The modernization of education requires that teaching techniques change; here’s why

Modernization is a continuous process of transition from a traditional society to a society of the most modern means. It is a process that involves changes in all areas of human thought and activity and aims at socio-economic and political transformation to achieve progress in development.

When we talk about modernizing education, it means emphasizing functional knowledge and skills development. Over the past two years, we have witnessed exponential growth and modernization in the education sector. The necessary transformation has been catalyzed by the abrupt shutdown of traditional education models due to COVID-19.

Over the years, teaching methods have evolved in several ways. Previously, teachers used to teach using a blackboard and physical notes. Since internet penetration was not high, students had to rely on what was taught in school and therefore pay attention in class. As the Internet reached masses, students found it convenient to find the same content online, resulting in a continuous reduction of attention in class. Then came smart boards and projectors, with teachers now using multimedia in classrooms to keep students engaged.

We’ve come a long way from brick and mortar to click and portals. Concepts such as flipped classrooms and blended learning are applied and appreciated throughout the sector. In some international schools, students are allowed to use laptops to write their notes instead of using pen and paper.

The pandemic has contributed to the faster acceptance of these new teaching methods, with classrooms shifting from offline to digital mode. Teachers are also willingly and fully embracing change by creating and sharing online resources.

Now, how do all these changes affect what is required of teachers?

The teaching method of using projectors requires teachers to be able to first find the right multimedia and then relate it to what they are saying in their lessons. When students use laptops in school, it provides many opportunities for teachers to engage and assess students. However, it also offers plenty of opportunities for students to have fun. Thus, teachers need to know how to use technology to their advantage.

When classrooms shifted to online mode due to the pandemic, a whole new skill set was needed in teachers. An offline classroom has frontline MPs who are the attentive ones and backbench MPs who are the inattentive ones. But in an online classroom, all the students become backbenchers with their cameras off and their microphones muted. Thus, teachers had to solve both student attention and technology use!

With the intensive use of technology and reduced attention spans of students, it becomes essential for teachers to employ better techniques and learn new skills such as:

1. Lesson planning: The ability to lay out the objectives of each lesson and map them with the activities required so that learning outcomes are achieved and all students are engaged.

2. Assessment and evaluation techniques: Rote learning no longer works in this dynamic world. Teachers should use techniques that help them consistently assess student progress while accommodating their different learning styles.

3. Reflective teaching: This involves teachers reflecting on lessons and analyzing data to determine what is working and what is not working with which students. This helps them improve with each successive lesson.

To meet this need, e-learning startups have designed innovative programs with comfortable delivery modes to help teachers improve. Schools also actively offer professional development training to their teachers. Modernizing the education system will also help teachers prepare students for the future workforce by imparting them with the right skills, transformation, and efficiency.

Teaching has evolved into a practice of promoting critical thinking, analysis and interpretation over the earlier system of simply presenting and describing facts. Teachers are now required to ensure that students not only understand the concepts, but also the underlying logic and their application.

While adapting to all these changes and developing better techniques is a lot of work, it also adds tremendous value to the overall teaching and learning process. We have already started to see these changes in the classroom, and no doubt our teachers will be able to deliver what is asked of them.

Author Rishabh Khanna is a cognitive scientist and co-founder of Suraasa. The opinions expressed are personal.

(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)