The Changing Paradigm Of Education
Divya Bhatia, Principal, Amity International School, Saket
There was a time when the only teaching aids a teacher needed were a textbook, black board and pieces of chalk. If they used coloured chalk or charts, they were called innovative. Their role was simpler because the curriculum was framed, the syllabus was pre-decided and students were tested for what they retained from their learning in class and the job was done.
In the current scenario, it is seen that the pace of technological change and the rate of information flow is increasing rapidly while the attention span of the students are decreasing. Our youngsters today are smarter than we are. They are growing up literally with internet in their pockets. They are no longer passive listeners who would sit in a class and listen attentively to a 30 or 40 minute lecture. It is important therefore, for education, to look beyond the walls of a classroom and bring in a methodology that will ensure deep learning for the youngsters and at the same time prepare them for the future that 21st century with all its innovation and technological skills, is bringing for them. Some of the issues that need to be kept in mind are:
Education programs need to work on projects and assignments. There are a plethora of technologies being used for example—social networking, online teaching, class blogs, wikis, podcasting interactive white boards and mobile devices. It helps improve distance learning classes, allows for faster feedback and improved collaboration between a large group of people. Podcast and websites allow students to learn from home in case of absenteeism. Class blogs widen the avenue for discussion and give students a chance to participate outside the classroom. Interactive white boards make teaching easier and interesting.
Education can no longer be confined by geographical or cultural boundaries. At the turn of this millennium going to computer labs for research and ‘CAL’ lessons was an innovation, today computers and internet have pervaded through classrooms and all pedagogies work around them. Besides teaching, teachers need them for attendance, student records, assessments, communicating with parents etc.
Preparation for a career
The model of ‘learn at school’ and ‘do at work’ is no longer sustainable and constant reskilling is essential especially if schools claim to skill students as ‘future ready’.
Added to that is the fact that most of the young students will probably work in jobs that haven’t even been envisaged today. This, in fact, is one of the prime reasons why a large number of qualified youth are found to be unemployed. The companies today are looking for people with skill sets like creativity, problem solving, decision making, communication and technical competence.
It is therefore, important to equip teachers to teach the future generation, to be ahead of their students by keeping themselves abreast with the latest in technology. And, to understand that the purpose of education is to achieve the higher purpose of creating good citizens, enhancing employability, helping students live better lives, stimulating imagination, creativity and innovation. And, for this, teachers themselves need to be creative and innovative. Pedagogy needs a complete shake up.
The teacher’s role has changed from that of an instructor to a partner, facilitator, guide and counsellor and finally, all rolled into one. Teaching is a complex application of theory and research that requires continuous updating and refinement of skills and procedures. Teacher training, workshops and keeping the teachers ahead is really important.
With the kind of multitasking that they need to do—they should be given technology as a support and not as a burden. We really need to sit down and think of what we can do to reduce the pressure on our students and teachers. And also to empower teachers to be the best judge of how they want to teach and at the same time find ways to measure their teacher accountability.
Unless the teachers are prepared, educational reforms will not succeed. This requires teachers to be well equipped to adapt to the needs of students.
Constant in service trainings and capacity building workshops with focus on topics like life skills, ethics, cyber security, child rights etc. are required. They need to be truly tech savvy. Teaching through project-based learning, flipped lessons to increase student involvement; using blogs, podcasts, Skype lessons and collaborative learning. Internet needs to be integrated into the curriculum and not serve only as a repository of information.
If there is one thing that can make education truly free and universal it is the internet content on the cloud, skype, lessons and webinars are helping bring the world closer and our schools and teachers need to rise up to the new technological revolution.It is the one thing that can help narrow down individual differences and be a real boon to the students with special abilities.
Learning paradigm needs to move its content beyond the books and give students vital skills and knowledge that can support the transition. All three learning domains, cognitive, affective and psychomotor need to be blended together. This can be achieved through progressive classrooms designs and improved learning strategies.
The future is expected to bring in tremendous educational reforms, so let us take positive steps in building our education system to be the best in the world.