The ECMP 355 session “Why school?” with Will Richardson enlightened me. As I come from a different country with different school culture, I was able to get the picture of Canadian school culture. The session was thought provoking and every word he said kept resonating in my mind.
When I did my Bachelors of Education in India, I was taught all about teaching (Traditional ways) but when I started teaching I figured that I was not even putting in use those traditional ways because somewhere I felt those methods were not helping me to kindle the spark, to engage or to create interest in the students. So I started trying out new ways to engage students and get the maximum output. These methods were totally opposite of the traditional approaches which are deeply embedded in our school culture. Soon enough parents and teachers started questioning my methods, even though the students were learning in real sense then. I tried my level best to put up my point but it was in vain. It was disheartening for me! Finally I had to give up!
During the session with Will Richardson, the only thing that came to my mind was “Wish I had not given up!”.
The irony of this quote is not the fact that our educational system is antiquated, but that most new initiatives and programs are still focused on perfecting the antiquated school of 1965 rather than transforming formal education to be relevant in the world of today.
The Age of Technology has moved us into an era of instant information. The world of information is literally at our finger tips. Earlier, when Information was a sparse commodity, it was the teacher who held the keys to knowledge but today this no longer holds true. Today when students have access to technology, they no longer depend on teachers for information. This has changed the role of teachers entirely.
The most important aspect of teaching today lies in the ability to engage students. As far as learning the subject matter goes, students can very well do that through Educational sites such as Khan Academy, Knewton or any other resources available on internet. But this “Khanification of Knowledge” cannot connect to students which is a very important to make them remember the concept all through their lives. It is only a teacher who can understand the importance of connecting the concepts to their daily lives. By doing so, the teacher not only engage them in the process but also prepare them for the future.
The important role of teachers today is to help students to look for the resources and filter the relevant information from the vast ocean. We as teachers need to expose students to new ideas and inculcate in them the skills so that they can monitor their own learning. Teacher are required to teach students how to be metacognitively aware of themselves as learners. We need to prepare students for the future and make them capable of analyzing any situation. But in the process it is very important for teachers to be learner themselves.
Teachers need to develop warm and trusting relationships with students to understand their specific needs and lead them into right direction. It is our job as teachers to create environment for students to learn and find their passion. Our new role is just not to teach but to encourage, connect, monitor, share and learn as well.
Effective teacher today is not the one who follows the methods of traditional schools but one who is not afraid to learn, is able to adapt to the ever changing world of Technology and can connect to the students thereby helping them to look out for useable resources that can be used to foster learning.
There is still one questions in my mind :
What should we do if people do not welcome us with our new roles and instead want to stick to the traditional method???”