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Child is the teacher of man

Apr 08,2019 - Last updated at Apr 08,2019

His Majesty King Abdullah puts a great emphasis on Jordanian talents to interact with the world of the fourth industrial revolution. In his speech to 17th World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa on April 6, that theme came across quite vividly.

In his famous poem “The Rainbow”, William Wordsworth said: “The child is father of the man.” We do not know what exactly the English poet had meant, but commentators explained it by saying that man is the product of his childhood ideas, impressions, lessons and experiences. These shape the future man emanating from this child.

I propose that we make an amendment to this line. Let me say that, while Wordsworth is right, it is equally correct to say that children are assuming the role of the teacher. The traditional view of a teacher to be older and smarter than students is now becoming defunct and unreflective of the real world.

In the age of the fourth industrial revolution, such a relation has been disrupted and even reversed. The children of today can master ICT products and electronic gadgets much more efficiently than their stumbling stuttering parents. At age of three or four, my grandchildren know of the new-age products and services than I can ever hope to know.

Such a role reversal is bound to affect the parent-child and the teacher-child relations. We need a new pedagogical approach to learning. Talented children need to be encouraged by acknowledging their capabilities and helping them not only to use, but to innovate and discover new uses and new products and services. We need a generation which has the courage to dare into the future unfettered.

If we want Jordan to be what the King aspires for, we need to work on the children of Jordan. The current adult generation is afraid of the electronic government, of changing a career, of venturing into the private sector. Yet, we have a good convincing number of young men and women who thrive on the opposite and, in the process, they succeed in making a large bundle.

We should teach our children to be our teachers. This way, we can shape our future with them. Those are the inheritors of a great civilisation, and they can procreate a new one.

How can we enter the gate of a new age without scientific research that energises itself by mixing the theoretical with the practical. Unless we shorten the distance between theory and technology, we will remain in our current position with time passing us by. We neither want that, nor do we need it.

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