Adapting to the present day challenge for educating our children
Any educational institution must hold the precept that learning should always take precedence over teaching, above all else. No matter what methodology is adopted by an institution it is critical that the pros outweigh the cons and that the students imbibe and assimilate as much as they possibly can in any situation. In the present global situation, it is safe to assume that the COVID- 19 pandemic is the singular most important concern on everyone’s mind. The world, as we know it, is in a state of upheaval, so it is but natural that at this time teaching and learning techniques too are evolving.
We live in a world where we have so much information available to us simply at a click of a button, so it would be a grave error on our part to think that we are giving our children a holistic education by sticking to the ‘traditional’, chalk and talk method of imparting education. At this time, it is critical that we understand – “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
Online learning is generally a combination of video recordings and live lectures that is supplemented with assignments and readings which the students can complete in their own time. This has indeed become the need of the hour. What till a year ago was a luxury has now manifested itself as a necessity; a tool; the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking. As rightly put by Peter Drucker, “No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” Therefore, to keep up with the fast changing times, teachers have been forced to rise to the occasion. The role of a 21st century educator is not merely to disseminate information, rather the role is that of a facilitator. The modern day teacher has to be open minded and accept this change so as to encourage students to have the same open-minded outlook.
The obvious disadvantage of online learning for teachers and students alike is that often there is a disconnect that takes place as a result of the lack of physical proximity. Students learn so much more from the teacher than simply what he or she says on a given subject or chapter. After all, just bookish knowledge cannot prepare an individual to effectively survive in the real world.
Online learning may be a convenient option but this convenience often falls under the purview of a luxury, given the fact that it entails a great expense. Apart from availing the necessary technology, one cannot participate in this process in a satisfactory manner without proper access to internet. While the teachers, after intensive labour might share their live lectures and video presentations, most students simply lack the intrinsic motivation to be diligent with the continuous onslaught of work that comes their way. Online learning puts a fair amount of pressure on students to do their bit in order to stay at par with the other students.
Since everyone is safely nestled behind the ambiguity of a screen, there is a major lack of accountability. Additionally, this process involves plenty of trust, which is ever so often breached, both intentionally and unintentionally. Sometimes, teachers and students become victims of cyber bullying or fall prey to cruel, mindless pranks. It is almost impossible to catch the perpetrator as it is so easy to simply deactivate an existing account which had been used to stir up trouble in the first place!
Though many might argue- with the expense, the pressure which is put on the teachers and students alike, the lack of a personal touch, the absence of accountability, surety and security associated with this online learning methodology that the cons do seem to outweigh the pros, yet it is undeniable that in the present situation it is not merely the best, but rather the only option available. Despite all that is happening around us, learning is something that should never stop. If learning were to ever come to a halt, that is what would prove to be the biggest threat to humanity. Our children will only be as brilliant as we permit them to be, as long as we do our best for them. Thus, even amid the most trying times, ensuring that they are not missing out on what is essentially their Right to Education, will keep alive a hope for a better, brighter tomorrow!