Amit Kaushik, Dr Amlan K. Saha, Kanak Gupta, Pramod Sharma, and Radhika Sinha were part of a panel discussing ‘Back to the Education Drawing Board’ on Day 1 at ScooNews Global Educators Fest 2018.
Amit Kaushik, as the moderator, opened the discussion by stating a few pertinent examples which drove home his point. “A bunch of us were selected to do a three-day course in C programming. We spent three weeks in this computer company learning it all, and the truth is that I remember nothing from that course whereas my 13-year-old son is learning python programming language entirely by himself. My second example is of the Hole in the Wall experiment wherein you place a computer in a class and give it to the students without providing any instruction on how to use it. The third example is of a famous race that takes place in Australia called the run for solar cars; engineering colleges set up teams of students who want to work on this project and let them work on their own. Despite all these examples, I’m disappointed to know that every school encourages creativity and critical thinking till grade eight but as soon as they have to attend their board exams, they hit the grinding mode. Can we start questioning this fear?”
Leading the discussion further, Pramod Sharma cited the example of his own school, “We wanted to encourage film direction and filmmaking in our school. So, we bought our own camera and invited a director to come in and teach the students. But before he could even begin, children had already made their own film. Basically, we don’t need to coach students, we only need to provide them with facilities because they can figure out the rest on their own.”
We often forget it isn’t just the school that influences the child but also the home environment. Stressing on the point, Kanak Gupta declared, “It is important to educate parents and encourage students to ask questions. A school needs to provide a platform to both the student and teacher to learn more.” Dr Amlan encouraged principals to empower their teachers to provide skills and love to their students so that critical thinking gets a safe and healthy environment.
Education in the 21st century comes with an updated curriculum. Radhika Sinha shared her model for professional development of teachers called Teacher Learning Communities. The model groups 8 or 10 teachers wherein the teacher who has learned something new, shares it with other teachers and he or she becomes the facilitator. “Thus, both teaching and learning becomes tenfold and that’s how we can incorporate critical thinking and creativity into our curriculum,” she stressed.
Further, Pramod Sharma added, “A student never fails, it is a school and a teacher who fail because they have not been able to connect to the child. Thus, we need to update the B.Ed. Curriculum and help teachers become better educators and learners, which will further help them to adjust and adapt to their school’s environment.”
To conclude the session, Saha gave the final remarks, “We need to change our attitude and educate children by bringing out their interest in learning. With these changes in the entire ecosystem, we will be able to eliminate rote learning.”
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