“The purpose, the aim and drive of these schools, is to equip the child with the most excellent technological proficiency so that the student may function with clarity and efficiency in the modern world. A far more important purpose than this is to create the right climate and environment so that the child may develop fully as a complete human being. This means giving the child the opportunity to flower in goodness, so that he or she is rightly related to people, things and ideas, to the whole of life…That is the issue in education: to see that when the child leaves the school, he is well established in goodness, both outwardly and inwardly.”
- Krishnamurti on Education
“Intelligence is the capacity to deal with life as a whole; and giving grades or marks to the student does not assure intelligence. On the contrary it degrades human dignity. This comparative evaluation cripples the mind—which does not mean that the teacher must not observe the progress of every student and keep a record of it. Parents, naturally anxious to know the progress of their children, will want a report; but if, unfortunately, they do not understand what the educator is trying to do, the report will become an instrument of coercion to produce the results they desire, and so undo the work of the educator.”
[J. Krishnamurti, Life Ahead]
The following pieces are intended to give a flavour of the process of periodical reporting on the child’s life and work at four of the Krishnamurti schools. The reports are a culmination of a year-long process of careful observations and insights into the students’ growth. These observations are made in a wide variety of contexts, ranging from the games field to the classroom to the hostel. The report is also an attempt to bring the parents into the process of education at many levels, as it is essential that they understand what the school is attempting to do.
The four pieces cover reporting for the kindergarten, junior, middle and senior school student and have excerpts from the actual reports written by different teachers compiled by the author. Although the specific structures and methodologies of reporting may differfrom one school to another, the underlying principles remain the same.
The writing of reports consistently raises some of the most fundamental questions for teachers. Are we able to look at the whole person in each student? Can we perceive her specific behaviour and responses in various areas of school as part of a movement of growing life? To what extent do we become aware of the inner learning processes—in the classroom and elsewhere? When we identify areas of difficulty are we able to discern and help to unravel the underlying factors, so that there is a ‘freeing up’ possible? Or are we in fact sometimes creating hindrances, through narrow categorizations and expectations that push a child’s growth into limited, even contradictory, channels? What part are we actually able to play in the wholesome growth of our student? While making comments and suggestions to the parents in the reports, to what extent are we too taking responsibility for the child?
It is in engaging with such questions, that we reconnect with the raison d’être of education, and report writing becomes much more than a burdensome term-end ritual. (Eds.)