Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The art of questioning

The topic which I am going to discuss has been the focus of attention of many in the past and continues to be discussed now also. This is important for the educators and the parents that they give enough opportunities to the children so that they become confident and develop creative thinking, which is the need of the hour. Many people have the opinion that the children follow the advice of their friends than that of the parents and the teachers. This may be true but not always because this depends upon many factors and situations. I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong in asking questions or having discussions but the way it is done is very important. We read in newspapers and watch on television channels, the way the presidential candidates of the United States of America debate and put forward their point of view. When we compare this with respect to our own debates in parliament or otherwise then we find that the picture is entirely different though this was not the case twenty thirty years back. Why is this difference? Is it because we have not been able to imbibe the values of respect for the other fellow men while we study in the schools or this is the result of the values the children get at home? I also think that the way an adult behaves is the result of the learning by him/her during the early years. I realized it more while watching a serial on a TV channel. This is the mythology based incident in which Lord Shiva teaches his son Kartikey that even if you are very brave, do not let that feeling get into your head but Kartikey being young and strong does not understand well. When Lord Shiva advises him he asks questions after questions and Lord Shiva answers him though He was not happy with Kartikey because of the manner in which the questions were asked. Though Lord Shiva does not say anything to him but Maa Parvati could not control her feelings and tries to make Kartikey understand that what he was doing was not right. Kartikey asks her if that was wrong to ask questions? She politely says that his asking questions were not wrong but the way the questions were being asked was not right. This incident is related to the period thousands of years ago but does it not appear to be in today`s time also? We come across many cases everyday when the teachers and the parents complain that the behavior of the children must be taken care of. Many parents feel that their children behave righteously till the time all their demands and wishes are fulfilled and if any time that is not done, they argue in a very negative manner. This may be true in many cases. Almost same is the condition of the teachers also and parents and teachers sit together they discuss the same without reaching to proper conclusion and the solution.
This I mentioned earlier also that the behavior and the actions of the children are governed by the environment in which they are brought up. Though it is very easy to blame others for anything wrong but we must realize that the entire system is responsible for the kind of thoughts and behavior our children develop over a period of time. The teachers and the parents should try to analyze and understand the reasons behind such behavior of the children. We must also understand that following the instructions of the adults or the person in authority should not be the rule which cannot be broken and the adults should be prepared to listen to different point of view even if the other person is younger or junior to them.  We must also realize that all human beings are important and should be valued and this applies to all irrespective of the age or the position. The incident reported in the newspapers and other media is matter of serious concern for all including parents and teachers. The rules and the acts only cannot make the difference in the progress of the nation but the manner in which the rules are followed determines the future of all.  In the episode I mentioned above Lord Shiva also realized that making his son aware of his power and strength only was the reason for his reactions which were neither appreciated by Lord Shiva nor by Maa Parvati. So if the children are taught the lesson of empathy and the care for the fellow human beings then the problems of feeling hurt due to ill mannered questioning of the children will be taken care of. Even if the children do not behave or question in a dignified manner, the teachers and the parents should not react in the same manner because this will not teach children any good lesson. I do not say that you ignore or appreciate it, but do not react in haste. Give some time to them to settle down and then talk and tell the children in a firm manner your point of view and make them understand that there was nothing wrong in asking the so called ‘wrong question’ but certainly the manner was. Even the right and justified query might create problems if not asked or put forward in a dignified manner. The other very important thing to be taught to the children is, if they care for rights then they should not forget their duties also because these cannot exist in isolation but together. Our children are very intelligent and they do understand things well but sometimes due to the age and the energy they tend to react in a manner which we do not appreciate. This happens mostly due to the condition of frustration or the influence of the peers. Now this is also very interesting that the children listen to their friends more than to their parents and teachers. Up to some extent this is natural but many a times it is due to the parent and teachers drifting away from their children. More they go away from their wards more chances are that the children will be influenced by their friends. As all of them are full of energy and there is no one to control the flow of that unlimited energy so there are chances that it flows in wrong direction. The parents and the teachers should be firm and fair in their approach towards the children and ensure that they themselves do not do anything of that sort which they would not appreciate if done by their children. The children also have some responsibility towards their parents and teachers and that should be taught to them properly. We need the company of each other because as mentioned earlier nobody can survive alone because we need society to be happy and progressive.
 The other important thing which all should realize is to think positive. We should come out of this environment of helplessness and hopelessness around us as on today. Even if the things are not very rosy, our thought and feelings can make a lot of positive impact and let us try to practice the same in our homes and schools. Let us think that our children are good and they will do well in future (though we may have to be apparently tough on them at times). The parents and teachers should realize that their children do understand their problems but due to some reasons they are not able to express or show that to them. At times some parents and teachers proudly say that they treat their children as their friends and the children share everything with them. This is good but there should be a line drawn for everything because there are certain things which children only can do and vice versa. I am not very sure whether I am right or wrong but I have a different opinion. The parents and teachers should not be necessarily be the friends of their children but the behavior should be friendly because this is the behavior which is most important and should be practiced to the best of the ability of an individual.


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  2. Agreed that the children have ever probing minds and can not be satiated unless strong and convincing answer is given. But at the same time the teachers and parents have to be wise and intelligent enough to answer logically with conviction. The children may not understand the right or wrong manner of questioning but what they always look for are the answers. I feel that once their queries are settled, that do not come up with the same query and the next time if they raise one , they become careful and aware of their manner.Certainly as mentioned earlier, the answer given should be convincing as the generation of today has many other sources to find the answers.
    Concerning their behaviour, it is the most pertinent issue to be addressed, taking care of individualistic characters.Here the teachers role becomes supreme as he/she deals with the same student minimum for one full session and is quite aware of the students modus-operandi and modus-vivendi.Hence the onus is of the teacher as long as the child is in the precincts of the school. But at home they are different.Thus the parents become accountable.