Mr. John Bagul, Principal of South City International School rings in this Teachers’ Day with an insightful piece on what it means to be a modern-day teacher. What the NEP 2020 lays down, Mr Bagul beautifully puts into perspective, not just for learners, but also for teachers and aspiring teachers of the future.
“I encourage all of us, whatever our beliefs, to question the basic narratives of our world, to connect past developments with present concerns, and not be afraid of controversial issues”, says Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, in his foreword to ‘Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind’.
The world of education has changed dramatically and drastically within a span of a year. Our schools of the future would have to be developed along different pathways. We need to look at Diversity, Connectivity, Peace and Sustainability for our children, who face an uncertain future. Schools should adopt a distinct curriculum that is designed to nurture and challenge a child’s diverse intellectual capabilities and talents, guiding them to their full potential.
This should be a child centric curriculum that is based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The theory says that human beings have different bits of intelligence that include linguistic, mathematical, kinesthetic, inter/intra personal, musical and spatial development. That is why children learn in different ways and at diverse paces. Learning environments the world over are using this approach to transform the way they teach and the way children learn.
We could focus on various areas of learning which could further be defined by ‘learning objectives’ that progress like stepping stones every week, starting from age-appropriate simple objectives and progress through various levels of challenges to achieve higher and higher learning, progressively. These learning objectives ensure that the learning development and knowledge goals for each child are met. These ‘learning objectives’ also form the basis of assessments for internally mapping each child's progress and feedback to parents.
I would also suggest that we actively implement the four characteristics of ‘Critical Thinking’ at a young age. Children should be taught:
- Active listening
- Self Discipline
We must train our teachers and students to ask deeper questions, to train the mind without distractions, to take non-verbal cues, to slow down and practice listening and most importantly to withhold judgement.
We should listen to understand and not listen to reply. This forms the biggest communication problem among our teachers, students and parents.
By integrating the best global practices with the Indian context, the curriculum should equip children to meet the changing societal needs of a global society.
All learning should be experiential. Any kind of learning should be the outcome of the actual experience. Curiosity and Creativity should always be encouraged and learning, as per the NEP 2020, should always be a fun-filled, exploratory process.
The role of the teachers is not just to give information to students. Teachers need to provide the right skills and insights to our youth. They need to awaken the senses of the children. Emotional Quotient and Cultural Quotient are now equally important, if not more important than IQ. Teachers have to upgrade their digital skills as they, the ‘digital immigrants’ are now teaching the ‘digital natives’. Technology is what our children have been forced to survive on during the past two years, with students bravely navigating uncharted territory.
We would like our engineers to be much more humane and our liberal art students to be technically knowledgeable.
We need a perfect balance between Knowledge and Skills. The NEP speaks volumes about the much-desired change in the education system. But as we move into the future let us not forget to remember our core values such as civic sense, national integration, secularism, social responsibility and support for the underdog.
Change is an inevitable aspect of life but we need to adapt and evolve to guide our young generation into a volatile and complex future.
Happy Teachers’ Day to all!!