This is the time to revise and revive the existing teaching and learning practices and to reform the existing pedagogy into a post-pandemic pedagogy. We have witnessed that universities, colleges, schools all over the world were closed due to the pandemic. Emergency remote teaching as a temporary solution has been adopted to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on education.
This sudden transition has created a distance in the relationship between learners and educators. In-person school education might become a mirage for the beginners of the new generation. My 6-year-old niece has not seen her classroom yet. I would like to take this chance to express my opinion that learning is a natural process that occurs throughout our life. Family has a vital role in setting goals in an individual’s life. Institutional learning shapes the skills and knowledge required for achieving goals.
Traditionally the word literacy means the ability to write and read, i.e. to communicate. As Vygotsky said, play is the first form of learning language and communication. Children begin to understand rules and symbols while playing with friends. Literacy, related to the newly-born baby, is through his or her cry. A baby communicates to parents through this cry. Hence, apart from institutional learning, we have to acquire an abundance of knowledge and truths from the universe itself.
We say that Mother is the first teacher but a baby whose mother is no longer in the world also has to grow and exhibit his existence in this world. Who will teach him/her what to do and how to exist?
We can say learning is the process which is influenced by different factors which are present inside and outside of the individual. The individual’s perception, attitude, thoughts, and beliefs are the attributes which he has developed through his internal learning within himself.
At the same time externally he learns how to behave, communicate and express through his experience from the outside world – his environment. This environment includes the family, school, workplace, peers etc. I wish to express my gratitude to my parents who educated me on life’s purpose. I have grown up in a religious, orthodox family. I was performing religious rituals that were learned from my parents or family. We do what we learn and never think why, what, how. I never really thought or pondered upon the idea of God or any supernatural power who controls these planets or worldly matters at that time. The formal education that I started in my 5th year was only focused on achieving a maximum score in the progress card.
Everything changed on the day the obstetrics and gynaecology teacher was teaching us the anatomy of the uterus, its muscular pattern, its changes during pregnancy – how it expands to make room for a growing fetus and so on. I had never known such a beautiful, sophisticated part within my own body.
The teacher said that the womb is made up of three layers of muscle tissues that are arranged longitudinally, circularly and obliquely, entwined between connective tissues of blood vessels, elastic fibers and collagen fibers. This structuring helps the uterus to expand throughout the pregnancy providing required blood and nutrients for the growing uterus. I was astonished on that day about the creation of God and was thrilled to be a girl. After that I found meaning in performing the rituals and being thankful to the Great Creator. No human engineer could have thought of such a miraculous structure.
Another blissful experience of learning was on the day when the management professor asked us students “Who is a Good Manager, Men or Women?” He wanted us to enlist names of great business persons, male or female and their contributions in the business world. Boys said men are great managers, we girls said women are great managers. It was somewhat like a debate. Everyone argued with examples. I said, my mother is a great manager without pursuing any MBA; she uses the FIFO method in her kitchen daily that we learned in Inventory Management Classes. She knows deeply her 11 children and their abilities and differences, manages them, and gives them education and training like a Human Resource Manager. She has cultivated an acceptable, transparent, fair culture within the home environment like an OB specialist. I said all that just for the sake of an argument on the day but today it brings tears to my eyes without her presence. Today, I have realised I can do nothing without my parents’ guidance and protection.
Therefore, my opinion on the true meaning of literacy apart from just ability to write and read is an individual’s ability or skill to understand and perform his/her duties well in life.