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“I am still learning.” (Michelangelo)
Yes learning is a continuous process and this process will continue throughout the existence of this world. The learning methodologies have evolved since man has set foot on this earth. Human beings have adopted different learning methodologies at different times of their existence. Different ancient or pre-historic civilizations had different teaching methods. Discussing all these methods would not be possible here however, as a test case, here we plan to study the ancient Indian civilization. The pre-historic Indian civilization had a learning methodology which was not only interesting but was also effective during those times, and there are many who believe that it can be effective even today.
The Ancient Indian Education
There are many things which make the ancient Indian education system unique in comparison to modern times. Some key highlights of this education system are stated in the points below.
- The curriculum of the studies was developed by professional instructors and the state did not have the authority to change it. In modern educational systems, in the majority of counties, the state is the one responsible for devising the curriculum.
- Education during the ancient times was purely residential, which means that a student had to reside in the house of his teacher. There was no concept of schools and colleges as we have today.
- Group teaching was non-existent in Ancient India; rather each student used to give personal time to his teacher where the teacher would give specific lessons. Today we hardly have personalized tuition - class-based learning is everywhere nowadays.
- The primary needs and wants to of the pupil were looked after by the teacher such as clothing and food etc. and there was no fee charged either. Today our educational institutes are criticized for becoming a profit-making industry
- Discussions and debates were the common feature of education in Ancient India. It can be argued that, to some extent, this type of teaching methodology exists today as well.
Goal Of Education In Prehistoric India
The basic goal of Ancient Indian education was to train the youth so that they may perform their religious, social and economic duties perfectly. Education was focused on culture enrichment as well as personality development. The main aim of education was to cultivate noble ideas in the minds of the students. Is our modern-day education cultivating any such noble ideas? Does it even focus on it? The question surely requires a serious debate.
Now let’s see some of the learning methodologies that existed in the Prehistoric Indian society:
- memorization was the core of Ancient Indian learning, especially the sacred text that had to be learnt by heart;
- critical analysis was done during the class and the students had the right to disagree with their masters;
- students were trained to contemplate and do their introspection;
- story- telling was the common feature in ancient Indian learning. Teachers use to give examples through different stories. The method was adopted by Buddha as well;
- question and answer sessions used to be conducted where the teacher would solve any issue which a student may be facing pertaining to his education;
- special studies related to medical sciences etc. was done through observation;
- seminars were conducted.
It An Evolution End Of The Day
Modern-day teaching and learning techniques are very different to what we have learnt above. Yes, a few similarities do exist, however overall it’s a 180 degree change. Modern- day teachers believe that use of technology is important for modern learning. Similarly, the learning methodologies also differ a lot. Modern-day learning methodology includes things like lecturing, collaborating, debriefing and classroom action research etc.
Have Things Changed?
It does not mean at all that modern-day teaching is not good. The difference between pre-historic and modern life is huge, hence evolvement of education was natural. Learn more about Ancient Learning science by clicking this link by Atihas.