For most of us growing up, this idiom ensured we got full marks in the grammar section of the Language paper, and for some of us, we attempted to use many more like these in the composition section to impress the teacher with all that we were taught (ask any Queen Marian, and each one of us will vouch that we used these at every opportunity possible)! So when my twelve year said, “What a ghastly thought … killing two birds with one shot. Clearly animal activists were not as active then, else, this would be on social media and the whole world would be reacting!”
I must admit: This is the first time I considered the ‘literal’ interpretation of the statement for as a student, my mind was conditioned in a particular way to ‘learn’ the ‘expression’ only.
As an educator, when reflecting on this statement, it did make me wonder: Why did we never question this when we were kids? Did we not have the ability to think, or were we content that the teacher’s task was to share content, and as students, our job was to retain it without question? Were we just innocent or is this generation entrusted with the task of questioning everything or perhaps the exposure makes them naturally expressive, ‘unnecessarily’ so?
Brings me to the important point of content curation – can we afford as teachers today to continue to ‘teach’ without a consideration simply because it is mentioned in our syllabus? Are we prepared to answer questions that the children may have and importantly, can we admit, that some of it is ….well, debatable? Are we able to put things in perspective? Can we explain circumstances around which this was originated?How many of us will admit that this particular idiom is an interesting play of words and perhaps a little insensitive?As a team responsible for teacher training and skill development, we often ideate new ways of delivering content because this clearly is the need of the hour – how to reach out to every child and ensure they understand. But clearly apart from innovation in teaching, we do need to consider content being delivered, and this is what will make it a complete package! It can’t be one or the other, it must come together – be relevant and more importantly put in perspective for children.Often as educators, we grapple with the correct and incorrect answer and it may be worth our time to invest in a little bit of the ‘grey’ areas. We have got to break those boundaries and move into a more seamless environment where students are invited to question and yet accept some aspects of the learning the way it is. This is a huge life skill that we will be able to nurture in the generation that will eventually take their place in the industry and lead decisions. A generation, unlike us, empowered to think but also remain open minded to imperfections of life. This simple acceptance will make them more complete.
I say this in context of what is emerging in our society today. There is this huge debate about everything and anything, and sometimes, we need to take stock of what we are saying: What needs a discussion, what needs a rationale and what needs to be accepted in context.
Perhaps then, young students will not become so opinionated and take extreme positions but remain respectful and open minded. It is up to our generation to give them this platform for the sake of our future.
Perhaps plan ahead to make sure the problem of ‘trolls’ is manageable.
Food for thought?
My response to my little man, “Sure, a bit insensitive. Originated at a time when this thought drove home a point given it was a way of life. But the beauty of evolution is that things change. And perhaps instead of the more literal meaning, the connection to ‘getting many things done’ at the same time is more relevant today. Definitely drives home a point in this world where the word ‘multitasking’ is what everyone talks about. And this idiom holds its ground even years later in this era with a deeper connection of not taking it literally and being sensitive to what is happening in the world today!”