Tagore- An Educator with a difference

‘Education’ said Anon, ‘does not commence with the alphabet ; it begins with a mother’s look, with a father’s nod of approbation or a sign of reproof; with a sister’s gentle pressure of the hand, or a brother’s noble act of forbearance.’ Such perhaps was the ideal education that had existed in ancient India which had a unique system of ‘Gurukul’ or ‘the adobe of spiritual teacher’. But with the advent of British, great importance was attached to English literature and English history. Also there was excess theory in the system and too little of practice. But, Rabindranath Tagore gave a serious thought to the enormous damage that was being caused to the soul of India. He was the first to think in terms of the education in terms of masses in India, long before India got independence, and probably was the first who ventured to make bold experiments in education, and also to make world known that India has something to contribute to others.

Born on 7th may, 1861 in Kolkata, Tagore was the youngest of the 13 surviving children of Devendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. His childhood was not the bright one. He did not have regular schooling. He was greatly displeased with the atmosphere of school, namely the hard benches, dull prison like walls, dead books and, of course, discipline. He wanted schools to be natural but they were not so. His childhood experiences gave him perfect understanding of child’s mind and he had broken the tradition in striking a new path in his method of teaching. His method of teaching was characterised by freedom. He did not believe in routine method of teaching.Being an educationalist of creative genius, he did not believe in formal or set rules of teaching. His methods were suggestive rather than perspective. In 1900, he decided to found a school and choose Shantiniketan as the right place for it. He also found other institutions like Vishwa Bharti and Shreeniketan.

Tagore is also known for the...