In the modern world of computer and the internet, where all possible information is readily available and classrooms are increasingly becoming virtual and digital, the teaching profession has become more challenging, yet exciting. Undoubtedly, there has been a paradigm shift in how we look at school education and educators today. Despite this, the importance of good schooling can be best summed up in the words of late Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam: "The foundation for best students and best degrees is made during the pre-primary, primary and secondary education. Further development towards excellence takes place in the higher education system".
The possibility of the real teacher in flesh and bones becoming obsolete in this ever so growing gizmo world is slim and will remain so as long as teachers continue to be the fountainhead of enduring human values like humanness, impartiality, idealism, honesty, the quest for knowledge, discipline and good moral character. Such teachers may be increasingly becoming rare, but the species is far from being endangered. It is for attributes like these that computers and virtual teachers can never outshine the real teachers. May you teachers continue to guide the mankind!
By creating a personal interpretation of external ideas and experiences, constructivism allows students the ability to understand how ideas can relate to each other and pre-existing knowledge.
Teachers continue to be the nation builders despite heavy criticism from all around. They impart values to their students, hone their skills, shape their characters and galvanize them in their quest for knowledge and career. They teach the young impressionable minds the fine art of discriminating the good from evil and uphold the truth in all their endeavours. To achieve this they themselves have to be well versed and well equipped to answer the queries of vibrant youth.
With changing scenario in classrooms, pedagogy, and outlook the approach towards education to needs to change. The present education system in India is examination and marks centric. It encourages rote learning at a time when insight formation is the need of the hour. Like most education systems in the world, Indian education system too caters to the needs of average students and is rigid in terms of what a student should or should not do. The same education is imparted to all kinds of students with diverse learning abilities and needs. This practice often curbs individual talents and blocks free and original thinking.
Times have changed and so are the needs. Gone are the days when you were stuck with few courses or subject combinations. Opening up of new sectors has forced educational institutions to be abreast with the demands of these sectors. To embrace these opportunities one needs to be alert, curious, enthusiastic and passionate. An absolute grasp and grip over information is the key to prove your mettle in the field of the creative world through your imaginative acumen, proficiency with knowledge and originality.
However, the purpose of education at all times is to enable and equip the curious and sharp young minds with 'insight formation'. To enable them to take the information gathered a step further by analyzing and interpreting the data and facts and finding answers to the 'why's and how's posed by them. It is more demanding as one has to draw heavily on one's mental faculties. A meaningful learning occurs when a student is able to perform in a problem-solving situation because he has constructed an interpretation of how things work using pre-existing structures. This is the theory behind Constructivism. This is the reason why life skills and problem-solving activities have become an integral part of school education system across the board. By creating a personal interpretation of external ideas and experiences, constructivism allows students the ability to understand how ideas can relate to each other and pre-existing knowledge.
With English acquiring the status of 'the language of the global world', it is but imperative that children learn it at a young age. Expectations from English language teachers have become very high but practically the task has become much tougher. It is painful to witness how the present generation is obsessed with electronic gadgets and social media. Children today are well versed in the language of texting. Language teachers find themselves at a tug of war when it comes to motivate and excite them to inculcate good reading habits.
To be or 'not to be' is the dilemma for teachers today. To be the most lucrative candidate at an institution for learning, one has to have a vibrant imagination and love to seek new challenges. Having a flair for language always helps one to be quick in replying to criticism and marshaling arguments. To excel in today's fast-paced world one has to be skillful in using resources and strategies to one's advantage and learn the art of thinking on one's feet and speaking in impromptu.
However, the future is less about what to remove, but what to focus on. The daunting task ahead of teachers is to shape young curious individuals into thinking, creative and critical minds capable of forming an opinion and evaluating it. The way forward is an inside-out approach to develop well-informed, happy and poised people fit to embrace the modern age.
Neelam Tahlan has a bachelor degree in science and Masters and M.Phil in English. Started as English Lecturer in CMK National Girls College Sirsa, Neelam Tahlan has decorating the role of Head of English Faculty at the Lawrence School Sanawar since 2009.