In the News (from BBC News): “Professor Sugata Mitra, from Newcastle University, wanted to know what happens when the adults stand back and allow children to use a PC unsupervised.
“This year, Professor Mitra is conducting a series of experiments in locations around the world including Brazil and India, in which children are given access to computers without a teacher to guide them.
“One location is a ‘suitcase school’ classroom, in Kiddapore in Calcutta, India. The school which is run by an ngo to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds more access to education.
“In Kiddapore, Professor Mitra asked teachers are asked to stand back and let the mouse teach. Teachers observed impact on behaviour.
“In particular, a pupil who had misbehaved was helping younger children use the PC, and acting as their teacher.
“This is not the first time that Professor Mitra has asked academics and educators to think twice about a teachers role.
“In 1999, he launched a set of experiments known as ‘Hole in the wall’ in a slum wall in Delhi, India.
“Given access to computers, Mitra observed that children started to learn English and naturally fell into organised learning groups.”
My Comment: This is the ancient tradition of studying the Torah and Kabbalah: Students must first hear the teacher and then discuss the studied material together. The Talmud is studied by several students in a group discussing it without a teacher.
Our workshops (sadna) is arranged in the same way: The teacher or moderator sets a theme or question, which is then discussed by the group of two to ten students. If there are more than ten students, another group is created.