied promptly and smiled.
'The first formula I personally remember!' I said smiling.
'Okay. I get it.'
'See? There are some things whose importance we do not realize until they are applied practically.'
'I understand. But what is the need of providing materials that have to be mugged up?' he said, pointing towards the girl.
'Perhaps no one has thought her how to understand a concept rather than mug it up.'
'Did anyone teach you this?'
'So...it proves that experience is the best teacher here!'
'But why don't they teach HOW TO STUDY before they teach us the basic things?'
'That is true. Maybe we will not understand HOW TO STUDY until we are around 8 or 9 years old, but if they keep on telling us HOW TO STUDY then we might understand some things clearly!'
'Thats what I mean to tell you.'
'Maybe the system lacks this, or maybe it is the responsibility of our parents to teach us this!'
'Yes. But the problem is that, we are living in a generation where not all parents are educated or they are educated but not educated enough. For example, I know your mother and father. They will teach you these things. My mother or father will. But what about the others?'
'That is what I am telling you. Perhaps this is one of the many problems with the system. The failure to teach HOW TO STUDY. They start teaching directly to us.'
I came home after that and gave the good news of my out of Physics test. Then, I went to play cricket for some time and decided to write this down.
Really...is this one of the many problems with the system?
I never remembered hearing any teacher tell me HOW TO STUDY. I learnt it, basically from personal experience as a student and from my sister and parents (sister more, because I ask her my queries and she is quick to respond whenever she has time).
Understanding a concept for me is basically more important than learning the definition. If you know the concept, then you can formulate your own correct definition which is perfectly similar to the definition given in a book. So, it might take you 10 hours to understand a concept when it could have taken you 2
hours to just mug up. But...the 10 hours are enough for the concept to be fixed in your mind for a long long time.
The 2 hours you spend mugging up are for vomiting in the exam.
The CONCEPT is all that matters.
So...is the problem with the system or me?
I for one, know that the books which we have are important for the future.
My sister read a SMS to me the other day. "I really wonder when that day will come when I will use Algebra sums in real life!"
I completely agree!
But, there are many concepts of Algebra that can be used in real life, like proportionality, variation, sets, probability and more which I am yet to learn. And perhaps...we do use "x" and "y", perhaps unknowingly...in real life, but not to the extent to which we solve sums in.
There are subjects like Environment, Personality Development, Economics, Civics...the subjects that I call side subjects.
We do study them. But really...I would like to ask students...how many of you really do it as seriously as you are doing Algebra or Geometry or Science?
NONE OF YOU DO. You might say yes, but then you are lying to yourself.
Maybe the system has made the books properly and put them correctly where they are.
But maybe it is the problem with us.
Perhaps we learn the wrong subject at the wrong time at the wrong place and in the wrong way, and this makes us hate the subject.
Maybe one day, I will understand the importance of learning Civics, Economics, Personality Development or Environment. But till that day...I will always wonder...is the fault with the system or me?