awakening the senses

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Category: Education
     
 

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We are all born with a sense/meaning making instinct. This urge in us drives us to engage with the world. ‘Meaning making’ is an act of situating ourselves in the world, to know what the world offers us, to be, to live in the world.Can this act of living , being and knowing be fragmented into learning, working, playing or into language, art and science act? Isn’t being in the world knowing the world?

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Sensitizing the senses : 

Sensitizing the senses

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Sensing Nature; Knowing Nature is an event I have been conducting in Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala during the April – May holidays for the past 10 years or so. Each and every time children have proved that they are born genius and they need to be left alone to make sense of the world. (See the link http://my.opera.com/jinankb/blog ). Senses are our doorways to the outer and the inner world. Making sense of the world is both an inward and an outward process. Our senses – the tools for knowing gets developed and sensitized and the world reveals its secrets through senses.

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In a way it is absurd to ‘sensitize’ the senses. Awakened senses are the natural quality of all living beings. But schooling replaces the natural cognitive process. The autonomous sense making capacity in human beings is replaced with ‘knowledge’ of ‘experts’.

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The only solution left for the ‘educated, textualised, distorted ‘ mind is to deliberately re engage with the world, with awakened senses, with out intellectualising , erasing all theories and concepts like starting all over again- fresh Just like a child gaping at the world, full of wonder and awe, Allowing knowing to happen as and when the puzzles come together on its own, remaining in doubt with out forcing an intellectual answer.

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Senses are our doors to the outer world And the outer world, the source for the awakening of our senses / our inner world.

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Children in the process of engaging with the world awakens their senses and makes sense of the world.

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We have succeeded in completely turning up side down the way to BE in the process of controlling nature. The workshop I do is some what a de toxification process but the real harm has already been inflicted on children by sending them to school to “Learn” Learning what the child is doing from the time life comes in to its being. Children need to be left alone to make sense of the world. To BE in the world is to KNOW the world. This is a natural process till we interfere with children and put them in schools / Home schools to learn. ‘Teaching’ confuses and distorts the cognitive process of the child

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The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. There is no teaching.

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Around 60 children gather near my house around 9 am and all of them sit in silence listening to what ever is around. Silence/ Listening

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silence

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After this the older children, 13 to 16 year olds work with the younger ones on various activities that will enable attention, seeing, doing etc. Some of the activities are looking at objects and drawing, collecting leaves with various colour, making various things with that, making pookalam with mud, stitching, making things with sand, clay modelling. All activities are children directed. No teaching nor interference from adults.

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Colour in Nature

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Colour scale Children mix and make the matched colour from the 6 poster colours- white, black, red, Green, Blue and yellow. It is obvious that children are not using the regular reason oriented adult mind to come to the solution nor it is mere trial and error. I suspect they use what could be called as spontaneous reasoning.

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Left side is original leaves and right the painting of it Sunil 13 years

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Reproducing colorful leaves Colourful leaves are collected and painted as it is. Children mix and make the matched colour from the 6 poster colours- white, black, red, Green, Blue and yellow.

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Scenary with dry and colourful leaves Leaves with various shades, stages of drying are collected and sceneries are made with it.

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Scenery with old magazines Old colorful magazines are collected and children make sceneries with that.

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Observed Drawing Drawing is the best tool that enables observation and also helps to convert 3D in to 2D

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Lines and shapes in Nature Children collect different types of leaves and draw then in detail. Children are also given twisted leaves. Looking at various objects does drawing. This includes simple objects like brush, chair etc. portraits, posture, and also the village scenes, houses etc.

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Awakened sense is the basis for all art forms. Rather than teaching skills to sing, paint, draw etc what needs to be done is to awaken the sense to see, to hear, to observe, to feel, to touch, to move…

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Free Hand Drawing Drawing is the best tool that enables observation and also helps to convert 3D in to 2D

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Using stones and soil, sand children make pookalam Pookalam is done during the onam celebrations using flowers. We improvised the idea and children made several new types of pookalams using stone, mud, ash etc

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children making the village in clay Children observes the village activities and make their village in clay.

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stitching The act of threading demands attention and concentration and children needs to take care while stitching which would in turn awaken the quality of ‘care’ in them.

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With sand

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Made from ‘waste’

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We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it. --Alexandre Dumas

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"Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human.  Through learning we re-create ourselves.  Through learning we become able to do something we were never able to do.  Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be apart of the generative process of life.  There is within each of us a deep hunger for this type of learning."

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“Knowledge cannot be carried away in a vessel, you must receive it into your soul and then go your way, either greatly harmed or greatly benefited.”   Socrates

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THE WAY THINGS SHOULD   What will our children do in the morning? Will they wake with their hearts wanting to play,the way wingsshould?   Will they have dreamed the needed flights and gatheredthe strength from the planets that all men and women need to balance the wonderful charms of the earth  so that her power and beauty does not make us forget our own?   I know all about the ways of the heart – how it wants to be alive.   Love so needs to lovethat it will endure almost anything, even abuse,just to flicker for a moment. But the sky’s mouth is kind,its song will never hurt you, for I sing those words.   What will our children do in the morningif they do not see us fly?   The intellectual quest is exquisite like pearls and coral, But it is not the same as the spiritual quest. The spiritual quest is on another level altogether, Spiritual wine has a subtler taste. The intellect and the senses investigate cause and effect. The spiritual seeker surrenders to the wonder.   Rumi

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Do contact me if this interests you. I would like to re look at the whole process of knowing, how truly children learn , what is their true potential etc…. jinan www.re-cognition.org www.kumbham.org jinankb@gmail.com

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