Friday, 10 December 2010

Changing Perspectives in Education

I have been teaching for close to sixteen years, and I have noticed a sea change in the methods of teaching and  perspectives in Education today,fortunately, the curriculum framers are gradually realising the need for a system of education which gives more importance to the all round development of the the personality of the student. Today, the stress is on learning of principles and  on making Education more student-centric. Today the student is more aware about his environment and he doesn’t accept things at face value!  The curriculum today is more practical and it takes into consideration applicability to real life situations. Keeping all these things in mind, the teacher has to change his style of teaching to be more relevant to what is going on in the world. In other words, a teacher has to modify his teaching to address global issues and concerns. Some of which are a concern for the environment, issues related to terrorism, natural calamities, and  global economy. No teacher can limit himself to his subject alone. Thus, a teacher of English should have enough knowledge about Economics, Science, Philosophy, Social issues, and of course a sound knowledge of his own subject.

The challenges before today’s teacher are great. He has to be a second parent to the student, a guide, an idol figure, a disciplinarian, a guidance councillor, and a good listener! To motivate students to learn, to make the learning process a joy, to be a contriver and a manipulator, are a few of the qualities of the teacher today! Gone are the days when the teacher spoke and he was followed! Today, the teacher goes into the class room prepared to be challenged, and prepared to answer the most unexpected questions ever!  The teacher has to be a juggler, a magician, and of course a great joker with a healthy sense of humour! To be able to receives jokes and be able to reply to them are just a few challenges before the teacher in a school today. It goes without saying that the democratic style of teaching needs to be adopted, and woe to the teacher who adopts the autocratic style of teaching, for remember, those students are not going to accept what is being taught unless they are convinced that it is relevant to their lives!

Patience, and the ability to listen to the student and then convince him is an important quality in a good teacher. The teacher thus has to be a good listener first and foremost! As such, the teacher has to listen to the parent and promise that he will take special care of his ward! There may be times when the students are not in the mood of learning, so the teacher should humour his students, and then cleverly draw them into the lesson of the day. In an age where corporal punishment is a strict no no, the teacher has to adopt psychological tact to handle his students. It is no doubt a tough job to teach today, but the challenges make the profession worthwhile! The teacher today is the Everyman, a wizard, a juggler, a parent, and an opportunist!

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