School education: A step higher
With conversations on the shifting paradigm of education, from traditional mediums to new-age learning, schools are focusing on the ethos of education that will benefit tremendously from a tectonic shift.Updated: Apr 15, 2020 17:20 IST
Education is a crucial element that moulds a child for their future and thus, Multiple reforms are instigated into school systems around the country every year in curriculum pedagogy, governance, technology, and so on. The Indian government along with schools have been working on various reform policies like the ‘National Education Policy (NEP)’ to upgrade the existing education model. However, there remains certain areas that need more focus to bring school education a step higher which provides an opportunity for students to grow amidst the competitive world.
With conversations on the shifting paradigm of education, from traditional mediums to new-age learning, schools are focusing on the ethos of education that will benefit tremendously from a tectonic shift. The more tangible aspects of education that need overhaul are curriculum, personalised learning and seamless delivery of education.
Indian school students across generations have perpetrated textbooks to memory and spewed facts on to copious pages of examination answer sheets. Is it a true definition and indication of a student’s intellect, knowledge, understanding, or skills? Or is it solely an assessment of a pupil’s mugging-up capacity? The counter to these allegations ought to come from several schools that are keen on adopting international boards and curricula.
Let’s understand a few concepts that have existed and the new concepts being adopted to make education at school level beneficial for the GenZ and GenAlpha.
Understanding or mugging-up?
The first questions associated with the current scenario of education is, “Are students really understanding what is taught to them”?. Currently, the subjects taught in school are heavily compartmentalised from each other and taught in isolation from the real world. Hence, there is a huge disconnect that is drawn between what is taught to students and what the world at present requires. In order to bridge this gap, schools must equip students with the process of project-based learning through which a problem is posed to children and they make real-world connections through their subject knowledge. In the process, critical thinking is developed in the students, and they are bound to think of innovative solutions to problems. The idea isn’t restricted to teaching students, but to provide them with a deeper engagement with the curriculum. This will helps them bring in subject knowledge along with academic learning outcomes.
Moving ahead without the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach
Every school has a diverse count of students who have different approaches to learning. One medium to learn is when students are listening to a teacher in a classroom and another way is when they learn through their personal experience. Schools have been focusing on delivering knowledge through teachers but how far are we in terms of offering students the concept of personalised learning? Adapting personalised learning in the classroom, will not only lead to a deeper level of learning of the concept but the student also learns it’s application in practical life. Students will be motivated to learn difficult academic concepts, if the learning process will be more stimulating and challenging. This will motivate them to learn and get more deeply engaged in the learning process rather than just learning for the sake of an examination.
Preparing students to dominate the world with VUCA
The curriculum offered by traditional schools has made students aware about the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity world but has it equipped them with skills to dominate that world? The scope of the new-age curriculum doesn’t restrict the students with knowledge but provides them a platform to experience and grow. It stands important for these to be incorporated as part of the learning process and introduce digital literacy in the curriculum. It’s a gradual process but if incorporated, it will benefit the students and the VUCA world where students are taught the right use of technology from the time they gain access to it.
Shifting the way students learn
Learning is transformative and represents an individual’s mind and their implications.
But how students learn, helps determine their understanding of things. For example, if a student is taught about how a plant grows, they will behold the information in them for a particular duration which reduces with time. But, if the student is exposed to experiencing the growth of a plant, they will remember it for a longer duration rather than sustaining it till their examination. One way to make learning a process is, it should be made experiential and engaging. It should involve exploration, research and evaluation. Through this, students experience academics by engaging, exploring and finding information for understanding the depth of it and it ultimately melts down to understand the academic point of view.
Curbing stress and anxiety
Students seem to undergo stress in order to meet the expectations of “Performing better than everyone”. This holds a huge impact on the child as it is the phase that develops them and makes them stronger individuals. In order to decrease stress and simultaneously inducing the value of performing better, schools should make learning more engaging and joyous.
Chalk and talk, non-interactive methods end up producing children that replicate rather than consume knowledge. One such example is if a student is playing a difficult computer game, if he is sufficiently challenged and stimulated, he will be motivated to reach the next level. When a similar feeling is created in a learning process, the student will not only be intrinsically motivated towards learning, but they will also realize the relevance and purpose of what they are doing. To make the learning environment more productive and positive, teachers should not restrict themselves to delivering content but develop content that makes the teaching-learning process more interesting and engaging.
These initiatives, when adopted by various schools, will help students in continuous learning and not replicate what’s been done for decades now. It will help students become the leaders of tomorrow and continuous learners who will experiment and learn instead of duplicate and work.
(Author Allan Kjaer Andersen is Director, Chaman Bhartiya School. Views expressed here are personal.)