|Photo: Rasul Bakhsh Rais|
Primary education, the first few years of schooling, is the most critical phase in the learning process of a child. It provides the foundation on which the pupil, the school and the education system build higher layers. It is at this stage that the child enters the world of learning, knowing the people around him or her outside the family for the first time and gets some basic ideas about life, relations and the broader social world. Primary education is thus the formative level, where the teacher is trusted with the great responsibility to develop young minds. For this reason, many of the countries that have progressed in science, technology and human sciences have invested the best of their resources in education in general and in the elementary tier in particular.
With this comment on the importance of primary education, I wish to explain which types of ideas have guided primary educational planning in industrial societies. Most of these ideas that I am going to mention have universal importance, across different cultures, national boundaries and civilisations. These ideas are essentially about how to develop a human mind and embed it with values of personal success and a stronger society with a sense of community and solidarity, which are all applicable to Pakistan.
First of all, primary education has to be enjoyable for children. Learning for children can come from playing and doing things that create natural interest among them. What will attract a child to learning has been a subject of research for child psychologists, educational philosophers, curriculum designers and authors of children books around the world. The common thread among all of them is how to get the child’s attention and get her or him involved in learning. One of the methods that has been proposed and which is religiously followed in progressive schooling is interactive instruction. The teacher, more than an instructor, is a facilitator and a guide to students. This lets students think for themselves, as they try finding solutions on their own rather than expecting a perfect answer from the instructor. The instructor may lead them to what might be the right answer but before doing that, he lets students try, make mistakes and get there without his or her help.
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Source: The Express Tribune