Learn… Unlearn… And… Relearn …the Skills
Education, as a planned endeavor, aims at making the recipients productive and caring members of society. Learners are made familiar with the various practices of the community by the educational system. They are equipped with knowledge and skills and thus prepared for fulfilling the needs of life.
After the country gained independence, Indian society was primarily an agriculture based society. After that we entered the industrial phase and passing through the information age we are now progressing towards a knowledge society. A knowledge society is characterized by knowledge as the driving force of the major skills required for the sustainability of continuous learning process. Knowledge is an intangible resource which engages the minds to acquire essential skills of life. Holistic learning is all about the right mix of knowledge and skills. It helps in improving our abilities and enhancing the competencies. Today, the main purpose of education is to get us well-paying, professionally satisfying jobs or prepare us for meaningful self-employment. This can be achieved only when there is awareness and respect for skill based learning in schools with the options to mix and match vocational skills with popular subjects within the scope of the prescribed curriculum.
Awareness about skill-based, solution-centric learning can bring in a positive shift in making students aware of the actual job scenario through real work environment in the industry. If they don’t learn early-on about how their formal education is going to help them get their dream jobs or the career they aspire for, they will never get an opportunity to realize their dreams. Skills are dynamic; we need to learn, unlearn and re-learn in order to upgrade as knowledge and technology change and transform the workplace requirements. There are different sets of skills which are necessary for meeting the emerging needs of the educational globe. Some of them are listed below:-
Communication Skills (verbal and written) – Fundamentally, regardless of language or medium, truly effective communication is about openly and honestly sharing information in a way that creates mutual understanding among everyone. There are various barriers to effective communication, and teaching students techniques to overcome them will be more difficult for some of these barriers than others. Teachers who can successfully devise activities that educate the students on active communication techniques will provide those students with a skill useful throughout life.
Commercial Awareness is another skill which is the need of the contemporary world because then the students will get a fair idea about their commercial competencies. Students become well equipped with present socio-economic scenario around them and thus frame their strategies to meet the demand and supply of commercial activities.
Life Skills: – These skills help in the development of social competence and problem solving skills, which in turn help our students to form their own identity. Empathy can help us to understand and accept others who may be very different from ourselves and can improve social interaction. Life skills are important because without an honest heart a perfect individual cannot exist. Self-awareness helps us to recognize when we are stressed or under pressure. It is also often a prerequisite for effective communication and interpersonal skills. These skills impart humanity, brotherhood and serenity to understand the potential of our own self.
Teamwork and Problem Solving: – Problem Solving and Team-work are most closely aligned with traditional educational methods. These two crucial and important sills act as a nexus for the entire classroom to develop. If we, the teachers, work toward the development of team building, then half of our work is done. An institution where the students master these basic skills, prove to be beneficial for society.
Creativity: – School is one of the institutions for students’ creativity development. The school only needs an extra effort that will enable it to build a conscious and creative generation that will keep pace with the rapid change and development in this era of globalization, economic transformation and information communication technology age as new discoveries emerge every day. Hence, the school is needed to guide students towards creativity. Intellectual development and brain growth takes place when creativity is nurtured by concerned institutions. School and other social institutions play an active and influential role in developing students’ creativity through their available resources and their specific planned goals. A creative school environment is one that exposes learners psychologically and socially to facilitate creativity in which learners are motivated to discover things by themselves.
Vocational Skills:- There are some students who are not able to cope with main stream education. This could be because of economic reasons or academic in-capabilities. So what are the options available to them, so that they lead a dignified life without being exploited or being vulnerable? Introducing skill training at a young age will go a long way in directing these students to opportunities that will have a larger impact on the general fabric of the workforce in this country. Vocational education in India is now moving within the purview of a formal structured programme at different levels of education. It prepares the students to weave their own tapestry of skills so that they become independent and can earn their livelihood with pride.
With digital connectivity and modern transportation shrinking the figurative distances between people more and more, and global economies binding different nations closer and closer together, it is increasingly difficult for even the most resistant to ignore or not accept that we are all citizens of the same planet and must work together to ensure its continuance as a livable place.
As part of this, it is essential to begin educating students about this fact at a young age so that they can understand their place in the world around them. One way to get started in creating a globalized classroom is to look around at other teachers’ experiences. Students would learn to live in the world which is connected through the thin yet strong bonds of global citizenship.
As educators, we need to realize that learning can now take place round the clock and across the globe, with or without us, and that young people come to school knowing much more than we do in some areas. They have the potential to learn anything they want to learn, at any time they want to learn. Therefore, instead of focusing on the content, we really need to focus on what it means to be a learner and how to help students learn deeply and most effectively. We need to model metacognition and demonstrate the value of thinking about learning skills of life. We need to lead them to think deeply and help them understand how to synthesize and analyze and to create – to operate in Bloom’s realm of higher-order skills.
Shimmi Sharma with her ambitious aim inspires young minds about love of learning and helps them become free thinkers. She currently teaches English at Sunbeam School, Lahartara, Varanasi. She has MA degrees in English, Education and Psychology; holds Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education; Bachelor’s degree in Education and Certificate in teaching Functional English. She is a die-hard literature fan with special flair for writing.