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The future of education is here

Letting passion lead the way in learning

RN

Raaji Naveen

Oct 21, 2020

Why do you think passion and profession - two entities which should ideally go hand in hand - still raise eyebrows even in an era of modern education? There exists a strong demarcation between the two in the conventional education system where passion often becomes a scapegoat in the pursuit of success defined by society. As an educator, I cannot emphasise enough the benefits of integrating the two. When we allow children to pursue a profession that they are truly passionate about, it enriches their lives with irreplaceable happiness, as they are doing something they relish for a living! This happiness becomes contagious when passionate people collaborate and pay it forward to the world.

Recently, I spoke to Young ones official on how more young people can make headway in their lives with their passion. Here are the highlights that stood out for me:

Early Bird or the Second Mouse?

The prime years of our lifetime (read age 13 - 21) are burdened with the pressure to make life choices. As a result, a multitude of young learners understandably makes major career decisions in a haste, only to regret it and realize their true calling in their early thirties. In several cultures, even career choices are made by the parents themselves with little regard to the child’s innate talents. They are often influenced by their own past experiences and their financial status as well. On the other hand, conventional career guidance offered by schools and career counsellors focus only on competitive exams and provide the details of courses offered by various institutes. The most colourful period of a child's life is lost under unnecessary stressors which play no role in shaping either a successful or mediocre future.

We often try to address the loopholes in the conventional education system without taking into account the learners themselves. It brings to mind the words of Albert Einstein:

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

The allegorical framework of the quotation underlines the ideas that govern the concept of alternative education . Let us break down this thought into five main constituents - fish, climb, judge, tree and belief - to understand the impact of passion in one’s life.

The first and foremost element in education is the learner - the fish. It is important to reflect on yourself and find your passions and strengths, even though it doesn't fit into the conventional framework of academic subjects. The compartmentalisation of knowledge into subjects limits boundless creativity.

Man is a social animal. To live in a society means you'll be constantly judged for either what you do or what you don't. Family and educators act as judges of your character, skills and ambitions. Judgments based on comparison render a lack of self-esteem in the learners. However, escaping judgments is far from possible. Even so, a better understanding of your inner self and skills gives the strength to remain confident and true to yourself.

Climb, the most beautiful part of the quotation implies the metaphorical travel or journey undertaken by the child. The learner should decide the mode and pace of their journey of education. A person's path may not cater to the passions and aspirations of another. Finding the nature of one's journey also enables an enhanced comprehension of abilities that act as a catalyst to make progress in life.

There is no standard definition of success in the world. It can either be the ambition to achieve greatness, happiness, bringing a change in the world or being in charge of one's actions. The tree in the above quotation stands for the goals set by you, which when achieved assures boundless joy. A learner is encouraged to look inside and find a tree of their own choice to ascend, rather than focusing on the lives and aspirations of other people to define success on their terms.

The fifth part of the quotation - belief implies the make or break factor in the journey of a learner. The society advises us to believe in ourselves as it paves the way to progress in life. On the contrary, it also strives to convince us that we are inadequate or lack the faculties that lead to success.

Being an Imagin8er and a thought enabler at Beyond 8 , I focus on a strength-based approach that fuels self-worth in learners to dream dauntlessly and create their path to follow their passions. I urge all young learners to think positive and establish their standards of excellence.

Who can afford a passion?

The short answer is everybody. A common misconception about pursuing one's passion in life is that only a handful of privileged people can afford to do so. Self-doubt withholds people from chasing their ambitions. Let me examine this point of view by citing my life as an instance. Hailing from a small town named Dombivali in Mumbai, I grew up watching inspiring accounts of phenomenal women like Udaan , a TV series which depicts the life of Kiran Bedi and Rajani the story of a housewife challenging the work and ethics of government offices. My family encouraged me to challenge the status quo while upholding honesty and integrity and their constant support helped me to understand my strengths and myself better. My organizational skills, ability to understand people, comprehend and simplify complex concepts and actualizing theories into creative practices were well nurtured and pruned in the early phases of my life. Hence, even after pursuing a career in Computer Engineering in contrast to my vocation, my strengths aided me to create an impact, to become an independent woman who stands up for reimagining education and women empowerment.

Some of us choose careers that seldom align with our passions due to various reasons such as money, success or fame. Nevertheless, identifying and remaining connected to our strengths help us to create considerable change and impact on the chosen fields.

Whenever I speak to learners about passion, I like to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

Chasing one's passion doesn't happen overnight. Learning is an ongoing process of self-discovery and generating the best outcomes out of the opportunities that come in our way is the key to lead a fruitful life.

Did you pursue your passion as your profession? How did it change your life? Tell us your story in the comments below!

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