Who listens to the slow learners

Bhupen Kumar Das Senior Lecturer, DIET, Kamrup, Mirza
Bhupen Kumar Das

Education is a process of ensuring total personality development of the children so that they can be good citizens of the nation in the days to come. Education enhances the productivity of the individual and the nation through meaningful, purposeful and scientific use of resources available in our surroundings. Obviously was say that the educated and qualified persons are responsible for scientific use of these resources. But so far the definition of education is concerned; the educated persons are those who are able to obtain all the required competencies such as knowledge, understanding, skill, attitude and value in collective manner. That means only securing high marks in the examination or having mark sheet with high percentage is not the only indicator for being an educated person. That's why we say that until and unless one person does not possess required knowledge, understanding, skill, attitude and value as per need of the society, he/she does not have the true education and only the persons who possess true education can ensure the scientific use of resources.

Generally, so far the attitude of the teachers, parents and the society is concerned; their thinking is strictly adhered to obtain good marks in the examination only. Mental and intellectual development of their children as well as securing good marks in the examination is only the indictor of true education as most of the individuals of our society think. Even most of our teachers are engaged in dividing the children as gifted learners, average learners and slow learners based on the marks secured in the examinations keeping aside all the aspects of psychomotor and affective domain of behavior if the children and accordingly the teachers are used to treat children as per the category they belong which totally violates the norms and professional ethics of the teachers. Consequently, the demarcation and distance between the gifted learners and slow learners has widened exponentially. That's why a large number of children have got either disqualified for promotion or got promotion with very low marks per year and it is analyzed that these children usually belong to the slow learners as created by the teachers.

It is common phenomenon that most of our teachers give more emphasis on gifted learners rather than the slow learners. The reason behind this may be that the teacher has either not or less pedagogical knowledge or the teacher is not interested to involve all the children during transaction and as a result the slow learners are being victimized in the learning process.

Truly speaking the slow learners are not slow in learning but they are made slow in learning by the teachers, parents and the society. Universal truth is that each and every child is specific in his/her characteristics and every child has potential which are to be flourished by the teachers first and then by the parents and the society. The specific characteristics and potential that the children have, are quite essential for ensuring over all development of the nation. The nation needs a variety of skilled and resourceful citizens in different domain of activities and they will have to contribute in their specific fields so that the national productivity can be enhanced as per demand. Hence individual skills and potential make individual productivity and in this way all individuals can contribute to the national production at a high rate in collective manner. The stipulated numbers of gifted children do have the mental and intellectual potentials and can contribute to the national progress, but it's true that their contribution is not enough in comparison to the total national productivity. A huge number of children belong to the slow learner category having different potentials in varieties of areas such as games & sports, cultural affairs, organizations, leadership, literary works, micro technology, cultivation etc and the national development can never be fulfilled without giving proper emphasis on these potentials of the slow learners.

Great thinker Froebel rightly says that "Education is unfoldment of what is already enfolded in the germ", meaning, each and every child has some innate qualities or potentials that derived from their forefathers which have to be identified and developed by the teachers in schools and by the parents at home. It's a matter of regret that most of our teachers used to suppress the inner potentialities of the children without appreciating their hidden qualities and instead the teachers rush to engage children in bookish knowledge only. Children's interest needs and aspirations become meaningless in the hands of such teachers which is no doubt detrimental to the national productivity and prosperity.

Mahatma Gandhi defined education as "By education I mean an all round drawing out of the best in child and man, body, mind and spirit". Schematically body means hand, mind means head and spirit means heart. Developing of head indicates mental and intellectual development, development of hand indicates skill development, physical development and economic development and development of heart indicates spiritual, social, attitude and value development. So, teachers should not only engage themselves to develop the head for gifted children but to engage them to develop the head, hand and heart for all categories of learners also.

After having the final results of different external board examination we the teachers, teachers' educators, parents and almost all individual of the society, often congratulate the toppers, distinction holders and also are habituated to provide them the gift of excellence. But who thinks about those students who cannot pass with flying colours? Are they fully responsible for their results? Don't they have qualities necessary for the society? We will have to search the answers of these questions in scientific approach. They may have certain skills or potentials necessary for the nation which usually are not possessed by the toppers or distinction holders and these potentialities must be focused and developed by the teachers. So all the learners irrespective of any category are valuable for the nation and the teacher is to give equal importance to all the learners.

It has been noticed that the toppers or distinction holders generally become Doctors, Engineers, Professors or Officers but it is observed that they often indulge in corruption, whereas the slow learners later on engage in business, politics, run social organizations etc. with dedication and they used to sacrifice their lives for the development of the society but interestingly this second category of students are being neglected by the teachers in the schools. Such a cruel situation that has been created in our schools is beyond imagination. Under the aforesaid circumstances, we may appeal to the leaders, teachers, educators, parents and the society to take care of all learners and children with justified manner for their holistic development. The Education Department of the government should also prepare a need based plan for skill department of the slow learners in particular so that all children can go ahead based on their own aptitude and make our nation most skilled and productive.