“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” This is a famous quote by Sydney J Harris, an American Journalist. A beautiful sentence indeed with depth.

Turning a mirror into a window means looking into yourself to see the world. It is like you see what you are. Mirror shows us what we are outwardly, but a window within shows us the whole world. The objective of citing this sentence is to enlighten the minds of people regarding the vast number of opportunities we get in life. Therefore, I need to ask myself, Am I self-centred or other-centred? Can I look at reality beyond myself?

The notion of education varies from person to person. All are unique; hence education is also unique for all. Education is a process of exploring one’s views and ideas in learning. Education should be like a window which helps to expand your horizons, while a mirror only shows what you already know.

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Education is an ongoing process. It begins at conception in the mother’s womb and ends in the tomb. It helps people to form, reform and transform themselves as literate persons in the society. Education enables people to know themselves and know the world beyond their comfort zones. The mirror not only acts as a barrier but also does not allow the individual to see beyond himself/herself, whereas windows act as various opportunities to see the world through different lenses.

In real education, students need not only bookish knowledge but also practical knowledge to face problems, difficulties, challenges and hardships in life. Teach and train them to live a purpose driven life. Rick Warren in his book ‘A Purpose-driven Life' says: This book teaches people how to achieve spiritual growth by following Christian values. It tells them to think of the world as temporary and prepare for life in heaven, where they will be with God. We were made in God’s image and are meant to share his love with others. This is what we as teachers need to understand and guide and accompany our students.  Education means overall growth and development of an individual. Education should broaden our views on General Knowledge, knowing the culture and traditions of our country as well as others, and so on. 

The main focus of education is to harness a person’s natural talents by letting them study what they are good at rather than what their parents regard as prestigious. As a famous philosopher Lao Tsu said: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” If this were the governing principle for education reform, the promise of a more prosperous future would be brighter. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He is a renowned world leader and he has proved his worth. From him we can state that education is very much needed to develop our country and thereby change the world.

I, as a B.Ed. trainee is encouraged to emulate the practice of the teaching profession and to improve through my reflective silence, committed study, hard work and perseverance. I have become much more self-critical. Now I am more prepared to find ways and means of bringing about a possible solution to help working on better quality education.

As a B.Ed. trainee, the student-teaching experience allows oneself to put into practice everything that is learned about education in the classroom setting. I have learnt many life skills to cope with various circumstances. I have obtained knowledge, experience, and methodology in a systematic approach. All these learnings will be handy in my teaching profession.  With self-introspection, I have realised that I can become a good educator who can understand the problems of a young learner. I have become an extrovert and I am confident and equipped with various teaching skills and ready to plunge into the world to ignite minds and hearts of the young learners.

Eventually, I can say self-help is the best help but helping others to help themselves is real service to humanity. This is being manifested through my opening sentence of this essay, ‘The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.’                           

About the Author :

Sr. Rani Nanduri (S.U) is currently pursuing BEd studies at St Aloysius Institute of Education, Mangalore.


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