Don’t do the same thing everybody else has already been doing

September 12, 2017
Godwin Vargheese

Being Unique

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our country needs fixing. Some of the brightest minds on the planet often stay oblivious to their potential because our education system tends to train students instead of educating them. We’re fighting numerous existential wars among ourselves to prove points that will eventually lead us nowhere.

Every socio-economic problem our country is dealing with right now can be rectified, resolved and reformed by education. However, despite India being a cultural and historical center of academic education, our students often pay the price of negligent and dismissive forms of teaching. For decades now, our classrooms have been teacher-centric. The teacher, in this context, becomes the imparter of knowledge instead of being a facilitator. The direct consequence of this practice is seen when the same students grow up to accept tradition as it is offered when the same students seldom question what they’re being told. This can’t be the blueprint of a global super-power.

Every Indian classroom has a ‘chalk and talk’ approach that instills in the hearts and minds of millions of impressionable students that the only way to learn is by being told what to know.

For a country that has dreams of becoming a superpower, such methods of teaching could be nothing short of toxic. We can’t make scientists, astronomers, philosophers, artists out of students that are made to memorize knowledge imparted to them by the previous generation. And if aware and informed individuals like us don’t work towards bringing about academic change, there would be no point of our awareness and information. We need to bring curiosity back into our classrooms. We need to spoil our students with learning choices. Most of all, we need to stop acting like teachers.

There are learning techniques being neglected as we speak, that can guide our students to apply their academic knowledge in the real world, something the traditional form of learning hasn’t been able to achieve. Thankfully, we aren’t the only ones concerned. The world is full of people doing all they can to bring about change in the education system.

STEM – A new dimension to Teaching

The STEM method of learning, for example, is one of the most successful ways to integrate academic knowledge with real-world application. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Instead of teaching all four of these entities separately, STEM combines the real-life application of all four verticals to present a cohesive educational narrative to an impressionable child. The direct consequence of this method has shown kids to approach learning as they would approach sports, as opposed to approaching it as the syllabus for exams.

STEM covers every aspect of the human life. Science is present even when we’re not paying attention. Technology has changed the mode of human existence. Engineering is no longer restricted to designing roads and buildings; it is also rebuilding human organs. Similarly, Mathematics facilitates one to observe, analyze and improve on the current tools of human existence.

By exposing our kids to STEM, we can help bridge the gap between textbook and the real world. Concepts like Robotics have added new layers to academic education that has enabled students to voluntarily take up courses like soldering, designing, coding etc.

India’s youth can’t carve its own academic niche as long as India’s teachers don’t part ways with traditional methods of teaching. We can’t change our fate by doing the same thing that we’ve been doing for decades.

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