” The Art Of Education”

”We need to usher in an educational revolution and not just an evolution of teaching techniques.”

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The emergence of a knowledge-driven society demonstrated that everything can and must change and that the process of change is a continuous search for better solutions. Indeed, new scientific discoveries and technological innovations have become an integral part of our everyday biography. Objects we had grown accustomed to having been replaced by newer and more efficient products. If anything is truly permanent, it changes itself.

Yet the vast majority of people continue to have a pathological fear of change. They harbor feelings of great mistrust because they perceive change as an explicit acknowledgment of failure. Consequently, they are steadfast in their refusal to accept that the failure to shift thinking would, most certainly, lead to their obsolescence.

Research has substantively established an inter-linkage between countries that embrace innovation and, thus, change, and economic prosperity. People in such countries think different. They are more adventurous, less risk-averse and open to experimenting. Governments and the bureaucracy in emerging or developing economies, on the other hand, tend to suffer from an acute disavowal of all that challenges existing paradigms. New ways of seeing worry them. Consequently, our schools and colleges are unable to respond to the rapidly changing educational needs of a knowledge economy.

This has serious consequences. First, it adversely impacts economic growth because the quality of education is the principal driver of the growth engine. And second, because bad education does not lead to employability in a globally competitive environment. This is a profound and not imagined disaster that this country credibly faces and will, most certainly, undermine India’s aspirations as a global thinker.

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So, what is the role of education?

To paraphrase Nietzsche, all human action needs to be based on what we wish to achieve. Education, similarly, must have an end-objective. For students, it is a productive and sustained employability. For governments, this translates into contributing to the GDP. If education underachieves in this stated objective, it would be perceived as a failure, since more and more young people would become unemployable.

What this requires is the radical shaking up of the education system. First, this would ensure that the dead wood and dried-up leaves fall off. Second, the system would be reformatted to achieve 21st-century objectives. In short, we need to usher in an educational revolution and not just an evolution of teaching techniques. Yesterday’s curriculum and pedagogy have to give way to future needs and requirements. In effect, this means shifting from an education system that was crafted during the industrial era to one that is in consonance with the present-day demands of an ever-changing environment. In other words, the very DNA of education — both at the school and university level — needs to be changed.

For India, this is the need of the day. She is at the cusp of transformational change. Global perception of her attractiveness is remarkably upbeat. She has been invited to the high table. However, all these positive developments are directly related to whether India will deliver on promise and expectation. Is she, in other words, a safe bet? The attractiveness of the Indian workforce would be the key for corporate investors. This means that education would need to produce a world-class workforce that is in consonance with the expectations of the corporate investor.

This requires a fundamental overhaul in the way we perceive what education needs to deliver.

First, the education environment cannot be divorced from the external landscape. The “in-here” experience needs to be directly linked to the “out-there” experience. Our schools and universities are not a comfort zone or an idyllic island resort but rather deeply rooted in the here-and-now. The outside world is complex, volatile and unpredictable. Students need to be taught to embrace uncertainty and not be intimidated by it. Indeed, the job they might end up doing has not yet been created. Did any of us realistically believe, when we were students, that a living could be made by designing apps?

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Second, education needs to inculcate learning agility. In other words, education must craft persons who are open to new ideas, who are constantly learning new skills and willing to apply them but, more importantly, learning from experience and failure.

Third, we need to learn the importance of teamwork and focus. Teams are not a collection of silos but an integrated circuit with a clear objective. And finally, education administrators need to recognize that the teacher is simply a facilitator. Unless education is refashioned, we will embrace the 21st-century with a 19th-century mindset. The result would be a failure.

Restructuring the approach towards contemporary education, accordingly, needs to incorporate the following, among others:

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 Learning about learning: The teaching community and education administrators need to recognize the need to shift from teaching to learning. This is the transition from the sage on the stage to a co-learner. Substantive evidence exists of teachers abandoning the chalk and talk methodology with dramatic results.

Shifting the mindset of education providers: The fundamental paradox is that teaching is provided by an older generation to a younger one leading to a credible likelihood of a mismatch and disconnect in thinking, understanding and communication. Education is all about connecting and, thus, interpersonal relations. Students need to be able to relate to their teachers. If this is lacking, education will fail to meet the high societal expectations.

Embrace the internet The internet has made learning possible 24×7 without the teacher. Unfortunately, while the teaching community acknowledges the transformative impact of the internet, the embrace is perfunctory. Consequently, educational institutions are unable to take full advantage of the incredible world the internet opens up, which, for the most part, is entirely free.

Redesigning space: Design has assumed significance and rightly so. Studies have demonstrated how design impacts thinking. Various corporate offices are moving into open-style functioning and a fluid utilisation of space with funky designs that are immediately attractive. Schools and classrooms have, similarly, started changing. Indeed, even the term “classroom” is being replaced with “learning centres”. The consequent requirement is for the campus and the learning centres to become interactive, engaging and functional. They play a dramatic role in shifting pedagogy to a modern mindset.

Recognising that globalization is multiculturalism: A rapidly integrating world has substantially diluted geographical boundaries. Educational institutions need to recognise this dramatic new requirement and help open minds, so that we are sensitive and welcoming of other cultures.

The future is hurtling towards us at an extraordinary pace. Unless education is refashioned by a visionary leadership, we face the dire consequence of being left out of the mainstream.

 

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55 thoughts on “” The Art Of Education””

  1. With the world of information moving at a break-neck pace, it’s no wonder parents and guardians alike are very concerned with the future for their children. I do believe schools can and should provide experience and training, especially as the students move up in grades, and offer electives in middle school and high school that supports some of their interests and preparation, I also find the need of teaching our youth how to think for themselves, which also means coming up with solutions the teachers may never have thought. In my view, this would allow a different approach to teaching while also covering the necessary curriculum, which I do believe still necessitates mathematics, reading and writing (i.e. grammar and forms of writing, such as plays, stories, and essays with support), a strong understanding of history as it really happened, bringing also into the fray classics which have been removed from too many institutions for fear of political correctness. What was written in the past, even if it’s considered no longer appropriate, such as Mark Twain, should still be read to discuss the ways in which people view depending upon when they were growing up. I am very glad that my education was simple enough, because my curiosity enabled me to wonder, watch, listen, and research, thinking for myself. I do think having teachers who encouraged me to have a point, support with research and my own personal experiences and understanding, would have enabled me to earlier make better decisions. However, through the school of hard knocks, I still gathered and learned. Which is why I have told many youth that the majority of my education came from doing, watching, researching on my own, and thinking for myself, which may be the greatest gift a teacher could encourage.

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    1. Hello dear, thank you for giving time and writing to me …I think I’m my point of view… Every human in this earth has some aim in life to do something small or big.. but the main question is how this thing can happen ?

      It can happen when we see life with different eyes , teachers must encourage their student’s and help them to build their wings so they can fly high in their future..
      In life we need sometime guidance from our friends or family so we make a correct decision …before choosing anything you want to do.. and ya happy new year my friend 🙂

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  2. Thank you for that post. Everything you said was spot on, and our educational system is not ready for the changes we are experiencing with the world today. Our students are consuming media that is detrimental to their growth, and we are seeing this affect their growth from kindergarten to high school. Reality television, Instagram, and other factors are contributing to the downfall of our system.

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    1. You’re welcome I think this can be possible if our education sector focus on students improvement providing guidance which they need for there better future instead less focus on making education as a business… If we see today more education sectors just remain as business

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  3. This was refreshing to read! As a teacher and teacher educator I see the ways in which stagnation or innovation affect learning environments. Those leaders and professional communities willing to move away from the more comfortable, industrialized methods of educating students are definitely winning on all fronts.

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  4. If I were to home school, I would keep things simple. Read books, ask questions, and discuss their answers, perhaps looking back in the book where they decided upon their answers. Reading and writing? Practice, practice, practice, with short lessons in grammar and punctuation. By the way, you can teach nouns (Things you can see or imagine.), adjectives (words that describe nouns), verbs (What the noun does.), adverbs (modifies verbs), and prepositions (a word that relates, positionally, a bird to a tree), in one hour, age having some affect on duration. Math: learn the basics, and know how to handle money and real-life word problems, and so forth. It’s important to keep things simple, invest in time, and not hurry the move to high-tech. A child/teen that can read and understand, write and explain with clear support, can critically think about his or her answers, and has practical experiences to support the learning and visa-versa, will one day, when entering the world, be better prepared. So start a lemonade/cookie stand and learn economics, the children paying for costs out of their profits. Make dog houses and learn measurement, sawing and drilling, indoor decor, and more.

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  5. It isn’t, for those who understand and can organize, for good teachers to teach. There’s actually no need for a revamping of teaching methodologies if the teacher understands the materials and knows how to explain, involving the students in the understanding/thinking process. People are people. The reason so many teachers constantly are adapting is the rules of schools constantly change.

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