Photo by LA MM: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-origami-paper-1582782/

by Sargun Singh

I don’t know how I got good at it

In the current education system, children learn through a monotonous cycle of lectures and exams that leads to a state of disinterest. This indifference toward learning leads to a lack of creativity and innovative thinking that society arguably needs. Some may argue that this form of teaching is necessary for students to acquire new information. However, the “Hole in the Wall” experiment by Indian computer scientist and educational theorist Sugata Mitra has proven otherwise. 

For this project, Mitra embedded computers in slums all over the world where children did not go to school or know how to use the internet. He returned to these places a couple of months later to find that these children had learned different applications of the computer and were able to teach them to others. Mitra summarized his findings by stating, “Children will learn to do what they want to learn to do.” 

A more recent case in which this discovery has appeared viable is that of my brother, eleven-year-old Arjan Singh from California. During the 2020-2021 school year, he found himself with little motivation to complete his school work and a lot of boredom. He then decided to address this, using some instruction from the internet, and learned how to make origami. Arjan soon found himself folding five to ten different cranes, dragons, or dinosaurs out of squares of paper every day from memory. “I don’t know how I got good at it. I just liked doing it,” he told me.

Sugata Mitra’s idea of self-teaching is certainly credible, since it is clear that as long as they have an interest in doing so, a child can master any skill they wish.