Edu Views

The teacher of the future is available at a screen near you

Basab Chaudhuri
Basab Chaudhuri
Posted on 15 Dec 2021
09:28 AM
Online education is written on the wall and teachers’ survival will depend on the success of YouTube lectures.

Online education is written on the wall and teachers’ survival will depend on the success of YouTube lectures. Source: Shutterstock

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Summary
The pandemic has created a space for experiential learning, bringing the classroom to your pocket
The New Normal also holds the hope of creating a space for individual and public morality, something that is in a crisis now

Remember the ancient ‘gurukul’ system where boys would go to the ‘guru’ or teacher’s house, stay there for an extended period of time and learn their lessons? The teaching-learning process has undergone innumerable changes ever since.

Did we really know what the Spanish Flu was? We had heard about it, even read a little, but the devastating effect of such a disease was not experienced by any of us. The Spanish Flu exists in the books of history. Did we remember the Plague? You may say the disease has been immortalized by Albert Camus, but we did not feel it’s a real scourge.

When Sars-Cov-2 initiated its devastation, it was a stray case. We felt it would never affect any of us. Some felt Wuhan was far away and not even a tourist spot. But the RNA virus had a remarkable ability to spread and infect; none of us thought that it had the potential to alter the pattern of civilization.

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The pandemic caused by the virus proved to be a game-changer. So many have died; so many are still suffering; and so many will suffer as the virus will continue to mutate following the strange rule of “survival of the fittest”. Biology is a subject of eternal possibilities and the gene can indeed be genie. Although you had read about it, you did not experience it before.

Curiously, the virus has created a space for experiential learning. Indeed, life teaches through tests; it does not prepare. Earthquakes, tsunamis, coronas come suddenly and start destroying. A debate still continues on whether the virus has been man-made. We do not know. Perhaps we will never know. By the time the full story is known, many of our brethren would still not know how so many people had died. Even their cremation has been lonely, desolate and dark.

Many of you are started studying on mobile phones or tablets or PCs using the internet. Many of you were not so fortunate as the internet connection at your place was not so secure and stable. Colleges may have reopened but there may come a time when face-to-face teaching will be a thing that existed in the past. The teacher of the future will appear on screen. The picture will be perfect as the rules of the pandemic have already changed our worldview.

Slowly, but steadily, the classroom will be carried in your pocket or on your shoulder. Your teacher, your role model will always be with you, near or far. The theory of duality will be in operation.

What do all these mean? Massive online education is written on the wall. Teachers’ survival will depend on the success of YouTube lectures. Fifty years from now, what exists even today will become ancient and extinct.

But there’s a silver lining to this dark cloud. The emerging civilization will create a space for individual morality and ethics. A student sitting alone in front of a computer and writing his examination will have to make a choice -- whether he will learn and write answers or copy from the available books.

The same choice exists for ordinary citizens too -- whether they will wear masks and prevent the spread of disease or be careless. Opting for the right choice depends upon the individual. This pandemic somehow infuses new hope of creating a space for individual morality. The sum of such morality becomes what is known as public morality. There is no doubt that public morality is in the depth of a crisis today. Maybe, there is some hope at the end of the tunnel. Let’s see.

(Basab Chaudhuri, former vice-chancellor of the West Bengal State University, Barasat, is now principal of the Heritage Institute of Technology Kolkata and senior director – education, Kalyan Bharti Trust.)

Last updated on 15 Dec 2021
12:27 PM
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