Pedagogy

INTRODUCTION

PEDAGOGY is another word for education, the profession and science of teaching. The words Pedagogy and Pedagogue come from the Greek paidos "boy, child" with agogos "leader”.

Pedagogy refers to the teaching profession as well as the science of education, especially as a college subject. This might be one reason why the word, pedagogue, is often used for a teacher who is overly interested in rules and details, and thus the science of teaching, rather than actually getting through to his or her students.

Even when I was a student at sir JJ college of Architecture, Bombay, during 1955 to 1960 the instinct for pedagogy was so strong that I kept teaching free hands drawing to art students who along with students from other disciplines were my hostel-mates at Bandra, a suburb of Bombay. When I became a career teacher at Chandigarh College of Architecture a student of mine from Hoshiarpur took me there so that we could visit the famous astrologers who were reputed to possess manuscripts prepared by Bhrigu, a contemporary of the Hindu god Lord Shiva. As the legend has it, the two fell out and separated with Bhrigu declaring that he would prepare a detailed account of three lives of every living being—past, present, and future, so that nobody would have any reason to fear the “Mahadeva” [the great god]. I was amazed to be told certain aspects of my life, but much more than me was my student’s father who was a lawyer and had believed all such things to be mere mumbo-jumbo—and on the previous night almost made fun of me saying, “Bhatti, these children can be misled by such things, but you are an associate professor of a professional college … at least you shouldn’t give young impressionable minds the impression of gullibility!” The astrologer read out my grandfather’s name from off the manuscript, told that I was born in a city whose name started with ‘A’ [Amritsar]—but the most astonishing revelation was that I would be an architect and take architectural education as a career. What I am trying to stress here is not you should believe in astrology like I do to some extent but to heed the moot point that I had it in my DNA to be a teacher—something I had known even at Bombay but couldn’t figure out why. This instinct for pedagogy was to develop under the tutelage of my father who had the uncanny ability [having been a self-taught professional of amazing versatility – architect, artist, model-maker, wood-carver, musicologist, wrestler, political analyst, to mention only a few] to explain even toughest concepts and esoteric beliefs in pragmatic terms.

Thanks to my father’s unremitting non-formal education in religion and spirituality with focus on the practical application of metaphysical ideals to problems during workaday existence I was put in live touch with India’s great tradition painstakingly built by sages, saints, seers, munis, and gurus. This helped me in the subconscious imbibing of some rare human values and qualities that have eventually shaped my persona giving me a distinct way and view of life. I learnt from Lord Rama how to stay composed despite the most formidable challenges in personal and professional life so as not lose sight of the essential divinity lodged within the human cranium. I adopted Lord Krishna’s playfulness who used it as a unique way of transmitting esoteric knowledge of the highest kind. I dare say I have cultivated the rare ability to do riotous comedy on any situation and profound reflection on Spiritual Realities in the same breath! I came to admire Lord Vishwakarma, the celestial architect of the universe, for his unmatched proficiency in creating the universe only with two elements: Time and Space. From the Buddha I have learnt the use of rationality in dealing with subjects esoteric and the art of remaining clear-headed. Guru Nanak Dev has taught me how to deploy the courage of my convictions in the most trying situations and circumstances without leaving the quiet nobility of ‘Humility’. This rarest of rare virtue he has made the cardinal principle of the Sikh Faith. That he had the rarest of guts to call Babur ‘Jabar’ (Tyrant) right in the public square demonstrates the enormous innate power of ‘Humility’.

In view of this unusual background, it shouldn’t be difficult for you appreciate how I have developed what are now designated as “out of the box” ideas concerning pedagogy. Without having read anything formal about pedagogy, which in any case is a confusing compendium of concepts, methods, and theories, I have come up with highly simplified notions which are as easy of comprehension as of application—universally in all fields of human endeavour. I have identified four of them: the Humanities, Art, Science, and Technology. To these I have added the study of Religion and Culture as chief, indispensable instruments of apprehending the outer or the Objective World of Matter and the inner or Subjective World of Mind. From experience and lifelong reflection on the problem of pedagogy I have also identified my own tools of ‘knowing’. These are Theory, Practice, Research, and Pedagogy. Thus, in my view, the Humanities think; Art expresses, Science explores, and Technology invents. By the same token, Theory conjures up ideas; Practice puts them into action to test their validity in everyday life; Research investigates; and Pedagogy communicates.

If you as visitors to my website read the material furnished in this Section you will be in touch with my line of thinking and its time-tested value as original contribution to the existing knowledge on the subject that, more often than not, drag you into the blind alleys of rules and regulations rather than motivate you to how you might actually get through to your students if you happen to be a pedagogue.

Hence my definition of L-I-F-E is never-ending Learning to gain deepest Insight for wholesome Fulfilment so that you cultivate effervescent Empathy for all forms of life on planet Earth besides showing undiminished reverence for Mother Nature’s beauty and bounty.

ARTICLES

PowerPoint Presentations by Dr SS Bhatti