Out of the Comfort Zone

Out of the Comfort Zone

One thing that effective schooling should empower children growing up in the 21st century with, is to acknowledge rapid change and volatility as the chief characteristics of contemporary life as well as nurture the capacity to arrive at ingenious out-of-the-box responses and solutions. It is easy to say but something very difficult to achieve. Human beings have almost always sought the safety of a comfort zone made up of very carefully cultivated principles, habits, routines, customs and beliefs to guide their thoughts, actions and decisions in dealing successfully with the generally foreseeable range of fluctuations of life. Now, the demands for constant exploration of new and unknown terrain to contend with the ever-changing universe would more often than not render such a comfort zone somewhat irrelevant.

No new or creative human endeavour has ever occurred or can ever take place without people possessing the courage as also the competencies to take on unfamiliar situations with proper foresight and planning and the determination to deal with the consequent uncertainties, adversities and even failure. In popular parlance, such people are called risk-takers. However, the slow-witted brains too possess a certain predisposition for taking risks as they tend to rush in where angels fear to tread. It is therefore most important for discerning risk-takers to be independent enough to go against the tide but also to be responsible enough to think and act in a manner calculated to rationally point to the possibilities of successfully achieving the desired consequences for the collective good.

Usually, the educational systems followed in nearly all schools actually reinforce the establishment of secure guidelines intended to bring about pre-fixed and expected outcomes with regard to learning, knowledge acquisition and lifestyles. They also lay emphasis on a philosophy that advocates so-called controlled, safe and as far as possible risk-free behavioural patterns. These are often means through which those in power regulate people from a young age and deter conduct that may impede the accomplishment of their vested interests.

School teachers and students of India today must comprehend themselves as dynamic partners in proactive learning with equivalent responsibilities who investigate uncharted territory together to evolve innovative strategies and solutions for learning, creating and applying knowledge. Schools should initiate action to reinvent themselves and fundamentally change the functions of students, teachers, classrooms and other learning spaces. For instance, when experts train students and teachers together to integrate the use of new technologies and facilitate the highest levels of learning in all school subjects, it inspires the growth of an entirely new bond of trust and reliance between the mentor or teacher and the mentee or student. Sending groups of teachers and students on excursions to places where they can face unexpected challenges together and overcome the traditional feelings of animosity and alienation. Institutions, teachers and students must liberate themselves from traditional comfort zones and socially advocated non-risky deportment in order to become adaptable and receptive to all kinds of shifts of circumstances and coordinates.

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