Small things do matter. A group of students/researchers coming together, reflecting on life and culture, seeing the significance of reflexive pedagogy, engaging with children, and trying to make a difference in the way they learn, explore and see the world—an event of this kind in a world—otherwise characterized by cynicism and despair—is indeed a great art. It reveals our innate possibilities; it shows that a positive/creative action, irrespective of its scale, is the only mode of resistance we are gifted with. Yes, we realize that not everything is fine with our education—the way schools function, organize bounded disciplines and information-centric knowledges, pressurize children, evoke restlessness and competitiveness, and restrain their imagination. And quite often some of us remain happy with just theorizing the crisis. Or, we tend to say that all that the likes of Tagore and Krishnamurthy talked about are utopian—a prestige symbol for elite ‘alterative’ schools. As a result, nothing changes; only our cynicism grows. It is at this juncture that our initiative acquires its significance. It is an act of resistance against despair. Because it believes in doing, not just theorizing. Through a real…living engagement with the children of not so privileged schools it realizes that it is possible to learn meaningfully, creatively. Education can be a celebration!
Here is a magazine that emerges out of this reflexive practice. Nothing is bookish; the articles published here emerge out of this constant mediation between ideas and experimentations. A mother reveals her concerns, a teacher narrates her experiences, a seeker writes about her engagement with Tagore’s powerful critique of the dominant pattern of education, a young dreamer writes about his pedagogic experiment—the way he arouses the child’s imagination in the study of history, a teacher makes mathematic experiential and life-affirming, we initiate a discussion with the children of KendriyaVidyalaya at Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand—a dialogic piece emerges out of this interaction, and a group of university researchers reflect on the workshops we conduct—the articles, we believe, would make you think and reflect.
The New Leaf is not an academic journal. Nor is it a newsletter. Instead, it is a magazine that seeks to communicate—and communicate with clarity and authenticity—with its readers: teachers and parents, students and educationists, and all those who have not yet lost their dreams, and take them to the realm of concrete pedagogic practices and meaningful education. There is no big design, no sponsor; it has emerged out of our own initiative. It is indeed like the new leaf—simple, fresh and beautiful. It is only through the active cooperation of our readers and well-wishers that the plant we are nurturing can eventually evolve as a beautiful banyan tree.