Indian Campus

Evolving approaches to education is the key: Dr Hanif Kanjer

An evolved approach would encourage the child to reflect on what he has read, and express his view-point instead of having the teacher explaining each paragraph

There has been a lot of talk on how education needs to evolve, and keep with the times, and while in some instances the criticism may be warranted, quite a few schools are pursuing the path of evolution. Let’s look at how progressive schools are evolving:

Transition from teaching to learning

Earlier, the teacher was a revered guardian of knowledge, and students/parents flocked to the teacher for knowledge. With Google, YouTube, Khan Academy, this no longer holds true. Knowledge is now available at your finger tips, and so the role of the teacher has to evolve, from an imparter of knowledge to a facilitator in the learning process.

Typically, in most schools, in a six-hour school day, often five hours are spent in teaching, and one hour is spent in activities, games, and fun. The challenge in this model is that we expect students to spend five hours every day listening to the teacher. Even as adults we wouldn’t be able to sit through listening to someone talk for 5 hours daily. What’s worse, parents then push them for tuitions, where again the tuition teacher is either helping with the school work, or giving more homework.

Going beyond the textbook

There is such heavy reliance on textbooks, which automatically limits the scope of incorporating newer content into the classroom teaching. So, it is important to question whether the textbook should be the primary resource. The obvious answer is a no, and yet due to prior conditioning, most schools rely on it as the main resource. For example, in the English language class, the teacher might spend considerable time explaining the implied context in each paragraph, along with difficult words, phrases, and figures of speech. An evolved approach would encourage the child to reflect on what he has read, and express his view-point instead of having the teacher explaining each paragraph.

Encouraging peer-learning

The typical parental mind-set is ‘don’t teach your friend everything you know, else he will score more marks than you’. This is a defeatist attitude. In fact, when one teaches one’s peers, one’s foundation in that subject becomes stronger, and that helps in the long-term, long after the marks are forgotten.

Schools have, also, underestimated and under-exploited the effectiveness of peer-learning. Students are most engaged when they work on school projects. However, again paucity of time leads to schools giving such project work for home, which then either gets done by the parent or neighbour or a professional who charges a fee. This mind-set has to change.

SOURCE: DNA|EDUCATION