The new Education policy and the subsequent National Curriculum Framework focuses on teaching the Indian school of thought. I enjoyed studying it. But, as a teacher educator I realise teachers are probably worried as to how to integrate these into their lesson plans. If teachers are worried, can parents be far behind?
Check it out. You will be richer in your knowledge of ancient Indian Scripturers and their relevance today.
Ancient Indians had clear conceptions on what is valuable in education. Language and mathematics were seen as two eyes through which we make sense of the world.
Let me present a quote which is an English translation from the ancient Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar
The twain that lore of numbers and of letters give
Are eyes, the wise declare, to all on earth that live
– Translation, G.U. Pope
This is true even after two thousand years after this verse was written!
The following six pramanas were considered as valid means through which one can gain knowledge about the world. The study of Pramanas is called Nyaya. Pramanas mean proof.
The number of pramanas might vary from system to system. Eg, Jainism , Buddhism, Hinduism etc.
1.Pratyaksa: This is usually interpreted as direct perception through the five senses. It can be further divided into anubhava (direct perception) or smriti (recalled perception).In today’s terms It is nothing but Concrete experience.
- Anumana: Using inferences to come to new conclusions from observations. One can draw inferences and hypothesis. Relate it to modern pedagogy – Piaget speaks of Schemas, The child refers to zebra as a horse. Later on realises that it zebra and not horse through a process of assimilation.
- Upamana: Knowing through analogy and comparison. Relating to existing knowledge and identifying the similarities and differences and thus coming to know new things or experiences is another valid way of knowing. This is one way of analysis.
- Arthapatti: Knowing through circumstantial implication is arthapatti. When a student realises that when ingredients are set aside first, then the experiment can go on smoothly.
- Anupalabdi: Perception of non-existence is also considered a valid form of knowledge.
- To observe that the well is empty of water is knowing something about the well.
- “the dogs did not bark that night” what has made them silent tonight.
- The class is in progress but is silent. Teacher is teaching. This is indicative of something is wrong. A good interactive class should have a healthy murmur.
- Through the presence of a horn one could infer the presence of a whole cow.
- Sabda: In some systems of knowledge the testimony of an expert is admissible as true knowledge. That an individual can only directly know a fraction of all reality through direct experience and inferences but must rely on other experts was acknowledged thousands of years ago! Relating it to Vygotsky. He talks about MKO and ZPD. More knowledgeable one and zone of proximal development. Beyond ZPD, the help of MKO is needed.
These ancient investigations of the nature of knowledge are still relevant for education. By having a deeper grasp of the nature of knowledge teachers are better equipped to select appropriate content, pedagogy, and assessments to achieve the aims of education.