TED Conversations

Rohit Daniel

This conversation is closed.

We should include a subject on human relationships and emotions, probably called Human Science, in the core curriculum of our schools.

All of the world's problems stem from our failure to understand our emotions and feelings, and also our failure to understand the nuances of human relationships. If we can only teach our children how to make and maintain meaningful relationships, most of our problems would disappear to a large extent.

Agreed that there will still be exceptional cases where, in spite of the right emotional nurture, certain individuals will still make the wrong choices in life, but we can't ignore the huge difference in the life of millions! Just image, fewer divorces, fewer failures in love, fewer broken hearts, and certainly lesser crime!

We are teaching our children to be better doctors, engineers and other professions, but unfortunately we are missing out the main aspect of their upbringing: Being Human! Perhaps there was a time when we did not need to have to teach our children to be human, but seeing how capitalism has effectively dehumanized us, I strong believe it's time we start teaching our children how to be human and humane once again.

Your views on the subject will be truly insightful for me and also everyone on TED.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 20 2013: In theory this idea is great, but I think you are forgetting something: most adults to not understand emotions and the nuances of human relationships themselves. I don't think this is simply a symptom of our time. In fact, I would argue that we are much more aware (perhaps dangerously TOO aware) of our emotions than decades, centuries, and even millenniums past. Consider the Ancient Greeks. Were there not just as many failures in love and broken hearts?

    Daniel Quinn, in his novel "My Ishmael" enlightens readers to the idea that humans learn naturally. We are hardwired to learn from observation and experience. Quinn argues that schooling can sometimes inhibit natural learning, and I am inclined to agree with him. I don't think that "the meaning of love" can be taught, as you say. Enter a social philosophy class and you can argue about the definition of love until the cows come home, you may not find out what it means to YOU until you experience it for yourself.
    • thumb
      Sep 20 2013: I absolutely agree with you Leilah. We cannot teach our children about love. You misunderstood me. :) I never said anything about teaching them the meaning of love. We can't teach our children the meaning of love. They have to find it out themselves through personal experience, but we sure can guide them in the right direction!

      A wise man once said that there are two ways to learn things. One is through personal experience, the other and more smarter way is to learn from other people's experiences. Wouldn't it be nice if children had the knowledge of our experiences to help them make their own decisions? Yes they would learn from their own experiences but they would be in a better position to choose the right things in life.

      Coming to awareness about emotions, yes in theory and in textbooks we are more aware about our emotions than our forebears but then again too much knowledge can be dangerous too! We have unnecessarily complicated simple things. We are delving into the deeper meaning of things when often a simple understand is all that is needed. This extra knowledge has totally confused everyone. We need to uncomplicate things.

      Considering the ancient Greeks, yes there were many failures in love and broken hearts too. My questions is, why can't we learn from history and try to change things? Why should we just accept such things as the norm? Why can't we try to change things?

      Humans learn naturally but looking at the world around us what do you think they observe and learn? Crime, divorce, anger, war, hatred, corruption! We are at a junction in history where we need to set things in order by teaching our children things that they wouldn't find around them.

      I totally agree with whatever you've said and really respect your views but the times are such that they demand such measures. Schools are absolutely inhibiting natural learning and that is why we need to move away from science and arts to a more human approach to education. :)

      Do give your views. :)
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2013: Rohit, in another comment you said “had someone taught me the meaning of love at that age maybe that relationship wouldn't have ended so bad.” Perhaps this is why I misunderstood. You said that the adults in your life at the time told you not to enter a relationship with this girl and that seemed to be the wrong approach. As an exercise, I’m curious, what would have been a better approach? As an adult with more knowledge about love, what would you say to your former self to prevent that heartbreak?

        I agree completely, it is smarter to learn from the experiences of others than just from our own. And I think it is a great idea to teach more about life in schools that just arts and sciences. I myself have been saying that for years! I think the difficulty would be finding experts in this subject. Experts in math and science have studied those subjects for years and their knowledge is easily testable. Where would we go about finding experts on love, emotion, relationships, and empathy? How can we be sure that the teachers really understand the subject enough to teach it to our youth?
        • thumb
          Sep 21 2013: Thank you for pointing that out Leilah. Yes I did mention that I would have loved it had someone told me about love back then but I would be foolish to believe that you can teach the meaning of love to children. As an adult though I would teach my former self that love is about giving and not taking. Love doesn't feel jealous and is not possessive.

          You see one of the reasons why that relationship ended was because I was too jealous and possessive. In the end she just dumped. When I look back now I find it silly that I was so jealous and possessive. Tell me your first boyfriend was as jealous and possessive! At that stage we misunderstand a lot of things about love. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone to guide us in our journey towards finding the true meaning of life? :)

          As a teacher I have tried my best to teach youngsters how to form meaningful relationships. I can't say I have succeeded 100%. I haven't even succeeded 50%, but yes I have seen a difference in the lives of the children I have been associated with.

          Regarding finding experts, we got to start somewhere. Our world didn't come up with math and science experts overnight. These subjects gradually became mainstream subjects after decades, maybe centuries of learning. If we start now, someday we'll have human science taught as a separate branch of studies and there will be experts on this subject too.

          For now I believe we have to have to set up a research team and come up with a definite plan. The next step would be to convince schools to include this subject as a core subject. Then we have to go about training the current teachers as best as we can. We have to make a start somewhere, don't we?
      • thumb
        Sep 23 2013: Yes! I do think we need to start somewhere! And I love your optimistic attitude :) I hope you realize that I only play devil's advocate in order to encourage progress. We must ask ourselves these difficult questions in order to get anywhere. It is not simply enough to say "we should start this program in schools" without analyzing what exactly we would teach and who exactly would teach it.
        • thumb
          Sep 23 2013: Leilah I really appreciate your opinions and your comments. We really need people like you to give realistic goals to dreamers like me. :) I have a dream and a vision which I want to share with everyone. I dream of a better world like everyone else. I can't make it better on my own, but together we stand a good chance. :)
    • thumb
      Sep 20 2013: Leilah, I agree that we are hard wired to learn by observation and some of us more than others. I also agree that a lot of parents are not fit to teach these complex issues to their children. That is exactly why teaching human behavior in schools would be beneficial. Just like children from illiterate families would not have a chance to get educated if you took that approach for human behavior. You don't have to teach love or hate because those are feelings that come from within; however you can teach about autism and let the non autistic children learn why the autistic child behaves in a certain way and how he might behave socially awkward but still have mental capacities that the normal children don't. Men know this days how women act differently at a certain time of the month due to hormonal causes. Kids would benefit to know that the kid that acts like a bully does it maybe to hide a personal feeling of insecurity, that some kids are introverts or timid...but they are worth being your friend as much as the cool extroverts...
      These just to give a few examples. Some people have and intrinsic talent to understand human motivation but some people don't and they need to be thought...and literacy in this area would benefit every one
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2013: There is so much for me to learn from you Anairda. Life has certainly taught you many lessons and you seem to have learnt them well. This is exactly what I mean when I say we should teach our child human behavior in schools. We don't have to teach them how the human mind works or the theories on emotions. It should be more practical and should involve sharing our collective experiences with them. It's as simple as that! It could involve real life experiences, case studies, role playing, etc.

        I don't know how things are in Europe and the US, but here in India things are bad. Neither parents nor teachers set a good example for the children. When children grow up seeing corruption all around them, they end up thinking that it's fine to pay a bribe. When they grow up, it doesn't hurt their conscience to accept and pay brides to get their work done. We need to teach them to think for themselves. We need them to understand that we can create a better world.
      • thumb
        Sep 21 2013: Anairda, I like this idea as well, of teaching children about autism and the underlying emotions of bullies and the meaning of introverts and extroverts. This all sounds great! I would like to point out that ALL of these topics would easily be covered in a basic psychology class. Sure, we can restructure the class a bit so that it is a bit more practical and less theoretical, but I think the basic idea is there: children will learn to understand the behaviors of others and hopefully therefore empathize.

        I think what I’m getting at is that perhaps we do not need to create an entire new field of study, but just focus on the restructuring of subjects in schools. Focus on what subjects take priority. For example, I did not take a psychology class, was not even offered a class in psychology, until high school! If psychology is introduced at a younger age it might help to encourage empathy among youngsters. But this is just one idea …

        I also think a major flaw in our education system, which adds to the inhibition of natural learning, is the concept of teaching through and lecturing as opposed to discussion and thinking! Perhaps philosophy should also be introduced at a younger age! This would encourage children to think for themselves, creatively and logically, and perhaps reflect on life more so that they can better learn from experience.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.