Education – The way I see it

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Samarjit Kambam
Teaching is an ever evolving process. Traditional system of education has become old school. Nowadays teaching has become a creative and interactive vocation with many technical aides contributing to the process. As per my opinion, education is “Preparing a learner for a better tomorrow”. Even though, I, being a novice in the podium of education put forward my humble views in the process of education viz-a-viz the teaching-learning process.
Generally, the goal of education is viewed as transmission of knowledge by teachers to students. This approach is convergent in nature. On the other hand, education is viewed as facilitating students’ autonomous learning and self expression. This approach is divergent in nature. The convergent approach is highly structured and teacher-centric; the students are passive recipients of knowledge and learning achievements are measured by standardised tests. The divergent approach is flexible, student-centric, where students are active participants in the learning process and learning achievements are assessed by a variety of evaluation tools such as self-evaluation, documentation portfolios, assignments and projects. In this cut-throat competitive world in education, there is a need to shift from traditional, convergent system to divergent approach in education.
As years zoom by, it has been realised that teaching needs to be replaced with learning needs. In traditional or convergent education, the stress is on teaching. The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. Teaching is boring while learning is enjoyable. Many a times, teaching becomes tantamount to forcing knowledge down the throat of a child who is not interested in the knowledge being imparted. In the process of teaching, a teacher is after the student while in the learning process a student runs after a teacher. A teacher’s job is to arouse curiosity i.e. to make a student thirsty for knowledge. Once curious, students will find ways to quench the thirst of knowledge. Unless students are interested, a teacher is simply expending his energy in the class room while the students are either slumbering or their minds grazing somewhere far away, sometimes with eyes wide open. A teacher needs to devise methods to arouse curiosity in the learning students. This is an art which a teacher needs to master.
The education system has to undergo changes as per the needs of the society and the biggest need of the society today is to change the attitude of the youths. The present generation has become more materialistic, leaving values far behind. Morality is lacking in them which is a cause of concern for the society and a challenge for the teachers. The question before the teachers/society is – Are they equipped to infuse values in the minds of the students? I feel the topic needs to be debated, deliberated and inference to be implemented in the process of education. Change in attitude of the students as well as the teachers is the need of the hour.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said, “When educating the minds of the youths, we must not forget to educate their hearts”. In other words, true education cannot be merely an acquisition of facts. It has to transform a student to have compassion, a vision and a passion to better the world. Thus education goes beyond exams and marks, to tap the treasure trove of values, principles and ideals. Another field that facilitates changes is to see change in attitude in both the teachers and students. We talk a lot on positive attitude but we need to ponder if we are practicing it too. Every teacher is equipped with higher degree of knowledge and skill. It is his/her attitude that makes him or her different. A paradigm shift in attitude, skill and knowledge is of paramount importance in teaching learning process. To me, attitude comes first, then skill followed by knowledge. It is the attitude that makes one ideal, sets apart and unique while most of the teachers sing their own praises of their knowledge. Again I must say, attitude is a learned behavior and one should not blame heredity. Attitude comes from our physical well-being, hormonal fluctuations, diet etc; environment that includes learning how to act from our parents, teachers, etc. and suppressed anger, grief, anxiety, fear etc. In a holistic approach, a teacher needs to monitor the students’ attitude and corrective measures are to be implemented, if required. Punitive measures will have negative effect on the students and on the system.
Any strategy for change must contend with the diverse factors affecting the education system, the interactions of its stakeholders and the intricate interdependencies within it and with its environment. Curriculums of technical and business schools are revised time to time to meet their specific needs. Paradigm shift from theoretical approach to application-based orientation is witnessed in those institutions. School education too needs to follow suit. In primary or secondary schools, revision in curriculum is required for the holistic development of a learner. Learners need to be equipped with the knowledge to meet the needs of higher education with value addition. Implementation of CCE in secondary schools is a step forward towards application based orientation with value addition. Revision of school curriculum and inclusion of value based education as a compulsory subject is long awaited but always seems to be on the pipeline. Another important is visual learning especially for primary and middle school students. Computer apps with all sorts of handy learning materials which the students can easily access through gadgets can be developed by schools. Considering the ongoing changes in the education system triggered by revolution in IT, the digital smart classes have become very important in making a child develop interest for study.
Another issue which I would like to pen down is vocational guidance as the educational field is a vast area with huge potential for guidance. The needs of the students are varied. With proper guidance a student can derive academic success by helping them realise their highest potential, career and vocational information and personal and social development which helps in improving the communication and inter-personal skills as well as identifying talents and nurturing the learners. In this fast paced world, stress, loneliness, peer adjustments, parental and teacher pressure are some of the possible psycho-social problems which can be resolved by the teacher in the guise of a guide cum counsellor. In extreme cases, the teacher may refer the student to a psychologist, psychiatrist or other specialist. Due to rapid change in all spheres of human endeavour and fast track modernisation, today, a child faces immense pressure to cope with and survive in this competitive world. In this regard, teacher who is considered next to God by their pupils need to take guidance as a part of their primary duty to make the life of students successful. Teachers with their unique position in the school are able to develop close bonds with children and may be able to know the real causes of trouble. With a little training, they can learn to render personal guidance to their students. A very important revelation is that the parents should also have positive attitude to accept their child with his/her strengths and weaknesses.
Over and above, students must respect all the resources that come on their way because everything has a purpose behind its existence and if it exists for you, you should try to make the best out of it.
(The writer may be reached at [email protected])

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