Forwards ever, backwards never

These are the words I admired in my sister’s ‘autograph book’ back in the day when it was popular to keep the memories of friends in fancy well decorated note books.  In most cases, human beings regard progress as something that is in the future, not in the past.

When we look at the animal world, we garner vital lessons from it. Some animals are unable to move backwards.  Such animals, like kangaroos, have legs that are unable to move separately from each other and also their tails obstruct the backward movement. The birds that can only go forward are ostriches and penguins, no reverse gear for them clearly.

Interestingly enough, one of the smallest birds alive, is the only known bird to be able to fly backwards as fast as it can fly forwards. Thanks to the unique set up of its wings and its amazing muscle power, a humming bird has been known to fly at 15 miles each second. The others in this category can only move slightly backwards and these are; herons, flycatchers, egrets and warblers.

In the classroom, contrary to practices in other professions, the going forward concept is as important as the going backwards. Educators appreciate that for progress to occur, important fundamental concepts have to be constantly revisited and built on at each progressive stage of the education ladder. If there are gaps in a learner’s knowledge, then reviewing and consolidating the knowledge is more crucial than acquiring more information.

Sometimes, the tight knit nature of the curriculum does not take review in consideration as it bombards the student with overwhelming information that is expected to be learned and processed as soon as yesterday. However, seasoned teachers recognise the value of time spent in reviewing the subject matter that is already taught and doing very well in scheduling the necessary time to devote to it. 

Elsewhere, yoga instructors, religious leaders, life coaches and mentors (amongst a host of others) keep encouraging the need to meditate and reflect on the past and how it is affecting the present and may influence the future. To some, personal reflection is a like a horror film, one cannot just believe what they perceive when they quietly review their motives and actions!

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