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A big shift – from instruction driven to design enabled learning!

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What does calculus have to do with my life? Why must I learn about crystals? How will functions and relations help me later?

We have all asked questions like these during our school days. At various stages of our life, we have wondered about the relevance of the myriad subjects and topics that were ‘prescribed’ in our bag full of school books and had to be swallowed – unfortunately, like bitter medicine; That would somehow make us better! The learning journey and the educational process, led entirely by our teachers had to be trusted, albeit blindly.

Learning in most schools is an instructor driven one-way process, this is an age old practice and continues unquestioned. Students are expected to pay attention, to be at the receiving end of a lot of ‘information’ unquestioningly. The occasional intelligent question is permitted, however what follows is obvious – the sheer burden of words, stats, facts, and figures crushes the joy of knowing, discovering and realising. Unable to find context or substance, students become averse to the system and stop learning actively. The curiosity to know more is lost and there is a shift – into a mechanical and passive mode, learning by rote only to forget even the chapter names the next day! Hence no analysis or lifelong retention and gain of knowledge can be expected. This situation requires urgent reframing!

What is the real purpose of learning?

Shouldn’t the purpose of learning be – to give the ownership of real knowledge to the students – to show them how concepts connect to phenomena in real life, how subjects connect to life, how mathematics, science is all around us and what a wonderful thing it is to grasp the meaning and method of it all. As essential as it may be to ‘inform’ students, is it not more important to inspire young minds to explore, to experience and to keep an ever open mind that is brimming over with questions?

Really, how can we not make an effort to integrate knowledge to the sheer wonder of life and the everyday advancement of science? Why, for instance, should we not spend a whole day out of the classroom, studying Mercury’s transition against the sun – an event that occured last Monday, and takes place just 13 or 14 times a century http://time.com/4322641/mercury-transit-sun/

‘I am bored’ is the most constant refrain you can expect to hear as a parent!

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