Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What and How

We all know what to do. And we do the best we can. Or that’s what we would love to believe. Till we come to know how to do what we have to do!

Before joining any school, toddlers are sent to spend some time with kids of their age along with teachers (I would like to call them facilitators) to start ‘learning’. And I am sure; there are some real registrations on their minds of things ‘taught’. But what is the real intention? According to me, it is, to condition them to start attending one single place which will be called a school for the next 15 yrs of their lives, everyday from morning till late afternoon and attend sessions where they are given instructions to perform certain activities in a given fashion because someone institutionalized them centuries ago. I do not refute the fact that most of the theories still hold good. And the ones that were questionable were questioned and re-defined.

What happens in top B-schools and technical institutions? Who teach there? Why do these institutions advertise so heavily on their list of pioneers, innovators, gurus and creators of certain theory, model or framework as their course faculty, guest faculty and nowadays a new term, “permanent guest faculty”? Now, that’s marketing, beautifully coining a term, bringing together two mutually exclusive words, permanent and guest! There is a reason behind this super activity. People, who have created something exceptional, are the ones who have possibly failed a hundred times before the final successful outcome. This has made them aware of the hundred different ways of ‘what’ not to do! Finally, they come up with ‘how’ to do it the right way. There may be a hundreds things to do. But there is just one way to do the right thing. That is the difference.

Preachers tell you to do ‘ideal’ things, tasks that will get you close to the Almighty. If they know everything to get close to Him, what are they doing on Earth? In simple terms, they can tell you ‘what’ to do? But never ‘how’ to achieve the same.

In India, most children are asked to work hard on their Maths. Because, you have a life only if you are an engineer. And that’s why (x+y)2 = x2 + y2 + 2ab. But why is it so? Why engineering, why Maths and over and above all why me? Why me because, am I competent enough to get past the Maths days? Will I be able to get through the engineering entrance exams and then eventually complete the course? Even if I complete the course, will I be able to get a job and continue in it? As children, have we ever asked so many whys’? And as parents, teachers and so called counselors, have we ever tried making children understand the answers to these whys’?

No. We have only focused on what needs to be done. Never the why….

Finally, another why…. why are classroom instructors called teachers and fitness/health/PT/Gym instructors called instructors? Are instructors ‘taught’ to become instructors, or are they ‘instructed’ to become one? And are teachers ‘taught’ to become teachers or are they ‘instructed’?

Now, that’s another debate. (Starting point of my next write-up)

Comments/Criticisms are invited at

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