What we had? What we have? What we need?
Apace with a riverbank, beneath the nifty obscurity of a huge Banyan tree, sat a cartel of hardly 15 – 20 boys with their ogled eyeballs constantly gazed upon the “guruji”. This scene gives tongue to a 19th century class when times could only think of teaching and learning as “values and morals”. There wasn’t any Maths, Science or Geography but the only subject that the boys were taught at gurukul was to build up the courage of a knight and qualities such as courtesy and devoutness. Fortitude to sacrifice their life for the welfare of their respective kingdoms was the only major subject which did not need any equipments but hurdles to be conquered.
An abrupt change then resided in. The gurukuls evolved into schools. From a tree to a building was indeed a sturdy odyssey for the then educational clout but we still have a long way to go. Since then, 95% of the schools and colleges in India have been sustaining the same methodology and equipments in the classrooms. But, as mentioned we still have a long way to go! Fortunately, the very next ladder to the amelioration and reinforcement of educational institutions lies in the hands of the 21st century lots. The Gen Next longs for INNOVATION to the traditional base of their education.
In the nick of time, the regiments of what appears to be a “teach savvy revolution” have embarked on their journey of ammendements. The rest 5% of the institutions have revolutionized to successfully fabricate a blend of tradition and innovation. One’ll be amazed, perhaps astounded to learn that these classrooms look completely like one’s you sat in ten, fifteen or even fifty years ago. Despite sweeping technology, the information explosion and an interconnected planet , improved teaching and learning methods, the typical college is fixed like a museum diorama!
Sure, there’s a laptop on every desk, but the access is limited to ‘sites pertaining to study materials’ . Black boards to white boards to audio – visual aids, the lecture format is still geared up to explain the tough sections. From chalk slates to iPads is a salubrious move but incredibly, books and pens have not lost their worth.
This is how 21st century ‘Indian classrooms’ are and ought to be designed for 21st century students to fight the 21st century knowledge economy.
Unlike the west where overhaul modernization has taken the front seat ,Indian educators believe to maintain a balance between the duo. In the recent times, there’s a comprehensive hassle in the air for a concrete elucidation to the best ever ‘techniques of education for Indian children’, keeping in view the side – effects of amplifying the tech-savvy methods. Agree, a concept of Physics is taught within 10 min that earlier used to take half an hour but not much propitious is this if the teacher ends up spotting and exposing a last bencher who’s a facebook rant checking his notifications! Rosen, a noted research psychologist and author of “Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way they Learn,” brings together a wealth of new research (some of which he’s done himself with colleagues) to examine the over-reliance on gadgets and websites that can produce or mimic common psychological maladies like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, narcissistic personality disorder, body dysmorphism , voyeurism and addiction. Favourably or haphazardly, time will inch upon! Influence from across the States has set about to infect the population with virtualization and the word is diffusing meteorically.
Not merely lingering upon the theoretical datas or scientific beliefs, we want you to hear what young India wants ? and What should be doled out to them? While, there’s a conflict between the issue of “Virtualisation over classical bourgeois” , we bring you to the ground verity. The issues in education have implications all along the chain of teaching and learning, skills and employment, self worth and empowerment and here we speak out to see how each resonates along this chain. Part provocative, part conversational, the research brings you stories and analysis from the world of education the world over.
A revulsion from ‘hi tech’ (focusing teachers)
As stated by Mrs. Leena Painter, Professor of the D.R.B commerce college, though the hunger to use technological equipments in the classrooms is in the air among students, some teachers maintain the age old perception – “A computer can never replace a teacher.” She adds, “Suppose, a chapter titled “Environment” comes under the syllabus of a 2nd class student and also, a B.com final year student . I being a teacher of the so-called, ‘tech savvy’ century, hand out a printout from Wikipedia to both of them. Now, here sets in the blunder. It isn’t the same information that a 2nd class student is required to absorb as a B.com student. So, a teacher was, is and will continue to be a basic and the only teaching tool for the students of any era, be it the 22nd century! “ This was one of the remote views from around the streets of India those are all content with the “chalk and talk” method. But, the young India quenches for more! And so do we. It is mere lack of “exposure” and moreover, lack in outsourcing that gauges these lots to showcase the above conviction. Today, we have audio-visual aids like, Teachnext , jiggered in many reputed institutes of India such as, Shree Swaminarayan Academy. Talking in the candid chat to the esteemed principal of the school (C.B.S.E) , Mrs. Neena Sharma , reveals about her vision for the innovation in the classrooms. “Our school was probably the first in the city to take this gargantuan step forward in order to have our heels with the young minds of the school. Overwhelmed by the positive response from parents, students and staff , we deliberately augmented the scale of the technique. As an obvious consequence, the recorded hike in the performance of the students has been phenomenal .” Also, she admits, ‘ A teacher has to run the smart class, has to deal with the students’ improved access to canned digital content. A shared learning solution to the new issues facing teachers is an offer today.” Hence, India has been at the forefront of the back end of this innovation where ‘Practice and feedback methodology’ is a must to inculcate into the comfortable blankets of habit and try out new ways of teaching, a much growing demand from parents as well.
Why do we have homeworks? (focusing students)
One of my cousins with a kind of rebel-like head has countless number of times asked this question to me, “Why homeworks?” His schooling years between grade-1 to grade-7 made him turn up to me with this sort of question all out of juvenility. But as logic started shooting up his mind over the years, he was facile enough to provide me with some concrete reasons to ponder over it and throw down the gauntlet. A recent study declared that homework does not add a significant amount of value to a student’s achievement. As an old adage goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Therefore, the change is not yet welcomed in India. Parents and teachers believe that homework is an act of reflection on the day’s learning at school. It gives students, the chance to reprise at their own pace. Agreed! Unless and until, the ‘drift’ of the homework stands upto a creditable standard. Writing the same answer five times serves no purpose but reflects an illogical state of mind on the teacher’s part, but, the vexatious scenario being, its sincerely being this quality of homework that most students in India put their heads in an aesthetic summer evening! With gentle nudges to the system, the crucial vicissitudes in the virtue of assignments can be built (hopefully). We suggest, younger children are not expected to work for more than half an hour and only on simple revision-based tasks. Older children are presumed to gear up for two hours and tickle into ‘analytical reasonings clubbed with resource hunting’ errands.
Terrible Infra-structure structures the young minds terribly! (focusing parents)
A truth universally acknowledged says that in a gigantic nation like India, the no. of schools fall short for what is required. The first five year plan was focused on investing in infrastructure by the government officials who ended up enrolling their own children in private schools! Forget about government institutes, the 85% of the private ones give a pathetic view. Ms. Prachi Mehta, professor of a first fiddle private college and a parent strongly grieves on the lost ambience in the classrooms of the college. Her vision is as simple as that- “Most educational institutions in India are in a lust for an acute infrastructural renovation encompassing the west.” This is such an arena where the teachers, students and parents can only hold the courtesy to create a table for discussion but the ultimate ACTIONS lies in the hands of authorities at various levels.
We hope that India rockets a tongue-in-cheek competition to the world in every aspect , every angle of education. What we need is constant “pushes” from teachers, parents and students to come up and share their tribulations. Finally perorating with the golden words of John Glenn, “The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space.”
What are we waiting for? Lets transform education. Lets transform India.