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What is important, Teaching or Testing?

What is important, Teaching or Testing?

When the ancient Guru Dronacharya took the test of Kuravas and Pandavas , it was a test of their CONCENTRATION. And only Arjun had passed it!

When Udgupt, a great Buddhist Monk of 3rd century B.C., took the test of The Great King Ashoka, it was a test of his CONSISTENCY. And to pass this test, King Ashoka had to give up everything that he had!

Similarly, when Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa took the test of Narendra to become Swami Vivekananda, he had to abandon his home. The pages of history are filled with hundreds of such instances of tests conducted by the Gurus for their disciples or students.

Our ‘Examination System’ of today is more than half century old. In this system, we are just testing memory power of a student and we feel very happy to confer a certificate of percentage on the basis of this memory test. And therefore, the test has become more important than teaching itself.

Can’t it be possible to have a testing system that is freeing a child from any written test? Isn’t it possible to have an examination that does not create fear in a child? Is it not possible to have an assessment system that scales the qualities of a child rather than his memory power?

To logically understand the difference between TEACHING and TESTING, we must compare them:

Teaching Testing
It focuses on shaping up the child. It is a method to satisfy the educationists.
It constantly keeps the child normal, active, and happy. It initiates a sense of fear, tension and pain in the child.
It transforms the classroom into the haven. It turns the classroom into the hell.
It is a medium that constantly drives the child further towards growth. It is an obstacle set on the path of development of the student.
It is a system that teaches the art of living to a human being. And teaches how to find an answer to a problem. It breaks the confidence of a child and converts him into a Contest Machine.

This doesn’t mean that there should not be an examination or test; and also does not mean that the examination is a problem. But, surely it is a concern that demands for an immediate pondering if the children are ending their lives by hanging themselves just because of the fear of this examination system or its results. The assessment system requires changes. It should be teaching ‘LIFE MANAGEMENT’ to the children and it most certainly should generate sense of satisfaction among the children.

Once upon a time in a jungle, all the birds and animals decided to set up an examination system to decide who is the most superior among them? The lion said that the test should be only for roaring. The monkey recommended that the test should be only for jumping. The snake said that they should be tested only for sliding on the ground. The fish responded that everything else is useless if you don’t know how to swim. The discussion went on and on. Finally they decided to conduct different test for each animal according to their natural skill and talent gifted by the God! After the tests everyone was amazed to find out that every animal had secured first rank in their respective fields of ability. To conclude that matter, the fox questioned that, “If we animals have such common sense to understand this simple thing, why can’t the humans understand it?”

The existence of exam-fear among the children, in fact, is more of fear of the parents and friends. They (children) have fear of their teachers too. The ratio offear has reduced among the children since the day we have stopped announcing results of the students in the classroom and stopped writing the ranks, First, Second and Third, on the board or in the report card.

Jaydev Sonagara (Excerpt from his book “Parvarish – Making Children Successful”)
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