Intuition Is a Skill and Like Any Other Skill, It Can Be Developed - Dr. Anshul Taneja

The purpose of teaching is not to transfer information and knowledge. It is to help unfold the potential of the student’s mind for effective use in life. Once this objective is adopted, technology can be easily adapted to support teaching in classes. 

1. Tell us more about your experience as an educator. 

Being an educator is like a journey with its own adventures. It is a journey with young minds learning to face life to achieve their dreams. They just need to be given a direction and supporting oil at times, and slowly their flames kindle up to become self-sufficient fires. The real challenge lies with those who do not have dreams. 

I feel that education is not about stuffing up bright minds with knowledge and concepts, rather it is awakening them to the world of possibilities. Concepts should help them perceive new ways of thinking and exploring what is around them which will inevitably help them take more creative and holistic decisions in life. 

However, currently, concepts are a heavy burden on most and dampen whatever inspiration of creativity that may exist. “Education is the kindling of a flame not the filling of a Vessel. - Socrates”

2. What is your opinion of the Indian education system and how would you like to change that? 

The Indian education system is knowledge focused. It banks on a heavy syllabus-based learning. Somewhere we have forgotten that the nurturing of minds does not happen by thrusting information and facts on them. Academic committees and syllabus revision meetings busy themselves year in and out on content—what to retain, modify or remove. 

Yet they ignore the development of the minds, the tendencies that would develop in the mind and the processes of decision making. The attitude of teaching each subject should be an exploration into a new world allowing students to react differently and choose their own perspectives. 

I would like to see the education system move away from being a biscuit-making factory (converting everyone into the same memorizers of a common syllabus) into a dynamic simulation of real-world challenges and decision making. The system should teach young minds to introspect on their value systems and define their priorities along with their long term aspirations. 

This should go hand in hand with subjects on training their minds for resilience, patience, open-mindedness, exploration and creativity. Content based subjects should be taught with flexible syllabi specifying only broad outcomes, thereby allowing faculty and students to design their own class-specific outcomes. A total ‘U-turn’ in pedagogy is required. 

3. What changes in the teaching methodologies have you seen in recent times? 

Recent times, especially under COVID Lockdown, have ushered in online teaching methodologies with a variety of apps and websites offering real-time, online collaboration tools. Project management tools like Trello, online bulletin boards like Padlet and ‘break-out rooms’ in Zoom have contributed to a richness in pedagogy apart from the existing Google Classroom and Meet modes of teaching. 

4. How does education help one do well in their career? 

The current education system helps build relevant knowledge, skills and awareness. The combined exposure enables the mind to be open to different areas of work available. 

Many courses even act as launch platforms for a corporate career. Education also enables interaction with peers which is an important source of learning crucial interpersonal skills required in career. Over time, education helps carve the unique identity of a student as he /she steps out into the threshold of a career. 

5. Do you think teaching as a profession is viewed at par with corporate jobs? 

In India, it is yet to pick up and is viewed as a part-time job. It is also associated with complacency. People at large feel teachers ‘know the same syllabus every year, so what did they really contribute?’. 

Over the years, the perception has worsened with students and parents also becoming increasingly disrespectful. This results in a vicious cycle with talented students avoiding teaching as a profession. Society needs to realise that the knowledge available on Google contributes to more confusion and is mostly an aggregation of information from sources that are not credible. 

Moulding impressionable minds to assimilate knowledge for enhanced and balanced decision-making is best done under expert supervision, which is the role of a good teacher. 

6. How can we adopt technology to make teaching more effective? 

The purpose of teaching is not to transfer information and knowledge. It is to help unfold the potential of the student’s mind for effective use in life. Once this objective is adopted, technology can be easily adapted to support teaching in classes. 

The use of flipped classrooms, project management systems, blind feedback boards and group interaction systems can ramp up the development of in-class interaction, cognitive development, immediate feedback, personality and communication. 

For instance, the use of online bulletin boards during a physical class ensures everyone participates, everyone knows what everyone has to say, removes social inhibitions and allows for specific feedback. 

7. You are also an Intuition Coach, how did you start delving into intuition workshops? 

After my doctoral research work on intuition, I felt the need to develop a way to enhance intuition for people especially those who have been brought up in a highly analytical and logical environment since childhood. 

Such people slowly begin to feel lost under the burden of information and fast-paced corporate demands. As managers and people from different walks of life learn to use intuition, they are relieved of the stress of uncertainty and begin to enjoy life for what it brings. 

That is what gives me real pleasure and I try to spend more time in helping people learn the Intuitive Hunch Method through my workshops. 

8. Can intuition be developed? 

Intuition is a skill and like any other skill, it can be developed. It is similar to muscle building. Practice and repetition build strong muscles. To develop an accurate and reliable intuition, you will need to practice it using a method and test it regularly until it becomes reliable for use in daily life. 

Then you would be able to use it at will on any area of decision-making, personal or professional. It is best to learn the method with the help of an expert so that you are not lost in your own imaginations. 

9. How is intuitive decision-making relevant in the Covid-19 context? 

Covid-19 is a Black Swan event that has reminded everyone that life is uncertain. We all need a guiding compass especially during uncertainty Even if we can know a broad direction to take, it is a great support in darkness. Harnessing intuition in your daily decision making gives you control over numerous small and big unknowns that we are dealing with during COVID. 

For instance, planning has been a major issue for many corporates especially during the lockdown. Logistics management and supply chain managers were at a total loss. Having a rough idea of the degree and extent of unlock a few weeks in advance would have helped them immeasurably. 

Similarly, planning travel under the current circumstances is difficult and can be made quite simple using a well-practised and reliable intuition that has stood strong earlier for you. Intuition is also very effective from simple tasks as scheduling meetings and agendas to sifting problem cases from reports and excel files. COVID -19 has also brought to the fore family-relationship issues. 

This is an area that can be dealt with quite naturally through intuitive insights and responses. 

Dr Anshul Taneja 
Assistant Professor 
Department of Business Economics 
Maharaja Agrasen College 
University of Delhi

Interview by - Mahi

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