You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?
(This is a post which I wrote about 2 years ago and is revisited today in the daily prompt)
I have observed how children learn the most through play. Structured, organised clasroom settings defeat the purpose of learning. A natural, outdoor setting is the best for learning. Why do we have to show pictures of snails, flowers, the sun and the moon when we can let them see them, touch them and feel all these things outdoors?.
Colours and imagery also attract children the most. So exposure to images to emphasize and add to the knowledge gained through interaction with nature is good. Language is an important component of learning and communication is one of the important pre-requisites of growing up with confidence. But the way in which language is taught is paramount. Literature, poetry and appreciation of language and works of great writers like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats etc is important and still relevant. Just learning english to understand grammar and answer exams is boring.
Reading is another important habit that can be inculcated. A love for good books like Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton can be inculcated from a young age through setting an example. This will divert the attention of children from the scores of gadgets and videos that dissipate their enthusiasm and energy.
It is high time we revamp the age-old curricula and experiment with a new paradigm. Provide the right environment and exposure and watch the childs natural curiosity and wonder grow by leaps and bounds.
On teaching of other subjects like mathematics. Basic knowledge of such subjects is essential for our daily life. However, many of the advanced concepts of maths are learnt only for examinations and then because we never apply these concepts in daily life, we forget them altogether.
Schools must become a place where a child wants to go to .. a second home and not a four-walled prison. The fear of exams is one reason why a child does not want to attend school. Another fear is the fear of excess homework that burdens a child. Studying becomes more of a chore than a joyful, learning experience.
The school of tomorrow must along with studies focus on overall development of a child. A child should also be taught to be street-smart, speak with confidence, make bold decisions, have global knowledge, and learn the skills to be an entrepreneur. The jobs of tomorrow will require an entirely new skill set and our schools will have to start early to hone a new set of skills. Our children of tomorrow should grow up with their unique nature confident of creating, discovering , experimenting, failing and enjoying life to the fullest!
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What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us LEARNING.
Reading books is the primary source of my information. In college I learnt in a group. The advantage of this method of learning is sharing, discussion and better understanding.
Today there is a wide range of information on the internet and self-paced learning is a reality. Moreover, higher institutions like MIT are also offering their classroom content free online. So there is no dearth of material for a keen student.
However, to really assimilate the knowledge that is learnt, one has to experiment and make mistakes. This is the best way to imbibe knowledge and understand the fundamentals of a subject. There is no substitute for ‘learning by doing’.
However, some content may not be verified to be authentic and one has to use one’s judgement when learning online.
Studying a new concept one-on-one is difficult as there is less room for questions and discussion. The most important requirement for learning is a blank mind with no preconceived judgements. This allows curiosity to flourish and questioning leads to better knowledge.
I have found that in a classroom there are children of all types. Some are relatively quiet and can listen. But there are children who are hyperactive and need active learning or exercises to stimulate their learning. So it is a challenge for educators to cater to a wide mix of students in a classroom and design the lesson so as to benefit everyone.
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In their three-year field study of extraordinary work groups across many disciplines, consultants Geoffrey Bellman and Kathleen Ryan found these eight performance indicators that defined group practices:
* Compelling purpose: We are inspired and stretched in making this group’s work our top priority
* Shared leadership: We readily step forward to lead by demonstrating our mutual responsibility for moving our group toward success
* Just enough structure: We create the minimal structure (systems, plans, roles and tasks)
* Full engagement: We dive into our work with focus, enthusiasm and passion
* Embracing differences: We value the creative alternatives that result from engaging differing points of view
* Unexpected learning: We are excited by what we learn here and how it applies to other work, other groups and our lives outside of work
* Strengthened relationships: Our work leads us to greater trust, interdependence and friendship
* Great results: We work toward and highly value the tangible and intangible outcomes of our work together