Political lessons: Learning out of text books
I am not giving any political commentary. It is rather lessons that can be learnt reading
newspapers, watching TV channels especially by secondary and senior secondary school
children. I know normally we discourage our children to watch TV or read. How many of us as teachers
or parents encourage children to read daily newspapers and watch International and few good national
news channels. Are we rational on these?
For example knowing activities like Presidential election in US, Veto
by China, Constitutional Referendum in Ireland, UK, Australia at
international level and imposition of President rule under article 356,
role of center and state in this provision, Money bill, role of assembly
speaker, governor and president, anti-defection law, role of High
courts and Supreme courts in upholding constitution and so on….out
of text books.
Habits of Reading & Listing TV debates:
Not everything which we read in newspaper or watch in TV is complete and perfect. But reading diverse
views, editorial, concerned articles and verifying it with appropriate books and debating it in the class
would help teachers to complete the course, for which they push themselves to provide answers and
push children to memories every chapter. My choice would be The Hindu, Pioneer, Telegraph, Asian
Age, Indian Express, New York Times, The Guardian, Economic & Political Weekly, Outlook, Frontline etc.
and knowing implications of these events at local level through good local dailies may be useful.
Hearing debate of experts on these issues gives a lot of insights, critical views. My choice would be BBC,
CNN, NDTV, Fox News etc.
Learning Lessons out of text books:
Learning about democratic setups in the world or for that matter other
systems of rule Socialistic, Communism, Republic, Crown etc. through these
mediums. Nowadays Presidential elections in US are going on and one day
we will come to know that someone has become the president. But to know
the beauty of US Democracy and democratic processes where one party
gives chance to more than one person within party and win the primaries through open voting pattern,
would be good learning in political study. Student can compare two
democracies-India & US.
Learning on the recent use of article 356 and ways to impose president rule
in states, powers & limitations of constitutional bodies etc. through
classroom debates and discussions based on newspaper versions.
This whole exercise will develop critical thinking and rational thinking among students.
Anup Badola, Founder Director DRISTE, Dehradun