Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Preparing Global Learners

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November 28, 2017

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Preparing Global Learners

In today’s world, it’s no longer how much you know that matters; what is important is what you can do with what you know. Now, more than ever, life requires students to take what they learn in school and apply it at home, at work, in their communities, and in future academic pursuits. Today’s research indicates that students are more successful at ‘transferring knowledge when they relate school education to life’. We must prepare students by creating learning environments that empower students to draw upon various knowledge domains to find solutions. Hence, if modern-day students are to be prepared to succeed in this competitive world, educators must prepare their students in a new way.

Learning does not stop at the end of the school day or the end of the school year. Learning is, and must be, a lifelong pursuit. The rapidity of change, the relentless advances in technology, the diminishing half-life of knowledge, and the far-reaching effects of globalization are all factors that contribute to a growing understanding that the most valuable lesson we can teach our student is ‘how they can teach themselves’.

As educators, we nurture self-direction and motivation in students, and we provide them with opportunities before, during, and after instruction to exercise some control over their learning. This does not mean students make all the decisions but it does require that we teach and engage students in specific strategies that offer them opportunities to make decisions and solve problems without being told what to do at all times. We must help students become reflective thinkers and learners, provide strategies to help them process information effectively, to be self-confident, engendering a belief that they have the ability to succeed. The future has its roots in the present. A successful future depends on the present endeavour and enterprise. Teachers are the makers of the destiny of the world as they undertake the challenge to foster a new generation equipped with creative, imaginative, intellectual, emotional, social and humane abilities. In the fast growing world of technology, communication, economy, environment and political change, it is imperative and an ethical responsibility of teachers to prepare citizens with modern and cosmopolitan outlook, mechanistic and informative ability, yet humane and cultural values. As a result they will have the intellect and dreams to propel the world to a new universe where science, economy, environment, etc. function with a paradigmatic symmetry, where planning and development would be the inevitable realization, social politics would be comprehensive. Such a utopian world may be envisaged only through holistic education. In this regard Adam Smith’s model of national and global development through the individual may be understood as the potential model in the 21st century development of the self which would trigger global prosperity. That is perhaps why Aurobindo’s idea of integral education for physical, mental and spiritual development is being widely appreciated and practiced. And it is true that the importance of an individual can never be denied. In other words the prospective youth through their enterprising qualities and novel ideas will inspire the nation and the globe towards success. Collective progress depends on the individual and it is the responsibility of the present day educators to train the tender minds for bigger challenges that the world has never faced.

The world we live in and that our students will inherit is facing massive challenges and revolutionary changes in technology, communication, economy, international politics and law, environment, social governance, etc. For survival in this world, students need to have multi-faceted knowledge to address the challenges they will face. So, it is necessary to maintain harmonious correspondence between what they need and what they are being taught. They need to be taught how to adapt to ever accelerating changes which will inevitably be essential to success. They must be instilled with the ability to work and compete with peers in developing creative solutions to complex problems. This is the point where excellence lies.

Competencies like technological literacy, collaborative problem-solving skills, critical thinking, entrepreneurship adaptability, communication, and creativity, required for excelling in the global market of changing times should be developed from school level. So the present day educators must impart knowledge of how to build capacity in various fields and disciplines, and use of continuous improvement designs to promote effectiveness instead of highlighting the way to excel in securing good marks in theory. Thus, the curriculum set by the board may be reengineered. For this the educator, by playing the role of a researcher, attempts to systematize the process through his imagination and drive.

In the modern flat world of high rise competition in this global society, students must be taught how to be proficient communicators, creators, critical thinkers and collaborators along with mastery of additional subject areas, including foreign languages, the arts, geography, science, and social studies. Educators must complement all of those subjects with critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaborative attitude to prepare young people for citizenship and the global workforce. Life today is exponentially more complicated and complex than it was fifty years ago. This is true for civic life as much as it is for work life. In the 21st century, citizenship requires levels of information and technological literacy that go far beyond the basic knowledge that was sufficient in the past. With a host of challenges facing our communities, along with instant connectivity to a global society, civic literacy couldn’t be more relevant or applicable to the curricula in our schools. Global warming, immigration reform, circular migration, rural cosmopolitanism, pandemic diseases, political and legal discrepancies and financial meltdowns are just a few of the issues today’s students will be called upon to address. Today’s students must be prepared to solve these challenges. Thus, teaching critical thinking and problem solving effectively in the classroom is vital for students. Learning critical thinking leads students to develop other skills, such as a higher level of concentration, deeper analytical abilities, and improved thought processing.

In addition, workforce skills and demands have changed dramatically in the last twenty years. The rapid decline in ‘routine’ work has been well documented by many researchers and organizations. At the same time, there has been a rapid increase in jobs involving no routine but analytic and interactive communication skills. Today’s job market requires competencies such as critical thinking and the ability to interact with people from numerous linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Along with this, students are required to be given a platform to be creative and innovative as the modern information science and market technology need it profoundly. Again for the multiplication of labour and productivity, collaboration is a potential idea that makes us productive by being co-operative. Although these qualities are essential to achieve global success in a competitive market, technological advancement, resource management, multiplication of productivity for instrumental and mechanistic development, yet human values and spiritual education that monitor the young mind to use the intellect in a creative way for collective welfare are vital or else the consequences will be otherwise.

Dr Priyadarshi Nayak, accomplished educationist, is currently functioning as an Education Consultant, Resource Person / Trainer for the Enrichment and Skill-Capacity Building of Teachers, Students and Parents. He has also conducted Leadership Programmes for Principals and teachers at the National and Regional level. He is the Master Trainer and Resource person of CBSE COE Pune and now for CBSE COE Raibareli. He is the National Trainer and Consultant of Private School Welfare Association. He has been extensively involved in school empowerment programmes for all stake holders. He has rendered unflinching support for professional development of faculty and student empowerment in all the schools he has been associated with. He has been associated with many forums which work on curriculum development and has assisted various schools to implement them. He has worked in all areas of work related to CBSE examinations, evaluation as an Observer and City coordinator for all competitive examinations. He has worked as Principal in Delhi Public School, Sagar, as Principal of St. Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh and is currently working as the Principal at Prelude Public School, Agra.

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