Modernisation is an ongoing process of transition from a traditional society to a society of the latest means. It is a process that involves changes in all areas of human thoughts and activities and aims at socio-economic and political transformation to achieve progress in development.
When we talk about modernisation in education, it involves emphasis on functional knowledge and skill development. Over the last two years, we have witnessed exponential growth and modernisation in the education sector. The needed transformation was catalysed with the hard stop to the traditional educational models due to COVID-19.
Over the years, the methods of teaching have evolved multi-fold. Earlier, teachers used to teach using a blackboard and physical notes. Since the penetration of the internet was not high, students had to rely on what was taught in school and thus paid attention in classroom. As the internet reached masses, students found it convenient to find the same content online which led to continuous reduction of attention in classroom. Then, smart boards and projectors came around with teachers now using multimedia in classrooms to keep students attentive.
We have come a long way from brick-and-mortar to click and portals. Concepts like flipped classrooms and blended learning are being applied and appreciated throughout the sector. In some international schools, students are allowed to use laptops to write their notes instead of using pen and paper.
The pandemic has contributed to the faster acceptance of these novel teaching methods with classrooms shifting from offline to digital mode. Teachers are also readily and fully embracing the change by creating and sharing online resources.
Now, how do all of these changes affect what is required from teachers?
The teaching method of using projectors requires teachers to be able to find the right multimedia first and then link it to what they are speaking in their lectures. When students use laptops in school, it provides ample opportunities for teachers to engage and assess the students. However, it also offers ample opportunities for students to get distracted. So, teachers need to know how to use the technology to their advantage.
When the classrooms shifted to online mode due to the pandemic, a whole new skill set was required in teachers. An offline classroom has front-benchers who are the attentive ones and backbenchers who are the non-attentive ones. But in an online classroom, all students become backbenchers with their cameras off and microphones muted. So, teachers had to solve for student attention and the use of technology at the same time!
With heavy use of technology and lower student attention spans, it becomes essential for teachers to employ better techniques and learn new skills like:
1. Lesson planning: The ability to chart out objectives of each lesson and map it with the activities required so that learning outcomes are met and all students are engaged.
2. Assessment and evaluation techniques: Rote learning doesn’t work anymore in this dynamic world. Teachers need to use techniques that help them assess students’ progress uniformly while considering their different learning styles.
3. Reflective teaching: This involves teachers reflecting on lessons and analysing data to figure out what is working and not working with which students. It helps them improve with every successive lesson.
To address this need, e-learning startups have designed innovative programmes with comfortable delivery modes to help teachers upskill. Schools also are actively providing professional development training to their teachers. The modernisation in the education system will also help the teachers to prepare students for the future workforce by imparting the right skill, transformation and effectiveness.
Teaching has evolved into a practice of promoting critical thinking, analysis, and interpretation from the earlier system being about mere presentation and description of facts. Teachers are now required to ensure that students don't just understand the concepts, but also the logic behind and their application.
While adapting to all these changes and developing better techniques is a lot of work, it also adds tremendous value to the overall teaching and learning process. We have already started seeing these changes in the classroom, and without a doubt, our teachers will be able to deliver what is asked of them.
The author Rishabh Khanna is a cognitive scientist and co-founder of Suraasa. The views expressed are personal.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)