We believe that education is not for life but is life itself.
At Furthering Education we are a team of experienced and mindful educators working with schools worldwide to enhance the quality of their education. Teacher training and building experiential learning into existing curricula have formed the core of our work. Our varied experiences have helped us evolve an understanding of education that balances both the academic and the experiential.
Now we are focusing our passion for creating dynamic learning environments closer to home in Goa by starting The Learning Centre.
The core team at TLC consists of Nandita Deosthale and Anjuli Kaul. Others who support us include people passionate about diverse interests ranging from juggling, sports and woodworking to literature, mosaic and some things prosaic.
Nandita has been actively involved in educational environments for over 15 years. While at the UWC Mahindra College (Pune) she designed and implemented the experiential learning curriculum for more than 1000 students from over 65 nations and created partnerships with at least 30 NGOs to enable this learning. She has taught classical and folk dance, organised and run short courses related to environment, development, art, religion and service for students from India and other countries. She is currently an active homeschooler and co-founder of Furthering Education. A self-motivated leader and graceful team player, she brings to The Learning Centre her vast experience in building and managing organisations, working with children and young adults, her sunny disposition and her spontaneity. Alongside education, she enjoys reading, dancing and swimming. And watching her flowers grow. Finally!
Anjuli has been a teacher for over 3 decades in national and international schools in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. She has taught Hindi, Social Studies, Mathematics, Environmental Geography and Physical Education to students from the ages of 10 to 12, and History, Political Science, Human Rights and Epistemology to students from the ages of 13 to 19. Over the years she has also put together and led student study tours and hikes, helped develop and align curriculum, been an active member of academic affairs committees, and has written on education for various journals and forums. She is currently involved in a literary retelling of the Mahabharata in 12 volumes, is working on envisioning a human rights curriculum for middle schools in western India, some voluntary teaching and writing book reviews. Alongside education, she is passionate about reading, writing, theatre, organic farming and sustainable living. And watching sunsets.
The Learning Centre is open to anyone looking for a non-formal learning space centred on a person’s sense of wonder, creativity and love of life. Even if you are homeschooling your child, there are things we can do as a collective that may be difficult to do on your own.
Inspired by Russell, Tagore, Gandhi, Freire, Krishnamurti and a host of other thinkers, we want to create an environment in which your child is free to ask fundamental questions, to develop respect for all life, and to “learn to read reality so that they can write their own history”. (Paulo Freire)
TLC provides a safe, cosy, friendly space for children explore their interests and play an active role in their own learning. Our centre provides a happy balance between experiential and academic learning, where your child can reflect on what we have learned both indoors and outdoors.
We have a vast network of resource people in unique fields who will come in to lead special sessions. Their interests range from carpentry to bicycle maintenance, mathematics and logic to caricature drawing.
We don’t want our children to grow up without basic concepts and skills, but neither do we want them to be alienated from each other and the natural world to which we all belong.
We have intentionally moved away from accreditation with any examining board. Examinations take away valuable time from more meaningful tasks and create unhealthy stress generated by comparison and competition for the highest marks. At TLC, your child will meet new people, engage with differences, and reflect on what and why she is learning.
We believe that education must not stress personal achievement at the cost of emotional connections, intuition and sensitivity. The unequal distribution of power in our societies excludes the values and interests of many groups and individuals. At TLC, we make every effort to be inclusive to the best of our understandings and resources.
As a parent, you have already provided years of love and joyful experiences for your children. We invite you to TLC to enhance these. In the company of other children, your child will encounter new ideas and multiple ways of learning. Join us in our journey of learning, sharing and growing.
In every age, in every part of the world, people have found ways to teach children the things that mattered to them. From music to carpentry to farming, children have always lived and learned alongside their families and communities. Today, we see formal education as a given. We say that children have to go to school – but we forget that they didn’t always do so.
It is only in the past 200 years, or since the beginning of industrialised societies, that this age-old system of learning began to shift. Factories needed to be run, trade led to colonisation, financial operations became wider and more complex. As greater numbers of people began to move to industrial cities, the need for a standardised, pre-determined training for everyone began to take root. And so, formal education was born. Interestingly in some countries, a desire to protect children from exploitative working environments in factories meant that there had to be an alternative space in which their childhood could be protected and that they could grow to their fullest potential. And so, schools were born. And so were truancy laws and now compulsory education. In colonised countries (like India), education in schools focussed on training non-intellectual, obedient babus to serve the British Empire. In response, nationalist schools were determined to produce self reliant patriots in service of the new nation. Today, international schools concentrate on creating global citizens who often serve themselves.
There have always been powerful groups in society, and wherever power exists, it seeks to preserve itself. In many ways, formal education is an extension of that process. No matter what it promises, formal education only reinforces the status quo. It pits children against each other and provides rewards to reach certain goals which are defined in terms of ‘success’. Dancing, cycling and gardening are no longer central to our lives: they are hobbies or extra-curricular activities. The process of formal education belittles natural interests, creates new desires (such as Ivy League schools or lucrative jobs) and then creates a single-track path to fulfil those desires. In this way, formal education has become a business venture. In this system, children are not autonomous individuals; they are products for schools to churn out and fit into necessary niches in both industrial and post-industrial worlds, often with scant respect and love for the earth with its trees and animals which are regarded as natural resources.
Here are a handful of the many reasons you may choose not to send your child to a formal school:
- Most formal education does little to inspire children. When most of us look back on our school days, we tend to remember the things we did outside the classroom – not inside it.
- The school day is often long, wasteful, and constructed so that your child is constantly shifting gears from one mode of thinking to another. There is rarely free time for children to explore what they are interested in.
- Grouping children age-wise is unnatural. From families to gurukuls to apprenticeships, learning – and living – has historically taken place vertically.
- Learning in large groups of students is impractical, because students have different interests and capacities. Smaller groups allow for meaningful interactions.
- The use of marks and examinations means that only a certain type of child can shine, and in a very singular way. The system negates all the intangible, un-measurable aspects of learning.
- Because there is only one system, children try to subvert it in various ways: from cutting classes to copying homework; formal education teaches children to lie and manipulate.
In the last 20 years in India, people have been freeing their children from schools. If you are already on this journey, or would like to be a part of it, TLC could be the place for your child.