By Dr. Anuradha Sridhar,
The How and What of Learning is going through a paradigm shift like never before. The pandemic has entirely changed the way we look at learning and hence how teaching must be done in classrooms. Educators adapted to technology overnight and we all know how successfully they have done this and more through this whole year. Beyond adopting technology, Educators need to reinvent the ways students learn in order to stay relevant.
Why must we look at learning from a fresh lens?
Learning is no longer about content
The focus has shifted from content and textbooks; this is the era of information overload at the click of a button. Students do not rely solely on textbook information for their learning and they are far more aware. So, the educator here needs to go beyond the textbook, look for information and disseminate knowledge from a conceptual lens rather than merely from a content point of view.
Emphasis on skills
There is a larger awareness about developing skills amongst students along with content and concept. There is a need to imbibe skills like communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration which we bucket as the 21st century skills. This word is often over-rated, but it is important to develop these skills in students. In order to develop 21st-century skills like critical thinking – it is important for educators to develop skills like analysis, evaluation skills, students should be able to discriminate between available knowledge by comparing and contrasting information. Traditionally, our schools and educators have emphasized an information download during examinations which was knowledge-based, but the shift is happening towards application of what has been learned and also the test of higher-order skills, so educators not only need to develop these skills amongst students but also test them appropriately in examinations.
Changed perception of Schools and Teachers
We have always known that schools are a social system and this pandemic has only proven that this social structure is so important for the student’s mental and physical well-being. However, the educator often faces challenges from both students and parents in terms of disrespect, mocked by students and parents alike on various aspects like speaking, dressing, communicating and many other reasons. Educators need to command more respect by bringing in more professionalism in the way they deal with students and parents, control and manage the classroom environment, become more accountable for the assessments and in general student growth and well-being. Here it is important for educators to choose to upskill themselves and stay relevant in the current times.
The columnist is Head of Curriculum Development & Training, Aditya Birla Education Academy. Views expressed are the author’s own.