Don’t be a parrot . . !


LET’S stop being parrots! Years ago, I had a class master who was very fond of dictating notes. That was okay by me because it was a lot better than listening to his otherwise very boring lectures.

But what got me quite riled was his insistence later that his notes be vomited back verbatim in the tests and the terminal exams. Even if a word was missing, even if you tried to use your own explanations it was a big zero that would be found at the end of the page.

“Sir,” I used to say, “the answer is right, why haven’t you given me any marks?” “Are the words the same as the notes I gave you?” he would ask, scowling. He believed there was only one way to pass an exam and that was the ‘parrot’ way; mugging and repeating! He did not believe and I suspect that he did not know that there were any other methods of getting through a test.

There is and it is by far the best method; the method of learning to understand. Poor man, I doubt he really understood his subject. He had obviously studied all his notes by heart and had managed to get through all his examinations till finally as a teacher he expected his students to do the same. And to be very truthful that’s what a lot of us do.

Instead, start understanding my young friends what you are studying and suddenly a whole new world opens up to you. Start comprehending what you are asked to do instead of mechanically repeating an action and your brain starts becoming alert and agile and active. You will find that suddenly you’ll be able to solve not only the problems in your study world but the problems in your daily life. Your brain is being used and once it starts functioning again it works overtime to look after you.

And for those of you who want to continue mugging; slowly and gradually your mind will stop working because it will realise it is not needed at all. You will find yourself becoming a bore to others because you’ve stopped thinking and there is nothing of value you will be able to contribute to a conversation.

It’s not going to be easy because we have been trained especially in our educational institutions to learn by rote. There may be opposition from teachers and even parents. But that’s okay. They have minds where only the memory cells are functioning whereas you will be able to solve the world’s problems!

Remember: The world has progressed because of people who thought and questioned and understood, and not because of any contribution by parrots. And maybe if we stopped being parrots we will stop repeating meaningless thoughts put into our heads by communal leaders and think positive thoughts leading to a harmonious country ..!


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