I have been frequently asked in my education seminars about the new trends in education. For me personally the new trends in education are nothing old principles in actual practice and making it new and real for the students.
From Teaching to Learning – Teaching happens only when learning takes place. Some questions that we need to ask is, while we teach, are the students learning or grasping what I am trying to convey? We can judge our own effectiveness or teaching ability from the ability of the students to grasp and learn. I used to tell in my seminars, if no learning takes place, no teaching has been done and you have just wasted 45 minutes of the time allotted to you.
From Memory to Understanding – By and large, the present-day education aims at memory training, rote memorization, by-hearting. Children are just told to memorize without understanding the meaning or the concepts. To foster understanding, a quick, brief summary of what was taken, after lesson is over would help or ask some relevant questions after the completion of a lesson to test their understanding of the matter taught.
From Listening to Reflection – Again, present-day education bypasses reflection. Reflection is required to see the usefulness and practical utility of the matter that you just heard or learned. It helps you to pause for a while to think about the matter and to introspect to see how it affects your life. Probably, teachers themselves may be teaching without much understanding the subject matter, or maybe there is lack of time to spend on reflect. But it is vital, according to me.
From Reflection to Questioning – Reflection actually helps to ponder and think about the subject matter and then you begin to question. What I have seen in most of the class rooms questioning, doubting or objecting is discouraged by the teachers. Or even the students are afraid to ask questions fear of being ridiculed by the teacher of their companions. Really speaking, questioning deepens knowledge and fosters understanding.
From Questioning to Creativity – As I mentioned earlier, questioning leads to new question and fresh understanding and paves way for discovery, innovation, idea generation and creativity which is the goal of education. The simple question that Newton asked, why did the apple fall, gave rise to the theory of gravitation.
From Classroom to Library and beyond – Today we have realized that teaching is not taking place inside the four walls of a classroom but beyond through online platforms and digital media. Over-dependence on the teacher and textbooks is not healthy anymore. Knowing the subject is more important than knowing textbook. I would recommend a well-equipped library is all the schools with a good librarian and well-stocked books and even make digital content available to students and make them access the library frequently.
From World Exploration to Self-Exploration – We are teaching a lot of content about geography, history, English, Maths, Science. In short, we are in touch with the world ‘Outside’, but are we also in touch with the world ‘Within’. Do we help our students to overcome their fears, bipolar disorders and other psychological blocks? Therefore, the need of counsellors and teaching every teacher the ABC of counselling.
From Information to Formation – Up to now teaching has been all about information sharing, covering of syllabus of content, enabling students to get a degree or a certificate and ending up getting a job. But today we find B.A.’s, M.A.’s and PhD holders in jail serving sentences. So what went wrong in their scholastic years? I think information was given but NOT formation. The School or the college is an extension of the home, it is a child’s second home, he or she needs to be formed with right values and ethics. Formation of good habits. Character formation.
It was Dr Abdul Kalam who said, “Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” I would strongly emphasize the need for Value Education in schools.