Swami Vivekananda says that the major role of education is character building. Teachers can never really teach a student but they can take them forward to find their latent talent within themselves. He says that all knowledge is within each person and all that education and the educator can do to help the student is to guide him to “uncover” the knowledge that is lodged within his mind.
When the knowledge within surfaces education happens and learning takes place. When the individual does not get a chance or opportunity to bring out the dormant knowledge within his mind he stays “illiterate” as we call it. The knowledge is lost under a thick coat of ignorance. The man who discovers his internal knowledge becomes powerful.
The teacher’s job is basically to help the student to wake up the dormant knowledge lying within the students mind. The student will then learn the technique of externalizing his latent knowledge and discover his potency.
The divine spark that each individual possesses does not surface for all. The light is suffused due to ignorance and selfishness. To clear this and let the light shine brightly, one must learn to live a life of virtue and selflessness. The virtuous life that Sri Ramakrishna , Vivekananda’s spiritual Guru led, made his divinity shine out like a bright light from within.
Like a seed that is sown, watered and protected, a child, has to be given the right inputs to help his intellect grow. The child with the right guidance from the teachers will grow successfully and learn to use his sense of seeing, hearing and the use of his limbs positively and in the process discover his intellect in due course that makes him “educated”. No teacher can really teach says Swami Vivekananda.
Encouragement and kindness from Parents and Teachers is a key to help educate a child and allow him to blossom. A critical parent will only dwarf a child’s mental growth and stagnate his ability to think. A parent as well as the teacher has to be kind and gentle to the student and goad him to discover the knowledge that lies within him. Positive guidance will help the student to become independent and self-sufficient. While checking one should always praise the right actions and guide the child to correct patiently his mistakes. The teacher has to work according to the pace of the pupil and not criticize him if he is not as fast as the teacher expects him to be.
Swami Vivekananda says the teacher has no right to think that he is superior to his student. The student should be given all freedom to discover his potential at his own pace. The facilitator has to take his role as “worship” as he guides the student to uncover the divine spark within.
Learning by heart matter from books, not even knowing the meaning is hardly education, says Swami Vivekananda. Filling one’s brain with stuff from books with a goal to achieve a degree is not real education at all. Matter learnt through rote learning never stays and cannot be termed as “education”. Whatever is learnt by heart never stays in the mind for life and cannot be a lesson for life nor will it ever help in character building.
Education should help in molding character, make the mind strong and widen the intellect so that man can become self-sufficient, earn for a living and also save for the future. Education’s ultimate aim should be “man-making” as Swami Vivekananda terms it. The main key to achieve education is mastering “concentration” and not mere study of facts.