Study could easily have been the second name of every GBSS Hostel Boy. The only thing we did more than studying was eating – three regular meals per day plus Afternoon Tea… Except on Saturdays, we had study periods every day of the week and twice on Sunday (seriously). Saturday evenings was reserved for “Literary League” at which we honed skills in debating, presentations, and parliamentary procedure.
Study Period began promptly at 8 p.m. Study periods were: Forms II-III (8 p.m.-9 p.m.), and Form IV (to 10 p.m.). Forms V and VI regulated their own study after 10 p.m. These were people studying for annual external examinations
By the end of year 1, any boy would be acclimatized to organized study. The younger boy linked impressive results by seniors to seeing them hard at studying. The presence of seniors in the study room was always a damper to any junior exuberance. In addition, Prefects were always present to have any errant boy stand in the corner and still do his work. So Hostel Boys became ‘students’ who took studying very seriously. Boys developed their own study methods and timetables. Secondly, meaningful study took you into a world of reading, thinking, taking ideas apart and then reconstructing them. This was not a ‘passing fancy’ but something you discovered later was what effective people did in working life. And study required discipline; something had to be given up (sleep, perhaps) to do it, and to do it well.
I am often at odds with the North American concept of ‘students having fun in the classroom’. Some teachers equate entertainment in the class with fun. The experts themselves do not specify what will guarantee this objective. I don’t see how they could since study enjoyment is so personal. My own view of what is fun in classes or individual studying is purely and simply discovery – discovering some new twist to an old problem; discovering what the author of a text is trying to communicate; or seeing the possibilities from new angles, even if you might not necessarily agree with some views.
Much of this ability to discovering new leads and understanding communication comes from an ability to read. Many adult students, for example, would be horrified if they were told that they do not, or cannot read well. This includes not having developed the ability to ask what the author is trying to communicate, far less to understand what the author is trying to say, and to add their own thoughts from their own experiences. The latter point is important. I, for one, was not averse to penciling notes in my textbook, even to express what farmers’ bulls do, when I did not agree with an author. But then I had to have a dissenting and reasonable view!
Studying, like other aspects of young life, should set the individual up for later life. I used to tell my children, and I now tell my grandchildren that they have a job. Being a student is a job! Their job as students is to study. They get paid by their parents with love, food, clothes and shelter, the same stuff that their teacher buys with her wages. So the lesson is to work hard at studying; do a good job at it; and that will serve them well in later life. Anybody against this motion?